Michael Barnett-Cowan

Michael Barnett-Cowan
University of Waterloo | UWaterloo · Department of Kinesiology

PhD Experimental Psychology

About

92
Publications
58,574
Reads
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6,550
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2013 - present
University of Waterloo
Position
  • Research Assistant

Publications

Publications (92)
Article
Full-text available
The perceived orientation of objects, gravity, and the body are biased to the left. Whether this leftward bias is attributable to biases in sensing or processing vestibular, visual, and body sense cues has never been assessed directly. The orientation in which characters are most easily recognized-the perceived upright (PU)-can be well predicted fr...
Article
Full-text available
The brain can know about an active head movement even in advance of its execution by means of an efference copy signal. In fact, sensory correlates of active movements appear to be suppressed. Passive disturbances of the head, however, can be detected only by sensory feedback. Might the perceived timing of an active head movement be speeded relativ...
Article
Full-text available
How does the brain estimate object stability? Objects fall over when the gravity-projected centre-of-mass lies outside the point or area of support. To estimate an object's stability visually, the brain must integrate information across the shape and compare its orientation to gravity. When observers lie on their sides, gravity is perceived as tilt...
Article
Previous studies have found that semantics, the higher-level meaning of stimuli, can impact multisensory integration; however, less is known about the effect of valence, an affective response to stimuli. This study investigated the effects of both semantic congruency and valence of non-speech audiovisual stimuli on multisensory integration via resp...
Article
Integration of incoming sensory signals from multiple modalities is central in the determination of self-motion perception. With the emergence of consumer virtual reality (VR), it is becoming increasingly common to experience a mismatch in sensory feedback regarding motion when using immersive displays. In this study, we explored whether introducin...
Article
Full-text available
With the rise of the aging population, many scientists studying multisensory integration have turned toward understanding how this process may change with age. This scoping review was conducted to understand and describe the scope and rigor with which researchers studying audiovisual sensory integration screen for hearing and vision impairment. A s...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Advancements in supporting personalized health care and well-being using virtual reality (VR) have created opportunities to use immersive games to support a healthy lifestyle for persons living with dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Collaboratively designing exercise video games (exergames) as a multistakeholder team is fund...
Article
Background: Physical activity (PA) is associated with physical and cognitive benefits among people living with dementia or mild cognitive impairment (PLWD/MCI) and is a meaningful activity that can improve their confidence in everyday life. Exercising in virtual reality environments (VR Exergame) is becoming an increasingly feasible and enjoyable...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Despite the proven benefits of exercise in older adults, challenges such as access and motivation can deter older adults’ engagement. Interactive virtual reality games that are combined with exercise (VR exergames) are a plausible strategy to encourage physical activity among this population. However, there has been little research regar...
Article
Background: Despite the proven benefits of exercise in older adults, challenges such as access and motivation can deter their engagement. Interactive virtual reality (VR) games combined with exercise (exergames) are a plausible strategy to encourage physical activity among this population. However, there has been little research on the feasibility...
Preprint
Previous studies demonstrate that semantics, the higher level meaning of multi-modal stimuli, can impact multisensory integration. Valence, an affective response to images, has not yet been tested in non-priming response time (RT) or temporal order judgement (TOJ) tasks. This study aims to investigate both semantic congruency and valence of non-spe...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Advancements in supporting personalized healthcare and wellbeing using virtual reality (VR) has created opportunities to use immersive games to support a healthy lifestyle for persons living with dementia (PLWD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Collaboratively designing exercise-video games (exergames) as a multi-stakeholder team is...
Article
We assessed how self-motion affects the visual representation of the self. We constructed a novel virtual-reality experiment that systematically varied an avatar’s motion and also biological sex. Participants were presented with pairs of avatars that visually represented the participant (‘self-avatar’), or another person (‘opposite avatar’). Avatar...
Article
Full-text available
Sensory dynamics can be re-shaped by environmental interaction, allowing adaptation to altered or unfamiliar conditions that would otherwise provoke challenges for the central nervous system. One such condition occurs in virtual reality, where sensory conflict is thought to induce cybersickness. Although the sensory re-weighting process is likely t...
Article
Research has established a link between presence and cybersickness in virtual environments, but there is significant disagreement regarding the directionality of the relationship (positive or negative) between the two factors, and if the relationship is modulated by other top-down influences. Several studies have revealed a negative association bet...
Preprint
Full-text available
Large-field optic flow generates the illusory percept of self-motion, termed 'vection'. Smoother visual motion displays generate a more compelling subjective sense of vection and objective postural responses, as well as a greater sense of immersiveness for the user observing the visual display. Research suggests that the function linking frame rate...
Article
The mechanism underlying cybersickness during virtual reality (VR) exposure is still poorly understood, although research has highlighted a causal role for visual–vestibular sensory conflict. Recently established methods for reducing cybersickness include galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) to mimic absent vestibular cues in VR, or vibration of t...
Preprint
Full-text available
The mechanism underlying cybersickness during virtual reality (VR) exposure is still poorly understood, although research has highlighted a causal role for visual-vestibular sensory conflict. Recently established methods for reducing cybersickness include galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) to mimic absent vestibular cues in VR, or vibration of t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Research has established a link between presence and cybersickness in virtual environments, but there is significant disagreement regarding the directionality of the relationship (positive or negative) between the two factors, and if the relationship is modulated by other top-down influences. Several studies have revealed a negative association bet...
Article
Older adults exhibit greater multisensory response time (RT) facilitation by violating the race model more than young adults; this is commonly interpreted as an enhancement in perception. Older adults typically exhibit wider temporal binding windows (TBWs) and points of subjective simultaneity (PSS) that typically lie farther from true simultaneity...
Preprint
Full-text available
We assessed how self-motion affects the visual representation of the self. We constructed a novel virtual reality experiment that systematically varied an avatar's motion and also biological sex. Participants were presented with pairs of avatars that visually represented the participant (''self avatar''), or another person (''opposite avatar''). Av...
Article
Full-text available
Virtual reality (VR) provides a valuable research tool for studying what occurs when sensorimotor feedback loops are manipulated. Here we measured whether exposure to a novel temporal relationship between action and sensory reaction in VR causes recalibration of time perception. We asked 31 participants to perform time perception tasks where the in...
Preprint
Full-text available
Older adults exhibit greater multisensory response time (RT) facilitation by violating the race model more than younger adults; this is commonly interpreted as an enhancement in perception. Older adults typically exhibit wider temporal binding windows (TBWs) and points of subjective simultaneity (PSS) that are farther from true simultaneity as comp...
Article
Full-text available
In order to take advantage of the potential offered by the medium of virtual reality (VR), it will be essential to develop an understanding of how to maximize the desirable experience of “presence” in a virtual space (“being there”), and how to minimize the undesirable feeling of “cybersickness” (a constellation of discomfort symptoms experienced i...
Preprint
Full-text available
The potential of using video games as well as gaming engines for educational and research purposes is promising, especially with the current progress of Industry 4.0 technologies such as augmented and virtual reality devices. However, it is important to be aware of the barriers of these technologies. Integrating additional software libraries into c...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract In environments where orientation is ambiguous, the visual system uses prior knowledge about lighting coming from above to recognize objects, determine which way is up, and reorient the body. Here we investigated the extent with which assumed light from above preferences are affected by body orientation and the orientation of the retina re...
Article
The central nervous system must determine which sensory events occur at the same time. Actively moving the head corresponds with large changes in the relationship between the observer and the environment, sensorimotor processing, and spatiotemporal perception. Active head movement perception has been shown to be dependent on head movement velocity...
Article
Full-text available
The user base of the virtual reality (VR) medium is growing, and many of these users will experience cybersickness. Accounting for the vast inter-individual variability in cybersickness forms a pivotal step in solving the issue. Most studies of cybersickness focus on a single factor (e.g., balance, sex, vection), while other contributors are overlo...
Preprint
Full-text available
The user base of the virtual reality (VR) medium is growing, and many of these users will experience cybersickness. Accounting for the vast inter-individual variability in cybersickness forms a pivotal step in solving the issue. Most studies of cybersickness focus on a single factor (e.g., balance, sex, vection), while other contributors are overlo...
Article
Full-text available
Multisensory integration is required for a number of daily living tasks where the inability to accurately identify simultaneity and temporality of multisensory events results in errors in judgment leading to poor decision-making and dangerous behavior. Previously, our lab discovered that older adults exhibited impaired timing of audiovisual events,...
Article
Full-text available
The central nervous system allows for a limited time span referred to as the temporal binding window (TBW) in order to rapidly determine whether multisensory events correspond with the same event. Failure to correctly identify whether multisensory events occur simultaneously and their sequential order can lead to inaccurate representations of the p...
Preprint
Full-text available
The central nervous system must determine which sensory events occur at the same time. Actively moving the head corresponds with large changes in the relationship between the observer and the environment, sensorimotor processing, and spatiotemporal perception. Numerous studies have shown that head movement onset must precede the onset of other sens...
Article
Full-text available
Knowing when the head moves is crucial information for the central nervous system to maintain a veridical representation of the self in the world for perception and action. Previous studies have shown that active head movement onset has to precede a sound by approximately 80 ms to be perceived as simultaneous, suggesting that the perceived timing o...
Article
Historically, balance control was thought to be mediated solely by subcortical structures based on animal research. However, recent findings provide compelling evidence of cortical involvement during balance reactions evoked by whole-body postural perturbations. In humans, an external perturbation elicits an evoked potential, termed the perturbatio...
Article
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths and hospitalizations, with older adults at an increased risk. As humans age, physical changes and health conditions make falls more likely. While we know how the body reflexively responds to prevent injury during a fall, we know little about how people perceive the fall itself. We previously foun...
Article
According to one influential view, two specialized parieto-frontal circuits control prehension: a dorsomedial stream for hand transport during reaching and a dorsolateral stream for preshaping the fingers during grasping. However, recent evidence argues that an area within the dorsomedial stream -- macaque area V6A and, its putative human homologue...
Article
Falling down is a common event that threatens the survival of an organism. Simple, yet sophisticated neural mechanisms allow for rapid detection of a fall as well as the generation of compensatory reflexes designed to prevent a fall. Fall awareness and preventative alerting devices could potentially mitigate the likelihood of a fall, however, relat...
Article
Two episodes of attentional selection cannot occur very close in time. This is the traditional account of the attentional blink, whereby observers fail to report the second of two temporally proximal targets. Recent analyses have challenged this simple account, suggesting that attentional selection during the attentional blink is not only (a) suppr...
Article
Full-text available
Gilbert et al. conclude that evidence from the Open Science Collaboration’s Reproducibility Project: Psychology indicates high reproducibility, given the study methodology. Their very optimistic assessment is limited by statistical misconceptions and by causal inferences from selectively interpreted, correlational data. Using the Reproducibility Pr...
Article
Full-text available
Perceptual binding of multisensory events occurs within a limited time span known as the temporal binding window. Failure to correctly identify whether multisensory events occur simultaneously, what their temporal order is, or whether they should be causally bound can lead to inaccurate representations of the physical world, poor decision-making, a...
Article
Full-text available
Humans are capable of moving about the world in complex ways. Every time we move, our self-motion must be detected and interpreted by the central nervous system in order to make appropriate sequential movements and informed decisions. The vestibular labyrinth consists of two unique sensory organs the semi-circular canals and the otoliths that are s...
Article
Full-text available
Reproducibility is a defining feature of science, but the extent to which it characterizes current research is unknown. We conducted replications of 100 experimental and correlational studies published in three psychology journals using high-powered designs and original materials when available. Replication effects were half the magnitude of origin...
Article
Sensory information provided by the vestibular system is crucial in cognitive processes such as the ability to recognize objects. The orientation at which objects are most easily recognized — the perceptual upright (PU) — is influenced by body orientation with respect to gravity as detected from the somatosensory and vestibular systems. To date, th...
Article
Full-text available
The brain shifts attention by selectively modulating sensory information about relevant environmental features. It has been shown that eye, head, trunk and limb position can bias spatial attention. This leads to the interesting question: Does the brain only recruit bodily information that is explicitly related to orienting behaviour to direct atten...
Article
Humans can detect whether an unstable object will fall or right itself, suggesting that the visual system can extract an object’s center of mass (COM) and relate this to its base of support. While the COM can be approximated by its shape, this assumes uniform density. We created images of computer-generated goblets made of different materials to as...
Article
Our expectations of how heavy an object will be allow us to use the appropriate level of force to lift an object without having to rely on sensory feedback. After lifting an object from the verge of a table edge, we noted an appreciable change in the perceived weight of the object from when it was lifted from the table's center. To assess this in t...
Conference Paper
Two attentional episodes cannot occur very close in time. This is the traditional theory of the attentional blink, and it correctly predicts that the second of two successive attentional episodes often fails. But even when an episode succeeds, it may occur at an inappropriate time. Based on an analysis of response errors, Vul, Nieuwenstein and Kanw...
Conference Paper
If the audio and visual stream in a movie are poorly aligned the discrepancy between the actors’ speech and lip movements are very disturbing in the beginning. However, after a short time the constant delay in one modality becomes barely noticeable. This phenomenon is termed temporal recalibration, that is, the adaptation of synchrony perception to...
Article
Full-text available
Motion simulators are widely employed in basic and applied research to study the neural mechanisms of perception and action during inertial stimulation. In these studies, uncontrolled simulator-introduced noise inevitably leads to a disparity between the reproduced motion and the trajectories meticulously designed by the experimenter, possibly resu...
Article
Multisensory stimuli originating from the same event can be perceived asynchronously due to differential physical and neural delays. The transduction of and physiological responses to vestibular stimulation are extremely fast, suggesting that other stimuli need to be presented prior to vestibular stimulation in order to be perceived as simultaneous...
Article
Full-text available
Perceiving vertical self-motion is crucial for maintaining balance as well as for controlling an aircraft. Whereas heave absolute thresholds have been exhaustively studied, little work has been done in investigating how vertical sensitivity depends on motion intensity (i.e., differential thresholds). Here we measure human sensitivity for 1-Hz sinus...
Article
Full-text available
Jeffery et al. propose a non-uniform representation of three-dimensional space during navigation. Fittingly, we recently revealed asymmetries between horizontal and vertical path integration in humans. We agree that representing navigation in more than two dimensions increases computational load and suggest that tendencies to maintain upright head...
Article
Full-text available
The brain is able to determine angular self-motion from visual, vestibular, and kinesthetic information. There is compelling evidence that both humans and non-human primates integrate visual and inertial (i.e., vestibular and kinesthetic) information in a statistically optimal fashion when discriminating heading direction. In the present study, we...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we show that differences in reaction times (RT) to self-motion depend not only on the duration of the profile, but also on the actual time course of the acceleration. We previously proposed models that described direction discrimination thresholds for rotational and translational motions based on the dynamics of the vestibular sensor...
Article
Full-text available
To determine the front/back location of a sound source via head rotation, the auditory system must integrate sensorimotor information about head motion with the dynamic acoustic cues resulting from motion of the source relative to the head. In order to determine the influence of vestibular and proprioceptive cues on processing of dynamic acoustic c...
Article
Reproducibility is a defining feature of science. However, because of strong incentives for innovation and weak incentives for confirmation, direct replication is rarely practiced or published. The Reproducibility Project is an open, large-scale, collaborative effort to systematically examine the rate and predictors of reproducibility in psychologi...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the dynamics of vestibular perception is important, for example, for improving the realism of motion simulation and virtual reality environments or for diagnosing patients suffering from vestibular problems. Previous research has found a dependence of direction discrimination thresholds for rotational motions on the period length (inv...
Article
Full-text available
The perception of simultaneity between auditory and vestibular information is crucially important for maintaining a coherent representation of the acoustic environment whenever the head moves. It has been recently reported, however, that despite having similar transduction latencies, vestibular stimuli are perceived significantly later than auditor...