This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (June 2020)
The subject is placed in the chair, blindfolded, then spun about the vertical axis while keeping their head upright or tilted forward or to the side. The subject is then asked to perform tasks such as determine their direction of rotation while blindfolded, or rapidly change the orientation of their head, or attempt to point at a stationary object without blindfold after the chair is stopped. The chair is used to demonstrate spatial disorientation effects, proving that the vestibular system is not to be trusted in flight. Pilots are taught that they should instead rely on their flight instruments.
The chair was named for Hungarian physiologist Robert Bárány, who used this device in his research into the role of the inner ear in the sense of balance. This won him the 1914 Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine.
- Sensory illusions in aviation – Misjudgment of true orientation by pilots
- Spatial disorientation – Inability of a person to correctly determine their body position in space
- McGloin, Brian. "Squadron aims to reduce use of air-sickness bags". U.S. Air Force. Retrieved 10 May 2020.