Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering


Human Computer Interaction

First Advisor

Stephen Gilbert


Conducting research within virtual environments poses unique challenges when trying to measure mental effort and visually induced motion sickness. Determining how much mental effort an individual is exerting at any given point has historically been reserved for a human factors expert review and self-report such as NASA-TLX. When using an objective measure of mental effort via electrodermal activity (EDA), the subjective piece of this measure no longer carries the entire burden of proof. This research explores whether electrodermal activity (EDA) can be used as a successful indicator of mental effort for a single user in a controlled environment while performing scenario-based tasks. Additionally, EDA will be explored as a potential predictive measure of visually induced motion sickness within virtual environments.

Two studies were conducted to contribute to this research. The first study observed 28 participants in a combine vehicle simulator and showed there is a decrease in EDA levels over time as familiarity with the system increases. The second study included 57 participants who navigated a visually disruptive virtual maze using a 3D head-mounted display. This study demonstrated a positive correlation between EDA and reported sickness in the first half of the study and a positive correlation between EDA and mental effort in the second half of the study. This research supports that EDA can be used as a measure of mental effort and visually induced motion sickness for a single user performing scenario-based tasks.


Copyright Owner

Chase Rubin Meusel



File Format


File Size

85 pages