Professor David Milner FRS

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 position

  • Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Durham University
  • Honorary Professor, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh

Subject groups

  • Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences

    Experimental psychology, Behavioural neuroscience

Professor David Milner FRS
Elected 2011