- Name: Russell Jackson, Ph.D.
- Institution: University of Idaho
- Department: Psychology
- Phone: 208-885-6261
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Summary: Distance perception is among the oldest and most researched topics in behavioral science. Unfortunately, large gaps still exist in our understanding of distance perception and its interaction with other cognitive mechanisms. Recent research from Evolved Navigation Theory has advanced our understanding of visual perception by focusing on its role in navigation. Navigational outcomes such as energy expenditure, falling, and exposure have been present over deep human evolutionary history. These navigational outcomes appear to explain drastic differences in visual perception, including some of the largest distance illusions in real-world vision (e.g. descent illusion, environmental vertical illusion, plateau illusion). We will investigate the interplay between navigation and visual perception with virtual reality and psychophysical methods. Research Assistants interested in human factors in falling, evolution, vision science, virtual reality, or general behavioral science should apply. Read research articles about Evolved Navigation Theory for more information.
Minimum Classes: Coursework should include at least a basic course in biological and/or behavioral sciences. Research methods, statistics, advanced coursework in human factors or evolution, and advanced skills in Python are desirable.
Projects: We will investigate individual differences in falling risk. Falling is one of the broadest and most frequent risks of accidental injury and death at home and in the workplace worldwide. Currently, there are two known risk factors for falling: advanced age and impaired balance. Unfortunately, most falling accidents do not involve people of advanced age or impaired balance. We will focus on understanding the reasons that some people fall, while others do not. Our research will investigate relative risk of falling across people by examining their personal characteristics and previous experiences. This project will provide training in both virtual and physical environments. Research Assistants will test distance perception in both environments and learn basic behavioral research skills. Training in this lab focuses on *why* we perform research in a particular way as a means to train independent scientists, rather than merely showing Research Assistants *what* to do in order to gather data.