David H. Brainard PhD is the RRL Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He received the AB in Physics (Magna Cum Laude) from Harvard University (1982), the MS (Electrical Engineering, 1982) from Stanford University, and the PhD (Psychology, 1989) also from Stanford University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Visual Science at the University of Rochester (1990-1991). His first faculty appointment was in the Department of Psychology at the University of California Santa Barbara (1991-2001). He joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2001. Brainard is a fellow of Optica, ARVO and the Association for Psychological Science, as well as an elected member of the Society of Experimental Psychologists and NAS. He has been recognized by the Macbeth Award from the Inter-Society Color Council, the Stein Innovation Award from Research to Prevent Blindness, and the Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania.

Research Interests

Dr. Brainard's research focuses on human vision, which he studies both experimentally and through computational modeling. One of his primary concerns is with how the visual system estimates object properties from the information available in the light signal incident at the eyes. To study this general problem, he conducts psychophysical experiments to investigate questions such as how object color appearance is related to object surface reflectance under a wide range of illumination conditions, and how color is used to identify objects. Brainard frames the results of these experiments using computational models of visual processing, and is particularly interested in the degree to which normative descriptions of performance can be adapted to account for quantitative measurements. A second line of research in his lab seeks to measure and model fundamental aspects of how early visual processing encodes light signals.

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Primary Section

Section 52: Psychological and Cognitive Sciences