For some, the thought of going on long road trips is fun and exciting. But for those who get motion sickness, the thought of merely sitting in a car for more than an hour can be nausea inducing.
But why do some people have motion sickness while others don't? According to neuroscientist Dean Burnett, it's simply a "quirk of development."
In a recent interview with NPR, Burnett explains that motion sickness is the result of sensory confusion.
"Your body is still. You’re sat down. You’ve got no signals from the muscles saying we are moving right now — your muscles are saying we are stationary.”
However when you're in a moving vehicle, the fluids in your ears still move because you're in motion. These contradictory messages trick your brain into thinking you're being poisoned, resulting in the strong urge to expel toxins from your body by throwing up.
And it can get even worse when you're reading because, as Burnett points out, "when you're reading a book, you are staring at something right in front of you, so you're shutting out a lot of external visual information."
Fortunately, there is a solution. Burnett says looking out the window while you are in a car can help reduce the feeling of sickness because it creates balance between the senses.
Still feeling queasy? Try these eight tips for surviving motion sickness.