This review examines the role of activity and perceptual learning in motion sickness by means of a survey of the two kinds of recent research relevant to this topic. The first is a body of literature concerned not with motion sickness as such, but with perception of orientation and self-motion under the conditions of ‘sensory conflict’ which are thought to provoke motion sickness. The second consists of investigations into the prediction and prevention of motion sickness itself. A major weakness is identified in the methodologies employed in both types of research: namely, a neglect of the way in which responses to unusual and disorienting environments, whether nauseogenic or not, may be affected by the activities, skills and strategies of the perceiver. New directions are outlined for future research into immediate reactions and longer-term adaptation to such environments.