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Fellows Directory

David Milner

Professor David Milner FRS


Elected: 2011


David Milner is a neuropsychologist and behavioural neuroscientist noted for devising a theory of the visual pathways that overturned established views. His research has resulted in a new understanding of how the human brain deals with visual information.

His research combines behavioural studies of brain-damaged patients with neuroimaging and animal studies. He and his colleagues were the first to ascribe different functions for the two main visual pathways on the basis of their outputs. One system deals with perception and recognition and is linked to memory systems, whilst the other provides real-time guidance for our actions, such as reaching out to grasp an object, and is linked to motor systems.

David Milner’s work offers insights into how the brain processes visual information differently for different purposes, and provides an improved understanding of how brain-damaged patients can present different patterns of visual impairment. His theories are encapsulated in his books The Visual Brain in Action (second edition, 2006) and Sight Unseen (second edition, 2013).

Professional positions

Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Durham University
Honorary Professor, University of Edinburgh

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Cognitive neuroscience, Neuropsychology, Visual attention, Visual perception, Visuomotor control