David Whitney, PhD

Professor of Psychology


Psychology, Cognitive Science, Neuroscience

Research Areas

We are interested in a variety of topics in perception including visual and visuomotor localization, motion perception, object recognition, perceptual and motor crowding, and visual impairments. We use a variety of techniques including psychophysics, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Cluttered scenes, crowding, and ensemble perception
We live in a cluttered world. How do we localize, individuate, and perceive faces, objects, and motion in cluttered scenes? When objects are in crowds, do we perceive those crowds as a texture? Why do we perceive crowds as an ensemble or summary statistic?

Perceptual Localization
Visual and auditory localization of static and moving objects is one of the brain’s most important functions. How do we perceive the positions of visual and auditory objects? How does the brain overcome its own sluggish processing so that we can interact with fast moving objects? How does clutter in natural scenes interfere with our ability to localize objects? Learn more about the work we do on these and related questions by visiting my lab’s website below.

Visuomotor Control
Humans interact with objects in cluttered and constantly moving environments. The visual world is filled with objects, and these scenes move across our retina with every eye movement. How does the visuomotor system control reaching and eye movements in such crowded and dynamic scenes? Does the motor system have a way of compensating for the crowding that occurs in natural scenes? How does the visuomotor system compensate for the fact that we are constantly moving our eyes, head, and bodies? Find out more about visually guided action by visiting my lab’s website below.




2121 Berkeley Way
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-1650