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Ilja Frissen

Academic title(s): 

Assistant Professor


Contact Information
Email address: 
ilja [dot] frissen [at] mcgill [dot] ca
  • PhD Experimental Psychology; Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands
  • MA Cognitive Psychology; Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Research areas: 
Auditory perception & cognition
Human-computer interaction
Information interaction
Information seeking & use
Multimodal cognition
Multisensory perception
Spatial information interaction
Current research: 

Human Spatial-Information Interaction

I am interested in what I call human spatial-information interaction. We can acquire spatial knowledge in two distinct ways: directly through our sensorimotor systems whenever we are moving about the world, and indirectly through symbolic media such as maps, images, 3-D models, or language.

Specifically I am interested in understanding our natural spatial cognitive abilities and how they determine how we engage with modern “electronic” environments (e.g., World Wide Web). Besides the question if electronic environments share more than just a nominal relationship with real-world environments, I am investigating the hypothesis that we engage with them as if they were real physical environments. Take as a simple example the observation that some people “get lost” on the internet all the time. I wonder if this is somehow related to with how well they are at navigating in the real world. If so, can we improve the design of electronic environments to support and facilitate its navigation based on what we know about natural navigation?

In my research I look at particular aspects of human spatial-information interaction:  

Multimodal spatial cognition

One important aspect of my research is that human spatial cognition is largely multimodal in nature: We rely on more than just the one sensory modality. Thus, a lot of my work looks at how the brain/mind combines and integrates spatial information from across the various senses.

Human-environment interaction

Another important aspect of my research is how we interact with our environments and how that interaction affects how we perceive and think. In the real world, we can manually interact with our environment (e.g., pick up something), or we can walk through our environment. In my work I am extending the meaning of environment to include augmented, virtual, and above all, artificial/electronic (e.g., WWW) environments. For instance, how do modern technologies like Geographical Information Systems (GIS) affect how we construct mental representations of our environment?

A multidisciplinary approach

To study these general questions, I take a multidisciplinary approach that uses methods from the fields of human information interaction, cognitive psychology, and human movement.

Selected publications: 

Evans, M.M., Wensley, A.K.P., & Frissen, I. (2015). The mediating effects of trustworthiness on social-cognitive factors and knowledge sharing in a large professional service firm. Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, 13, 240-253.

Blum, J., Frissen, I., & Cooperstock, J. (2015). Improving haptic feedback on wearable devices through accelerometer measurements. 28th ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium, Charlotte, NC. 6 pp.

Ziat, M., Savord, A., & Frissen, I. (2015). The effect of visual, haptic, and auditory signals perceived from rumble strips during inclement weather. IEEE World Haptics Conference. June 22-25, Evanston, IL, 5 pp.

Frissen, I., & Guastavino, C. (2014). Do whole body vibrations affect spatial hearing? Ergonomics, 57, 1090-1101.

Frissen, I., Féron, F.X., & Guastavino, C. (2014). Auditory velocity discrimination in the horizontal plane at very high velocities. Hearing Research, 316, 94-101.

Frissen, I., & Mars, F. (2014). The effect of visual degradation on anticipatory and compensatory steering control. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67, 499-507.

Frissen, I., Campos, J.L., Sreenivasa, M., & Ernst, M.O. (2013). Enabling unconstrained omnidirectional walking through virtual environments: an overview of the CyberWalk project. In, F. Steinicke, Y. Visell, J. Campos, & A. Lécuyer (Eds.), Human Walking in Virtual Environments: Perception, Technology, and Applications. Springer Verlag.

Frissen, I., & Guastavino, C. (2012). The effect of whole body vibration on sound localization. Acoustics, April 23-27, Nantes, France, 7 pp.

Frissen, I., Ziat, M., Campion, G., Hayward, V., & Guastavino, C. (2012). The effects of voluntary movements on auditory-haptic and haptic-haptic temporal order judgements. Acta Psychologica, 141, 140-148.

Frissen, I., Vroomen, J., & de Gelder, B. (2012). The aftereffects of ventriloquism: The time course of the visual recalibration of auditory localization. Seeing & Perceiving, 25, 1-14.

Frissen, I., Campos, J.L., Souman, J.L., & Ernst, M.O. (2011). Integration of vestibular andproprioceptive signals for spatial updating. Experimental Brain Research, 212, 163-176.

Bouchara, T., Giordano, B.L., Frissen, I., Katz, B.F.G., & Guastavino, C. (2010). Effect of signal-to-noise ratio and visual context on environmental sound identification. 128th Convention of the Audio Engineering Society, London, UK, May 22-25, 11p.

Feron, F.X., Frissen, I., Boissinot, J., & Guastavino, C. (2010). Upper limits of auditory rotational motion perception. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 128, 3703-3714.

Frissen, I., Katz, B.F.G., & Guastavino, C. (2010). Effect of sound source stimuli on the perception of reverberation in large volumes. In, S. Ystad, M. Aramaki, R. Kronland-Martinet, & K. Jensen (Eds.), Auditory Display, LNCS (pp. 358-376). Springer Verlag.

Souman, J.L., Frissen, I., Sreenivasa, M.N., & Ernst, M.O. (2009). Walking straight into circles. Current Biology, 19, 1538-1542.

Frissen, I., Vroomen, J., de Gelder, B., & Bertelson, P. (2005). The aftereffects of ventriloquism: Generalization across sound-frequencies. Acta Psychologica, 118, 93-100.

Frissen, I., Vroomen, J., de Gelder, B., & Bertelson, P. (2003). The aftereffects of ventriloquism: Are they sound-frequency specific? Acta Psychologica, 113, 315-327.