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Russell Jackson

Russell Jackson

Associate Professor


Student Health Center 202



Mailing Address

Department of Psychology & Communication Studies
University of Idaho MS 3043
Moscow, Idaho 83844-3043

Russell Jackson is an assistant professor of psychology. He investigates ways in which navigation and perception may reflect the environments in which humans evolved. Jackson uses physical and virtual reality methods in order to address human factors associated with falling, one of the largest sources of accidental injury and death.

  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Texas, 2007
  • B.A., Psychology, University of Colorado, 2001

Russell Jackson received a bachelor's in psychology minoring in biology from the University of Colorado and a doctorate in psychology focusing on statistics from the University of Texas. He served as an assistant professor at a university in southern California for five years before arriving at the University of Idaho in 2012.

Jackson's research investigates how the environments in which humans evolved may have shaped how we navigate and perceive our environment. His work focuses on human factors applications in the navigation of environmental hazards. He uses virtual reality methods and live outdoor testing in order to determine how perception and navigation adapt to risks such as falling.

  • Human Factors
  • Human Evolution
  • Navigation
  • Visual Perception

  • Jackson, R. E. (2013). Preference for the nearer of otherwise equivalent navigational goals quantifies behavioral motivation and natural selection. PLoS ONE 8(1), 1-4. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.005
  • Jackson, R. E. Cook, T. C., & Seitz, A. (2013). Context is quick, knowledge is slow, rapid time-course of contextual modulations in the horizontal-vertical illusion. Manuscript in revision for publication atPerceptual & Motor Skills.
  • Jackson, R. E. & Willey, C. R. (2013). Evolved navigation theory and the plateau illusion. Manuscript accepted pending minor revision atCognition.
  • Jackson, R. E. Willey, C. R., & Cormack, L. K. (2013). Learning and exposure affect environmental perception less than evolved navigation costs. Manuscript in revision for publication at PLoS One.
  • Willey, C. R. & Jackson, R. E. (2013). Watch your step: Environmental distance perception and visual context. Manuscript under review atJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.
  • Jackson, R. E. & Willey, C. R. (2011). Evolved navigation theory and horizontal visual illusions. Cognition, 119, 288-294. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2010.11.003
  • Amiton, C., Nessler, J., Owen, A., Martin, B., Jackson, R., & Witzke K. A. (2010). Landing strategies may attenuate peak ground reaction forces in a home-based jumping program in premenopausal women.Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42 (5).
  • Jackson, R. E. & Cormack, L. K. (2010). Reducing the presence of navigation risk eliminates strong environmental illusions. Journal of Vision, 10(5): 9, 1-8. doi:10.1167/10.5.9
  • Jackson, R. E. (2009). Individual differences in distance perception.Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276, 1665-1669.
  • Jackson, R. E. & Cormack, L. K. (2008). Evolved navigation theory and the environmental vertical illusion. Evolution and Human Behavior, 29(5), 299-304. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2008.03.001
  • Jackson, R. E. & Cormack, L. K. (2007). Evolved navigation theory and the descent illusion. Perception & Psychophysics, 69(3), 353-362. 
  • Jackson, R. E. & Cormack, L. K. (2006). Previously unknown illusion predicted by evolved navigation theory [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 6(6), 962.
  • Jackson, R. E. (2005). Falling towards a theory of the vertical-horizontal illusion. Studies in Perception and Action, 8, 241-244.

Current research includes a virtual and physical reality investigation of the individual differences in navigation.

  • Psychology Professor of the Year, California State University San Marcos, Sole departmental award, given for student engagement in research and teaching, 2010-2011
  • Psychology Professor of the Year, California State University San Marcos, Sole departmental award, given for student engagement in research and teaching, 2010-2011
  • Human Behavior and Evolution Society Outstanding Post-Doctoral Research Award, Kyoto, Japan, One of only three awards given by HBES and the only one for this career stage, 2008
  • Janet Spence Commendation, University of Texas at Austin, Graduate Teaching, 2007
  • University of Texas Recruitment Fellowship, Top 1% of over 15,000 graduate students, 2002

Psychology & Communication Studies

Physical Address:
206 Student Health Center

Mailing Address:
Psychology & Communications Studies
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3043
Moscow, ID 83844-3043

Phone: 208-885-6324

Fax: 208-885-7710


Web: Psychology and Communication Studies Department