Findings of an effect of gender, but not handedness, on self-reported motion sickness propensity

Ruth E. Propper, Frederick Bonato, Leanna Ward, Kenneth Sumner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Discrepant input from vestibular and visual systems may be involved in motion sickness; individual differences in the organization of these systems may therefore give rise to individual differences in propensity to motion sickness. Non-right-handedness has been associated with altered cortical lateralization of vestibular function, such that non-right-handedness is associated with left hemisphere, and right-handedness with right hemisphere, lateralized, vestibular system. Interestingly, magnocellular visual processing, responsible for motion detection and ostensibly involved in motion sickness, has been shown to be decreased in non-right-handers. It is not known if the anomalous organization of the vestibular or magnocellular systems in non-right-handers might alter susceptibility to motion sickness. Undergraduate college students completed online versions of the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory (Oldfield, Neuropsychologia 9:97-113, 1971) and Motion Sickness Susceptibility Questionnaire - Short Form (Golding, Personality and Individual Differences 41:237-48, 2006). Data from 664 undergraduate men and women revealed no support for individual differences in handedness effects on self-reported propensity to experience motion sickness in either childhood or adulthood. Findings replicate previous work of increased motion sickness in women, compared with men. Men reported being less motion sick in adulthood compared to childhood, while women reported no differences in motion sickness between childhood and adulthood. Handedness results are discussed in the context of reported individual differences in handedness effects on memory, and gender effects in terms of social desirability. Given that the handedness groups demonstrate differences in brain organization, the null effects here may shed light on the neural mechanisms that are involved in motion sickness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalBioPsychoSocial Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 26 Feb 2018


  • Gender
  • Handedness
  • Lateralization
  • Motion sickness


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