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Jessica Wurtz's picture

More on Motion Sickness

This subject intrigued me as well. I used to be able to read in the car, but now I prefer to sleep through a long car trip; I don't get really ill, just sort of headachey. My sister however, gets sick unless she is driving or sitting in the front seat so she can't see the world go by the side window. However, she does not get sick at all on roller coasters or other motion sick rides. I would think that the more extreme motion of a theme park ride would make her more sick than a car trip. I'm sure there are actual physiological and neuronal reasons for this, like that you're moving so fast on a ride, maybe you can't really see things go by clear enough to get sick (much like the people with bad vision on a boat we talked about in class). But I also wonder if it has anything to do with the context of the motion sickness potential. A five hour car drive where you know you're going to get sick feeling is not as much fun as a 2 minute thrill ride. I thought maybe it was the difference in time spent in motion, but if you spin around fast for 2 minutes either on your feet or on a merry-go-round, it is likely to make you much more ill than the roller coaster. So what makes it different? At least for those things you're still on the ground, as opposed to being flipped upside down and backwards 50 feet in the air.  What makes the nervous system confused about one and not the other? And why do you have the same sense of the world spinning when you spin around whether or not you do it with your eyes open or closed, I would think that would make a difference, since the confusion is based on conflicting sensory input. Why does the nervous system have to be so confusing is what it comes down to I guess.


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