Laurence 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

(for complete list see my web page under "publications")


*  Ferrè ER and Harris LR (2017) Vestibular Cognition. BRILL.

*  Steeves JKE and Harris LR (2012) Plasticity in Sensory Systems. CUP


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

11. 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

18 D’Amour S, Pritchett LM, Harris LR (2015) “Bodily illusions disrupt tactile sensations” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 41 (1):42-49

19 Hoover A, Harris LR (2015) “The role of viewpoint on body ownership” Exp Brain Res. 233: 1053-1060

20 Fraser LE, Harris LR  (2016) “Perceived finger orientation is biased towards functional task spaces” Experimental Brain Research 234 (12) 3565-357

21 Hoover AEN, Harris LR (2016) “Inducing ownership over an ‘other’ perspective with a visuo-tactile manipulation” Experimental Brain Research 234 (12) 3633-3639

22 Harrar V, Harris LR, Spence C. (2016) “Multisensory Integration is independent of perceived simultaneity” Experimental Brain Research 235(3) 763-775

23 Hoover AEN, Harris LR (2015) “Disrupting vestibular activity disrupts body ownership” Multisensory Research 28: 581-590

24 Harris LR, Jenkin M, Jenkin H, Zacher JE, Dyde RT (2017)  “The effect of long-term exposure to microgravity on the perception of upright”. Nature Partner Journal: Microgravity 3:3 doi:10.1038/s41526-016-0005-5

25 Harris LR, Sakurai K, Beaudot WHA (2017) “Tactile flow overrides other cues to self motion” Scientific Reports 7: 1059 DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-01111-w

26 D’Amour S, Harris LR  (2017) “Perceived face size in healthy adults” PLoS ONE 12 (5) e017734

27 McManus M, D’Amour S, Harris LR (2017) “Using optic flow in the far peripheral field”. Journal of Vision. 17 (8):3, 1-11 DOI: 10.1167/17.8.3

28 Arikan BE, van Kemenade BM, Straube B, Harris LR, Kircher T (2017) “Active and passive movements widen the window of subjective simultaneity” I-Perception 8 (4) 1-20 DOI 10.1177/2041669517719297

29 Fraser LE, Harris LR (2017) The effect of hand position on perceived finger orientation in left- and right-handers” Exp Brain Res (eprint ahead of publication: DOI 10.1007/s00221-017-5090-5

30 D’Amour S, Harris LR. (2019) The representation of body size: Variations with viewpoint and sex. Frontiers in Psychology. 10:2805. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02805

31 Gibson M, McManus M, Kim J-J, Harris LR. (2020) The effect of training on the perceived approach angle in visual vertical heading judgements in a virtual environment. Experimental Brain Research 238: 1861-1869

32 Bury N, Jenkin M, Allison RS, Harris LR. (2020) Perceiving jittering self-motion in a field of lollipops from ages 4 to 95. PloS ONE 15(10): e0241087.



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

9. Harris LR, Jenkin M (2011) Eds. Vision in the 3D environment. Cambridge University Press ISBN-10: 1107001757;  ISBN-13: 978-1107001756 ; 376 pages

10. Steeves JKE, Harris LR (2012) Eds. Plasticity in Sensory Systems. Cambridge University Press ISBN-10: 1107022622; ISBN-13: 978-1107022621; 320 pages

11. Ferré ER, Harris LR (2017) Eds. Vestibular Cognition. Brill. ISBN-10: 9004342230; ISBN-13: 978-9004342231


Vision Sciences Society

Experimental Psychology Society

International Multisensory Research Forum
Member of the IMRF committee on organization

Physiological Society


York Research Chair in Multisensory Integration - 2018


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

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: $700,000
Year Funded: 2015
Duration: 7
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