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Department of Psychology

Staff

Professor Charles Heywood

Professor in the Department of Psychology
Telephone: 43254 / 40121
Room number: L51 / D103f
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 40447

(email at c.a.heywood@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

My research is chiefly concerned with the perception of visual attributes such as form and motion and surface properties, such as colour and texture, in both neurological patients and normal observers. Using fMRI, we have identified the location of a region specialised for the processing of texture and established its relative independence from brain areas concerned with colour and form. These and other visual properties can be selectively disturbed as a result of brain damage, consistent with the notion of modularity of cortical visual processing. Nevertheless, the selectivity of impairments is far from clear. For example, my early work established that damage to the so-called ‘colour centre’ renders a person phenomenally blind to colour yet, surprisingly, with spared abilities to use wavelength variation to process colour-defined form and motion. More recently, my colleagues and I have extended this work to examine other cortical contributions to the perception of surfaces, including those which account for their constant appearance under changes in illuminant.

A moment of serendipity during the testing of a ‘blindsight’ patient (where he claimed that had he had the opportunity to attend to a location in his blind field, his performance would have improved) led to a number of further studies in normal observers which questioned the then prevailing view of an inextricable link between attention and awareness.

The most frequent consequence of damage to the visual brain is a homonymous field defect. Hemianopia, the loss of a half-field, has debilitating effects on reading and visual exploration. With colleagues from the Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich, we have conducted a number of studies assessing the efficacy of rehabilitative techniques and examined the basis of the disorders by simulating homonymous hemianopia by using eye-movement contingent displays in normal observers.

Indicators of Esteem

  • Member of the Board of Associate Editors of Journal of Neuropsychology:

Research Groups

Research Interests

  • Cortical processes in colour vision
  • Neuroimaging
  • Visual disorders after brain damage

Selected Publications

Edited works: contributions

Journal papers: academic

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Health & welfare services: vision
  • Health & welfare services: visual disorders after brain damage
  • Health & welfare services: research development, Stockton Campus
  • Vision / eye movement: vision
  • Vision / eye movement: visual disorders after brain damage
  • Memory and brain function: research development, Stockton Campus

Supervises