Semin Neurol 2020; 40(01): 116-129
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1701653
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Visual Vertigo, Motion Sickness, and Disorientation in Vehicles

A.M. Bronstein
1   Division of Brain Sciences, Imperial College London, Charing Cross Hospital, London, United Kingdom
J.F. Golding
2   Department of Psychology, School for Social Sciences, University of Westminster, London, United Kingdom
M.A. Gresty
1   Division of Brain Sciences, Imperial College London, Charing Cross Hospital, London, United Kingdom
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
11 February 2020 (online)


Environmental circumstances that result in ambiguity or conflict with the patterns of sensory stimulation may adversely affect the vestibular system. The effect of this conflict in sensory information may be dizziness, a sense of imbalance, nausea, and motion sickness sometimes even to seemingly minor daily head movement activities. In some, it is not only exposure to motion but also the observation of objects in motion around them such as in supermarket aisles or other places with visual commotion; this can lead to dizziness, nausea, or a feeling of motion sickness that is referred to as visual vertigo. All people with normal vestibular function can be made to experience motion sickness, although individual susceptibility varies widely and is at least partially heritable. Motorists learn to interpret sensory stimuli in the context of the car stabilized by its suspension and guided by steering. A type of motorist's disorientation occurs in some individuals who develop a heightened awareness of perceptions of motion in the automobile that makes them feel as though they may be rolling over on corners and as though they are veering on open highways or in streaming traffic. This article discusses the putative mechanisms, consequences and approach to managing patients with visual vertigo, motion sickness, and motorist's disorientation syndrome in the context of chronic dizziness and motion sensitivity.