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Depression and Heart Disease

The mystery of motion sickness – Rose Eveleth


Can you read in the car? If so, consider yourself pretty lucky. For one-third of the population, looking at a book
while moving along in a car or a boat or train or plane quickly makes them sick to their stomach. But why do we get motion sickness
in the first place? Well, believe it or not,
scientists aren’t exactly sure. The most common theory has to do with mismatched sensory signals. When you travel in a car, your body
gets two different messages. Your eyes are seeing
the inside of a vehicle, which doesn’t seem to be moving. Meanwhile, your ear is telling
your brain you’re accelerating. Wait, your ear? Your ear has another
important function besides hearing. In its innermost part lies a group of
structures known as the vestibular system, which gives us our sense
of balance and movement. Inside there are
three semicircular tubules that can sense rotation,
one for each dimension of space. And there are also two hair-lined
sacks filled with fluid. When you move, the fluid
shifts and tickles the hairs, telling your brain if you’re moving
horizontally or vertically. All this tells your body
which direction you’re moving in, how much you’ve accelerated,
even at what angle. In a car, your vestibular system correctly
senses your movement, but your eyes don’t see it,
especially when glued to a book. The opposite can happen. You’re at the movies, and the camera
makes a sweeping move. This time, your eyes think you’re moving while your ear knows you’re sitting still. But why does this conflicting information
make us feel so terrible? Scientists aren’t sure, but they think there’s
an evolutionary explanation. Fast moving vehicles and video recordings have only existed
in the last couple of centuries, a blink in evolutionary time. For most of our history,
there wasn’t that much that could cause this sensory mix-up, except for poisons. And because poisons
are not the best thing for survival, our bodies evolved a direct
but unpleasant way to get rid of what we ate
that was causing the confusion. It’s a pretty reasonable theory,
but it leaves things unexplained, like why women are more affected
by motion sickness than men, or why passengers
get more nauseous than drivers. Another theory suggests
that the cause is more about the way some unfamiliar situations make it harder to maintain
our natural body posture. Studies show that being immersed in water
or just changing your stance can greatly reduce the effects
of motion sickness. But we don’t really know what’s going on. We know the more common remedies
for car queasiness — looking at the horizon,
over-the-counter pills, chewing gum, but none are totally reliable nor can they handle
intense motion sickness and sometimes the stakes
are far higher than just not being bored during a long car ride. At NASA, where astronauts are hurled
into space at 17,000 miles per hour, motion sickness is a serious problem. In addition to researching
the latest space-age technologies, NASA also spends a lot of time figuring out how to keep astronauts
from vomiting up their space rations. Like understanding the mysteries of sleep
or curing the common cold, motion sickness is one of those
seemingly simple problems that, despite amazing scientific progress,
we still know very little about. Perhaps one day the exact cause
of motion sickness will be found, and with it, a completely
effective way to prevent it, but that day is still on the horizon.

100 thoughts on “The mystery of motion sickness – Rose Eveleth

  1. In my case, I get motion sick as a passenger but not as a driver on long trips, because I tend to look out the window as a passenger, rather than the windshield. Looking out the window amplifies the moving fast yet completely still sensory confusion because the scenery flies by so much faster from the side aspect.

  2. I think drivers feel less sick cuz they are ( or I mean should be) focusing on the outside of the car rather than the inside. So, obvs their visual information would be that they are moving, which lines up with their auditory information, making them less likely to feel sick (assuming that theory to be at least partly true)

  3. I see people say slow the f*** down lady. I say do it yourself. There is an option to slow the video down. Now get off your lazy ads and change it yourself.

  4. I only get car sick but not boat or plane sick so it's my 3 hour trip to the airport I'm scared of! I hate this!

  5. The reason that drivers don't get sick is because they are looking out the windshield and their eyes know they are moving

  6. I don't have motion sickness in trains or buses (regardless of whether I'm sitting with or against the direction of travel), but really badly in cars. Just a minute or two reading on the phone may be too much. Luckily, I don't use the car often at all

  7. I’m going to reveal the trick for avoiding motion sickness it works 100% do it before judging me alright here we go.. you have to sit on the window side of car bus whatever you are traveling with and use headphones while the vehicle is moving trust me all you will feel is little bit of headache but no motion sickness try to keep sound as much as possible.. do it and then thank me here

  8. From What I Know Is That The Driver Moves The Vehicle Like A Video Game If You Drive The Car. And If He Wants To Move The Vehicle He Can Only Know Where It Will Go And The Eye Sees That He Is Both Moving And Accelerating At The Same Time. But For The Passenger He Is Standing Still But His Ears Says That He Is Moving. But His Eye Sees That He Is Not Moving. But Sitting In The Car And The Car Is Moving. Which Causes Motion Sick

  9. I think the most likely reason we tend to feel sick during these mismatched sensory signals is because our bodies automatically associate sensory disruption with being poisoned, but are unsure whether or not to "eject" whatever's causing it, since it's only a mild disruption. While I don't know why women are more prone to motion sickness, drivers aren't as prone because they're looking towards the road, which is moving, so both their eyes and ears both know that he/she is in motion as opposed to passengers, who don't always look out to the road. I think the sickness can also come from how our bodies react to sudden acceleration, like when we're suddenly thrust forward or back, left or right in certain situations. It could most likely cause a momentary disruption in one of the systems and cause nausea.

  10. i dont get sick when the camera shifts in the movies, but i kinda get sick when im traveling in the car could someone explain?

  11. Speaking of motion sickness, you’re making me dizzy with how fast you’re talking! This video would be way more comfortable and enjoyable if you talked slower; TedEd videos are usually longer than this for a reason. I just remember having it drilled into my head during my semester in public speaking at SCF (good god, that class was horrible!) that speaking at a rate others can comprehend is vital (especially since I naturally tend to talk quickly, especially under stress or when I’m passionate about something); definitely a lesson this video could have benefitted from.

  12. You know what's horrible to drive by for a motion sick person? Wind turbines.
    "Just look at the horizon."
    "The horizon is MOVING!"

  13. So good oml! I already new this, but it was still interesting! I’m probably the only who doesn’t care about how fast she’s talking? :/

  14. I could be going to Disneyland and if there is a car ride, and ONLY a car ride, the whole trip is ruined for me because I’ll feel sick for a looooong time.

  15. I am going to tour, but I suffer from severe motion sickness I didn't eat before traveling, didn't use mobile, didn't read books but even I felt nausea I made me to fall sick and I can't enjoy my trip plz tell me any remedy that works great!!!!

  16. Motion sickness can be a mood spolier for any trip, you must follow thse tips as well along with the ones with mention on this video
    https:// bit.ly/2wTzzm4

  17. It’s obvious why drivers get less nautious than passengers. Because they have to LOOK at the road and the road for their eyes is MOVING. Done. Do I get a Nobel prize now?

  18. I find Some smells, tastes and if it gets too hot in the bus or car I’m in make my travel sickness 10 times worse 🤢

  19. I get car sick so easily, it's slowly becoming a problem.. I hate transport and I'd prefer to walk 30-45 minutes to wherever I have to go.

  20. English is my third language (although I started understanding English at the age of 5), but I didn't have any issues understanding any part. I realised she was talking too fast after reading the comments (prolly cause I listen to hip hop a lot ). I watched the whole video sitting in the backseat of my car with an upset stomach😖.

  21. I think that the women being more susceptible to motion sickness thing is because women, in ancient hunter gatherer societies, were the ones who, like, picked berries and other potentially poisonous stuff, and so they're bodies are just more evolved to withstand that sort of sensory mix up.

    As for the passengers drivers thing, I think that's just because drivers are either just distracted by driving, or they're generally more used to this sensation… Not as sure about this theory tho

  22. my comment related to the reason for motion sickness.
    as you move in a vehicle at a constant speed the fluid inside our body also move at constant speed. so does it implies we don't get motion sickness in a vehicle moving at constant speed ?

  23. I think MRI tests with those sensitive to on screen motion would help in the research. Full body scans would be preferable as the nose, eyes, and ears seem to be related by people's anecdotal info.

    Also, I think it'd be obvious why they have to be standing as opposed to the usual laying still for the experiment.

  24. Lies. If my ear told my brain the speed I'm moving, I would not need to live in a hospital because I oversped and crashed.

  25. I think maybe I can explain this and according to me it doesn't have to do with your ear or motion awareness.It is associated with the stomach of each person or can be divided into two.

  26. Well for one answer as a driver you should be looking outside, not just in the inside of the car. That’s how driving works. Passengers don’t have to look out side to, you know, not crash.

  27. Well idk if I got motion sickness or not but I got sick whenever when in the car/bus/taxi or sense the smell when the door opens.
    So I guess it's may be due to the smell of the air inside (?)
    Anyway I tried a bunch of stuff:
    ~ chewing gum (didn't work)
    ~ taking pills (rarely work, in most case it's just preventing me from making a mess but still uncomfortable inside)
    ~ eating snack or sweet (work most of the time till the food runs out, probably the smell of food blocks the smell of air-conditioning)
    ~ listening to music (this works for me as I focus more on the music I enjoy more than the surrounding)
    So what's your methods in dealing with motion sickness?

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