Vanessa  Harrar
Chercheuse postdoctorale

My research program includes basic knowledge as well as rehabilitation applications. My goal is to understand how the senses come together to provide a unified percept of the world. After all, the visual system does not operate in isolation; we must look at the brain as a whole to determine how vision interacts with the other senses. I am one of only a handful of researchers in the world to have studied multisensory integration with all of the senses (audition, vision, touch, smell, taste, proprioception, vestibular, and eye movements). In particular, for the purposes of rehabilitation, it is important to understand the multisensory interactions within the brain; it is clear that multisensory training programs are much more successful than unisensory ones. My long-term aim is to apply answers to my basic research questions to generate multisensory rehabilitation programs for multiple clinical populations. Sensory deficits and disabilities have traditionally been explored one modality at a time. However, I propose that we might be able to bypass unisensory deficits by capitalising on the other healthy senses. I hope that my research will enable clinicians working with populations with sensory deficits to take advantage of brain plasticity, rather than to suffer from their adverse effects.


Multisensory integration, perceptual learning, dyslexia, aging, low vision, addiction (alcohol and cannabinoid), statistics, perception & action, time.


Visual Psychophysics and Perception Laboratory, School of Optometry, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada

NSERC-Essilor Industrial Research Chair, Montreal, QC, Canada


2006 – 2010 : PhD Experimental Psychology, York University, Canada

Supervised by Prof. Laurence R. Harris

Thesis: “Is touch is coded in a visual reference frame?”

2004 – 2006 : MA Experimental Psychology, York University, Canada

Supervised by Prof. Laurence R. Harris

Thesis: “Simultaneity constancy mechanism for bimodal visual and tactile stimuli”

2001 – 2004 : BA Major/minor Psychology/applied math, York University, Canada

Thesis: “Perception of simultaneity when the visual and somatosensory modalities are combined”