Field (In)dependence Flexibility Following a Virtual Immersion Is Associated With Cybersickness and Sense of Presence

  • Maneuvrier Arthur
  • Decker L M
  • Renaud P.
  • Ceyte G.
  • Ceyte Hadrien

  • Sensory re-weighting virtual reality cybersickness sense of presence field dependence perceptive style flexibility multisensory integration
  • Sensory re-weighting
  • Virtual reality
  • Cybersickness
  • Sense of presence
  • Field dependence
  • Perceptive style
  • Flexibility
  • Multisensory integration


Field dependence–independence (FDI) is a psychological construct determining an individual’s approach of the perception–cognition coupling. In virtual reality (VR) context, several studies suggest that an individual’s perceptive style is susceptible to shift toward a more FI mode through down-weighting of conflicting visual cues. The present study proposes to investigate the potential flexible nature of FDI following a virtual immersion and to assess if this flexibility might be associated with the subjective experience of VR. 86 participants explored a real-world–like virtual environment for approximately 10 min. FDI levels were measured before and after the VR exposure using the rod-and-frame test. Their subjective experience of VR was measured a posteriori (cybersickness and sense of presence) and used in order to build two experimental groups via a cluster analysis. The results showed that only participants with a poor subjective experience of VR (i.e., a low level of sense of presence associated with a high level of cybersickness) significantly shifted to a more FI mode, which is discussed as a sensory re-weighting mechanism. Pragmatical applications are discussed, and future studies are outlined, based on the conclusion that FDI might be more flexible than we thought, which could shed light on the psychophysiology of VR.