Dave McColgin presents The Neuroscience of Visual Perception

  • 24 Jun 2010
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Univ of WA Electrical Engineering Building - EEB045

Artists and designers learn and intuit many important rules for effective design using color, depth cues, proportion, motion, and more. But why do these rules work? Our understanding of visual perception has begun to provide us explanations for many best practices and suggest more.

Why can’t we tell the difference between blue and black in small areas? Why did it take photography to settle a bet on whether galloping horses ever have all 4 feet off the ground? How can we strengthen a sense of depth in our 2D imagery? Many designers have heard lectures on how perception works, but this talk was created to provide more actionable information. Visual demonstrations will illustrate how perception relates to design, leading to ‘rules of thumb’ for designers. Following the rules should lead to better visual communication, while interesting effects can be achieved when breaking them on purpose.


Dave McColgin studied brain & cognitive science before a degree in HCI at Georgia Tech. He is a researcher and designer at Artefact, a user experience agency in Seattle. He is currently interested in the role of design for behavioral change. At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, he previously designed visual analytics tools and has worked and published on infovis, design for sustainability, award-winning eLearning interactions, and more. Ask him what he thinks of shopping cart conversions.


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