Laurence Roy Harris


Locations / Contact Info:

SHSRC 1022
Keele Campus
Phone: 416 736 2100 Ext. 66108
Fax: 416-736-5814

Email address(es):

Web site(s):

Faculty & School/Dept.

Faculty of Health - Department of Psychology


PhD - 1978
Cambridge University


I grew up in the suburbs of South London in England. I went to school at St Olave’s Grammar School for boys on the south bank of the River Thames. In 1971 I went to Magdalene College of Cambridge University and read Natural Sciences where I specialized in Experimental Psychology. I then stayed at Cambridge University and did research in physiology and psychology looking at the control of eye and head movements under the supervision of Dr. Colin Blakemore. I then went to Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia to continue this work as a post-doctoral researcher under the supervision of Dr. Max Cynader. After a year and a half I went back to Britain to work in Durham in the North of England where I had an independent research position as an Addison Wheeler fellow. I took up a lectureship at Cardiff University in 1983 teaching physiology to medical students. I came to Canada permanently in 1990 to take up a professorship in Psychology at York University in Toronto.


My laboratory investigates how we represent our position, orientation and motion through the world and the location and timing of events in the world. The emphasis is on how information coming from multiple senses is combined to achieve this. My students and I measure eye, head and limb position and perception while stimulating the vestibular, visual, tactile and auditory senses in various ways and in various combinations. We use various real and simulated sensory environments, including electrical stimulation, virtual reality, underwater submersion, loudspeakers, lights, headphones, prodders, vibrators, screens and photographs to gain independent control of the various senses.

Selected Publications


1.      Harris LR, Atkinson J, Braddick OJ (1976) Visual contrast sensitivity of a six month old infant measured by the evoked potential. Nature 264: 570-571

2.      Harris LR (1980) The superior colliculus and movements of the eyes and head in cats. J Physiol (London) 300: 367-391

3.      Harris LR, Blakemore C, Donaghy MJ (1980) Integration of visual and auditory space in the mammalian superior colliculus. Nature 288: 56-59

4.      Harris LR, Morgan J, Still AW (1981) Moving and the motion after effect. Nature 293: 139-141

5.      Harris LR, Lieberman L. (1996) Auditory stimulus detection is not suppressed during saccadic eye movements. Perception 25: 999-1004

6.      Harris LR, Jenkin M, Zikovitz DC (2000 ) Visual and non-visual cues in the perception of linear acceleration Experimental Brain Research 135:12-21

7.      Redlick FP, Harris LR, Jenkin M (2001) Humans can use optic flow to estimate distance of travel. Vision Research 41: 213-219

8.      Kopinska A, Harris LR (2004) Simultaneity constancy Perception 33 (9): 1049-1060

9.      Dyde RT, Jenkin MR, Harris LR (2006) The subjective visual vertical and the perceptual upright Experimental Brain Research 173: 621-622 doi:10.1007/s00221-006-0405-y

10. Lappe M, Jenkin M, Harris LR (2007) Travel distance estimation from visual motion by leaky path integration Experimental Brain Research 180: 35-48 doi:10.1007/s00221-006-0835-6

  1. Harrar V, Harris LR (2008) The effect of exposure to asynchronous audio, visual, and tactile stimulus combinations on the perception of simultaneity Experimental Brain Research 186: 517-524. doi:10.1007/s00221-007-1253-0

12. Dyde RT, Harris LR (2008) “The influence of retinal and extra-retinal motion cues on perceived object motion during self-motion” J. Vision. 8(14):5, 1-10

13. Trainor LJ, Gao X, Lei J-J, Lehtovaara K, Harris LR (2009) “The primal role of the vestibular system in determining musical rhythm”. Cortex 45: 35-43 doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2007.10.014

14. Dyde RT, Jenkin MR, Jenkin HJ, Jenkin MR Zacher JE, Harris LR (2009)“The effects of altered gravity states on the perception of orientation.” Experimental Brain Research 194: 647-660 doi:10.1007/s00221-009-1741-5

15. Harrar V, Harris LR (2009) “Eye position affects the perceived location of touches” Experimental Brain Res. 198 (2-3) 403-410 doi:10.1007/s00221-009-1884-4

16    Hoover AEN, Harris LR (2012) “Detecting delay in visual feedback of an action as a monitor of self recognition Experimental Brain Research 222: 389-397

16.  Harris LR, Mander C (2014) "Perceived distance depends on the orientation of both the body and the visual environment" Journal of Vision 14:17 doi:10.1167/14.12.17  

17.  D’Amour S, Harris LR (2014) “Vibrotactile masking through the body” Experimental Brain Research 232: 2859-2863



Other Research Outputs




1.      Harris LR, Jenkin M (1993) Eds. Spatial Vision in Humans and Robots. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. ISBN 0-521-43071-2. 448 pages.

2.      Jenkin M, Harris LR. (1997) Eds Psychophysical and computational mechanisms of visual coding. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. ISBN 0-521-57104-9. 361 pages

3.      Harris LR, Jenkin M. (1998) Eds. Vision and Action. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK ISBN 0-521-63162-9. 360 pages.

4.      Jenkin M, Harris LR. (2001) Eds. Vision and Attention. Springer, NY ISBN 0-387-95058-3.

5.      Harris LR, Jenkin M (2002) Eds. Levels of Perception. Springer NY ISBN 0-387-95525-9.

6.      Jenkin M, Harris LR (2005) Eds. Seeing Spatial Form. Oxford University Press. NY ISBN 0195172884

7.      Harris LR, Jenkin M (2007) Eds. Computational vision in neural and machine systems. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 0521862604  320 pages

8.      Jenkin M, Harris LR (2009) Eds. Cortical Mechanisms of Vision. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 0521889618 458 pages


Vision Sciences Society

Experimental Psychology Society

International Multisensory Research Forum
Member of the IMRF committee on organization

Physiological Society


Currently available to supervise graduate students: Yes

Currently taking on work-study students, Graduate Assistants or Volunteers: Yes

Available to supervise undergraduate thesis projects: Yes

Current Research

How we see during movement. How does the brain work? Recording eye and head movements during various patterns of motion in order to reveal coding mechanisms. Measuring the perception of vision, space and hearing during movement. Measuring perception of self motion while moving around virtual reality environments. Investigating the relative roles of the different senses to the perception of motion. More information can be found on my Webpage.

Research Projects

Determinants of self orientation in Parkinsonism
How vestibular and visual cues are combined to indicate orientation and how it may fail in Parkinsonism
Role: Principal Investigator
Funded by: Other...
Other funding: none

Knowledge of limb position
Visual and non-visual cues to how we know where our limbs are positioned
Role: Principal Investigator
Funded by: Other...
Other funding: none

Multisensory perception of space
How the different senses combine to indicate the location of events in space and time
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount funded: $175,000
Year Funded: 2005
Duration: 5
Funded by: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

Perception of orientation in microgravity
Measuring the contributions of visual and non-visual cues to orientation during long term exposure to microgravity on the international space station
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount funded: $350,000
Year Funded: 2006
Duration: 5
Funded by: Other...
Other funding: Canadian Space Agency

Perception of self motion
How physical and non-physical cues inform about self motion and how thay can be simulated in virtual reality
Role: CoInvestigator
Amount funded: $32,000 euros
Duration: 3
Funded by: Other...
Other funding: Humboldt Foundation

Curriculum Vitae (C.V. file):

CV of Laurence Roy Harris