Paul MacNeilage

Paul MacNeilage

Assistant Professor
Headshot of Paul MacNeilage


Research in the self-motion lab investigates human spatial orientation, that is our sense of location and movement relative to the environment. Many daily activities, including standing upright, walking, driving, or riding a bike, depend critically on spatial orientation estimates that are continuously and effortlessly maintained by dedicated sensory and cognitive processes that most of us take for granted. The broad aim is to achieve a better understanding of these processes.
Human detection and discrimination of spatial orientation stimuli is measured using a virtual reality motion simulator consisting of a hexapod motion platform and visual and auditory displays. Natural statistical properties of visual and vestibular stimulation in real world environments are measured using a head-mounted device that records synchronized information about head motion, eye movements, and visual stimulation during everyday activities. Perceptual and motor measurements are evaluated in light of computational models and existing physiological data.

Research Interests

  • Visual-vestibular interactions
  • Perceiving a stable world
  • Motor signals and self-motion perception
  • Statistics of natural head motion
  • Clinical measures of vestibular perception

Courses Taught

  • Psychology 301 - Experimental Psychology
  • Psychology 499/699 - Special Topics - Human-machine Interaction in Virtual Reality
  • Psychology 761 - Contemporary Issues in Psychology - Self-motion Processing


  • Ph.D., Vision Science, University of California Berkeley, 2007
  • B.A., Biological Anthropology, Harvard University, 1996


  • Garzorz I, MacNeilage PR. Visual-vestibular Conflict Detection Depends on Fixation. Curr Biol. 2017 In Press
  • MacNeilage PR, Glasauer S. Quantification of Head Movement Predictability and Implications for Suppression of Vestibular Input during Locomotion. Front Comput Neurosci. 2017 Jun 7;11:47.
  • Clemens IA, Selen LP, Pomante A, MacNeilage PR, Medendorp WP. Eye Movements in Darkness Modulate Self-Motion Perception. eNeuro. 2017 Jan 25;4(1).
  • Genzel D, Firzlaff U, Wiegrebe L, MacNeilage PR. Dependence of auditory spatial updating on vestibular, proprioceptive, and efference copy signals. J Neurophysiol. 2016 Aug 1;116(2):765-75.
  • Hummel N, Cuturi LF, MacNeilage PR, Flanagin VL. The effect of supine body position on human heading perception. J Vis. 2016;16(3):19
  • Bremova T, Caushaj A, Ertl M, Strobl R, Böttcher N, Strupp M, MacNeilage PR. Comparison of linear motion perception thresholds in vestibular migraine and Menière's disease. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 Oct;273(10):2931-9.
  • Dokka K, MacNeilage PR, DeAngelis GC, Angelaki DE. Multisensory self-motion compensation during object trajectory judgments. Cereb Cortex. 2015 Mar;25(3):619-30
  • Cuturi LF, MacNeilage PR. Optic flow induces nonvisual self-motion aftereffects. Curr Biol. 2014 Dec 1;24(23):2817-21.
  • Chang NY, Hiss MM, Sanders MC, Olomu OU, MacNeilage PR, Uchanski RM, Hullar TE. Vestibular perception and the vestibulo-ocular reflex in young and older adults. Ear Hear. 2014 Sep-Oct;35(5):565-70.
  • Nesti A, Beykirch KA, MacNeilage PR, Barnett-Cowan M, Bülthoff HH. The importance of stimulus noise analysis for self-motion studies. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 22;9(4).
  • Nesti A, Barnett-Cowan M, Macneilage PR, Bülthoff HH. Human sensitivity to vertical self-motion. Exp Brain Res. 2014 Jan;232(1):303-14.
  • Agrawal Y, Bremova T, Kremmyda O, Strupp M, MacNeilage PR. Clinical testing of otolith function: perceptual thresholds and myogenic potentials. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2013 Dec;14(6):905-15.
  • Cuturi LF, MacNeilage PR. Systematic biases in human heading estimation. PLoS One. 2013;8(2).
  • MacNeilage PR, Zhang Z, DeAngelis GC, Angelaki DE. Vestibular facilitation of optic flow parsing. PLoS One.2012;7(7)