Headshot of Paul MacNeilage

Paul MacNeilage

Associate Professor and Director, Cognitive & Brain Science Ph.D. Program


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 / Computer Science 484/684 - Human Machine Interaction in Virtual Reality
  • Psychology 499/699 - Special Topics - Human-machine Interaction in Virtual Reality
  • Psychology 761 - Contemporary Issues in Psychology - Self-motion Processing
  • Psychology 762 - Contemporary Issues - Oculomotor Theory, Physiology, and Methods


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


  • MacNeilage (in press) Characterizations of natural head movements in humans and animals. In: Fritsch (Ed.) The Senses. Elsevier 
  • Glasauer, MacNeilage (in press) Computational rules for integrating vestibular and multi-modal motion signals in the central nervous system. In: Fritsch (Ed.) The Senses. Elsevier 
  • Hausamann, Sinnott, MacNeilage (2020). Positional head-eye tracking outside the lab: an open-source solution. In Symposium on Eye Tracking Research and Applications (pp. 1-5). 
  • Adhanom, Lee, Folmer, MacNeilage (2020) GazeMetrics: An Open-Source Tool for Measuring the Data Quality of HMD-based Eye Trackers. In Symposium on Eye Tracking Research and Applications (pp. 1-5). 
  • Adhanom, Griffin, MacNeilage, Folmer (2020) The Effect of a Foveated Field-of-view Restrictor on VR Sickness. In 2020 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (VR) (pp. 645-652) 
  • Dietrich, Heidger, Schniepp, MacNeilage, Glasauer, Wuehr (2020) Head motion predictability explains activity-dependent suppression of vestibular balance control. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-10. 
  • Sinnott, Liu, Matera, Halow, Jones, Moroz, Mulligan, Crognale, Folmer, MacNeilage (2019) Underwater Virtual Reality System for Neutral Buoyancy Training: Development and Evaluation. In 25th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (pp. 1-9). 
  • Moroz, Garzorz, Folmer, MacNeilage (2019) Sensitivity to visual speed modulation in head-mounted displays depends on fixation. Displays, 58, 12-19. 
  • Al Zayer, Adhanom, MacNeilage, Folmer (2019) The effect of field-of-view restriction on sex bias in VR sickness and spatial navigation performance. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-12). 
  • Hausamann, Daumer, MacNeilage, Glasauer (2019) Ecological momentary assessment of head motion: Towards normative data of head stabilization. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 13, 179. 
  • Garzorz, MacNeilage (2019) Towards dynamic modeling of visual-vestibular conflict detection. Progress in brain research, 248, 277-284. 
  • Ramaioli, Cuturi, Ramat, Lehnen, MacNeilage (2019) Vestibulo-Ocular Responses and Dynamic Visual Acuity During Horizontal Rotation and Translation. Frontiers in neurology, 10. 
  • Al Zayer, MacNeilage, Folmer (2018). Virtual locomotion: a survey. IEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics. 
  • Garzorz, Freeman, Ernst, MacNeilage (2018) Insufficient compensation for self-motion during perception of object speed: The vestibular Aubert-Fleischl phenomenon. Journal of vision, 18(13), 9-9. 
  • MacNeilage, Glasauer (2018) Gravity perception: The role of the cerebellum. Current Biology, 28(22), R1296-R1298. 
  • Bhandari, MacNeilage, Folmer (2018). Teleportation without spatial disorientation using optical flow cues. In Proceedings of Graphics Interface (Vol. 2018). 
  • Genzel, Schutte, Brimijoin, MacNeilage, Wiegrebe (2018) Psychophysical evidence for auditory motion parallax. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115 (16), 4264-4269 
  • Holten, MacNeilage (2018) Optic flow detection is not influenced by visual-vestibular congruency. PloS one 13 (1), e0191693