Mild simulator sickness can alter heart rate variability, mental workload, and learning outcomes in a 360° virtual reality application for medical education: a post hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial

Li Jen Hsin, Yi Ping Chao, Hai Hua Chuang, Terry B.J. Kuo, Cheryl C.H. Yang, Chung Guei Huang, Chung Jan Kang, Wan Ni Lin, Tuan Jen Fang, Hsueh Yu Li, Li Ang Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Virtual reality (VR) applications could be beneficial for education, training, and treatment. However, VR may induce symptoms of simulator sickness (SS) such as difficulty focusing, difficulty concentrating, or dizziness that could impair autonomic nervous system function, affect mental workload, and worsen interventional outcomes. In the original randomized controlled trial, which explored the effectiveness of using a 360° VR video versus a two-dimensional VR video to learn history taking and physical examination skills, only the former group participants had SS. Therefore, 28 undergraduate medical students who participated in a 360° VR learning module were included in this post hoc study using a repeated measures design. Data of the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ), heart rate variability (HRV) analysis, Task Load Index, and Mini-Clinical Evaluation Exercise were retrospectively reviewed and statistically analyzed. Ten (36%) participants had mild SS (total score > 0 and ≤ 20), and 18 (64%) had no SS symptom. Total SSQ score was positively related to the very low frequency (VLF) band power, physical demand subscale, and frustration subscale, and inversely related to physical examination score. Using multilevel modeling, the VLF power mediated the relationship between total SSQ score and physical examination score. Furthermore, frustration subscale moderated the mediating effects of the VLF power. Our results highlight the importance of documenting SS to evaluate a 360° VR training program. Furthermore, the combination of HRV analysis with mental workload measurement and outcome assessments provided the important clinical value in evaluating the effects of SS in VR applications in medical education.

Original languageEnglish
JournalVirtual Reality
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • 360° video
  • Heart rate variability
  • Mini-clinical evaluation exercise
  • Simulator sickness
  • Task load index
  • Visual reality

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Mild simulator sickness can alter heart rate variability, mental workload, and learning outcomes in a 360° virtual reality application for medical education: a post hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this