Will Harrison

(ex)-PhD student. In January 2013, Will started working with Peter Bex at Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School. He can still be contacted via email: willjharri@gmail.com

We can think of our eyes as though they’re video cameras that record information about the world so that we can better interact with it. However, our visual system outperforms any commercially available video camera: technological developments are yet to overcome the frustrating image instability caused by a shaky-handed cameraperson. Every movement of a handheld video recording device corresponds to a “shake” of the recorded image, which often results in a smeared image that is frustrating to watch at best, and unwatchable at worst. Whereas camera hardware and software developers are yet to create the tools to overcome this visual instability, the human visual system succeeded long ago: every second we’re awake we make saccadic eye movements that shift the image on our retinas faster than anyone could move a camera through space. In contrast to the recorded videos filmed by “shaky cam”, our conscious perception of the visual world is high resolution with very little visible smear or blur. One of the primary purposes of my research is to examine some of the ways in which the human visual system achieves this apparently stable representation of the visual world.


Email: willjharri@gmail.com
Website (updated!): http://willjharrison.com

Postage address:
Schepens Eye Research Institute
20 Staniford St
Boston, MA 02114

Journal Publications

Harrison, W. J., Retell, J. D., Remington, R. W., and Mattingley, J. B. (2013). Visual crowding at a distance during predictive remapping. Current Biology, 23, 1–6. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982213003527.

Harrison, W. J., Mattingley, J. B., and Remington, R. W. (2013). Eye movement targets are released from visual crowding. Journal of Neuroscience, 33, 2927–2933.

Harrison W. J., Mattingley J. B., Remington R. W. (2012). Pre-Saccadic Shifts of Visual Attention. PLoS ONE, 7(9), e45670. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045670

Harrison, W. J., Thompson, M. B., & Sanderson, P. M. (2010). Multisensory integration with a head-mounted display: Background visual motion and sound motion, Human Factors, 52(1), 78-91. [pdf]

Conference Abstracts and Posters

Harrison, W., Remington, R., & Mattingley, J. (2012). Oculomotor selection mitigates visual crowding. The Society for Neuroscience 42nd Annual Meeting. New Orleans, Louisiana: 13-17 October.

Harrison, W., Retell, J., Mattingley, J., & Remington, R. (2012). Predictive remapping preserves elementary visual features across saccades. The 12th Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society. Naples, Florida: 11-16 May.

Harrison, W., Mattingley, J., Remington, R. (2012). Saccade planning mitigates visual crowding. Proceedings of the 39th Australian Experimental Psychology Conference. Sydney, Australia: 12-15 April.

Harrison, W., Mattingley, J., & Remington, R. (2011). Is there predictive remapping of visual attention across saccades? The 11th Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society. Naples, Florida: 6-11 May. [abstract] (Please email me at willjharri@gmail.com for a reprint!)

Harrison, W., Mattingley, J., & Remington, R. (2011). Shift happens: predictive remapping of attention enhances distractor interference. Proceedings of the 38th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference. Auckland, New Zealand 28-30 April, 2011.

Harrison, W., Mattingley, J., & Remington, R. (2010). Perceived target location during suppression of optokinetic nystagnmus. The 51st Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society. St. Louis, MS: 18-21 November. [abstract]

Harrison, W., Dozo, N., Mattingley, J., & Remington, R. (2010). How is spatial attention deployed to visual onsets during saccadic remapping? Proceedings of the 37th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference. Melbourne, Australia: 8-10 April.

Conference Papers

Tear, M., Harrison, W., Thompson, M., & Sanderson, P. M. (2009). Head-mounted displays and multisensory integration: Replications and challenges. Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. San Antonio, TX: 19-23 October. [abstract] [nominated for Alphonse Chapanis Student Paper Award]

Invited Talks

Evenings with Steve Austin, ABC Radio, Brisbane, Australia.

Harrison, W.J. (2010) “Attentional capture during saccadic remapping” (aka “Look here and pay attention”) [click here to hear the interview on ABC radio]

The University of Queensland Research Week Engagement Dinner, South Bank, Brisbane, Australia. Invited by the UQ Graduate School.

Harrison, W. J. (2010) “Look Here and Pay Attention”

Undergraduate Research Conference 2010 Awards Ceremony, Customs House, Brisbane, Australia. Invited by Julie Davey, Office of Undergraduate Education, The University of Queensland.

Harrison, W.J. (2010) “Look Here and Pay Attention”


  • First runner-up of the Three Minute Thesis Competition in The University of Queensland(2010).
  • Winner of the Three Minute Thesis Competition in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (2010).
  • Winner of the Three Minute Thesis Competition in the School of Psychology (2010).
  • Winner of the Three Minute Thesis Competition in the School of Psychology (2009).