Liverpool Hope Logo
Find Your Course

Understanding the human condition through visual perception

The ways visual perception research helps us understand the “human condition” was explained by Professor Nick Donnelly during his Inaugural Professorial Lecture.

Prof Donnelly revealed how psychological science can also “be applied to the real world” and is “enriched by conversation with other disciplines” during his talk in Liverpool Hope University’s Senate Room.

Drawing on his experience of helping the Army search for hidden explosives in combat zones, and detecting threat in X-Ray baggage checks after the 9/11 terror attacks, he provided an insight into the field of visual cognition.

Professor Donnelly, who took up his post as Head of the Department of Psychology in September 2018, said: “Experiments are really important because when you run good ones, you can see things that really matter and use the knowledge you get to do things that are transformative.”

He showed examples of X-Ray baggage scans and photographs of roads in Afghanistan, where he worked alongside military chiefs to help spot IEDS (improvised explosive devices) which were routinely injuring and killing British troops.

Prof Donnelly also discussed research into the spectatorship of paintings and said: “The Impressionist artists were picking up on things which Psychology picked up on 100 years later."

He also emphasised the importance during his career so far of team-work in and open dialogue with colleagues from other disciplines.

Prior to joining Liverpool Hope Prof Donnelly spent 10 years as Head of the School of Psychology at the University of Southampton.

He has worked in a multidisciplinary way throughout his career with colleagues from the humanities, medicine and engineering.

Published on 04/04/2019