At TNO we have developed and validated a rating scale giving a single number to the level of sickness in terms of several symptoms particularly associated with motion sickness (Reason & Brand, 1975).  Given its focus on sickness symptoms, this misery scale (MISC) does not differentiate between possible causes of motion sickness, i.e., whether induced physically, visually, or in VEs or simulators with combined physical and visual motion.  It can hence be applied in studies on carsickness, airsickness, seasickness, cybersickness, space sickness or whatever other type of motion sickness (see also the link to Motion Perception and Sickness, Eye Movevements and Human Performance).


The MISC concerns an 11-point ordinal scale.  When familiarised with it, subjects can easily report on their feelings of misery within a second, allowing repeated application within experimental trials. This avoids the need for filling out a questionnaire, such as the by far most often used Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ, Kennedy et al., 1993).  Although the SSQ takes more time to deploy, it offers the advantage of giving ratings for ocular and disorienting effects in addition to a nausea rating.  A disadvantage, however, may be that it does so using a limited number of predefined symptoms, in which the “nausea” symptoms also include ocular effects that may not be present when, e.g., experiencing sickness induced by physical motion with eyes closed.


Although slightly different versions of the MISC have been used before, the version used most often has been described first in Bos et al. (2005), and has repeatedly been used since.  These later studies focused on physical motion (Bos et al., 2005; Bos, 2015; Nooij & Bos, 2007, Nooij et al., 2011; Kuiper et al., 2018), on visual motion (Bos et al., 2010, 2013; Van Emmerik et al., 2011; Lubeck et al., 2015, 2016a, 2016b), and on combined physical and visual motion (Bos et al., 2005; Correia Gracio et al., 2014; Feenstra et al., 2011; Kuiper et al., 2019; see my home page).


For more information on the use of this scale you can get in contact with me as shown at my home page.


Kennedy RS, Lane NE, Berbaum KS, Lilienthal MG (1993).  Simulator sickness questionnaire: an enhanced method for quantifying simulator sickness.  International Journal of Aviation Psychology 3:203-220.

Reason JT, Brand JJ (1975).  Motion sickness.  Academic Press, London.



Last updated: 2019-07-19