On This Day … 16 November

People (Births)

  • 1944 – Oliver Braddick, English psychologist and academic.

Oliver Braddick

Oliver John Braddick, FBA, FMedSci (born 16 November 1944) is a British developmental psychologist who is involved in research on infant visual perception. He frequently collaborates with his wife Janette Atkinson.

Biography

Braddick is Emeritus Professor of Experimental Psychology and was formerly head of the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University from 2001 until his retirement in 2011. He attained a BA (1965) and PhD (1968) in Experimental Psychology at Trinity College, Cambridge. Between 1968-1969 he was a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Lorrin Riggs, Brown University, US. In 1969 he returned to Cambridge as a University Demonstrator, proceeding to become a lecturer and then reader.

By 1976, Braddick was an active member of the Cambridge Visual Development Unit, along with Janette Atkinson, his wife. The unit carried out pioneering research on the development of visual cortical function in infancy and in early visual screening. He also progressed understanding in binocular processes of both infants and adults.

In 1993, Braddick moved to University College London, together with Janette Atkinson, as professors of Psychology. He proceeded to become head of the Psychology department in 1998. He was elected fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2001 and that same year appointed Head Professor of Psychology at the University of Oxford and fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford.

In July 2012, it was announced that he had been elected as a Fellow of the British Academy, due to his contributions in the field of visual perception and its development in early childhood. Braddick is also a member of the Visual Development Unit at the University College of London and University of Oxford, a unit that specialises in child visual perception. He is a member of the Editorial Board for Current Biology.

Research

Braddick specialises in infant vision, particularly visual and visuomotor development of the dorsal and ventral streams in infants and children. In infancy, visual traits determine a manual response and the kinematic parameters of each type of response, including reach-and-grasp and surface exploration. These responses reflect the properties of visuo-motor modules which appear in infants from 4 to 12 months old. Since these modules are part of the dorsal cortical stream, they interact with the ventral stream processing in development and in the mature system.

His current research is on the perceptual development of infants with hyperopia. In addition to working on infant vision, he and his colleagues showed that adults attempting to grab a glowing item in the dark had a longer reach duration, lower average speed, as well as lower peak speed versus the same situation in the light.

According to Braddick, reliable motion perception needs a number of processes that integrate and combine visual motion signals from neighbouring locations within the field of vision. This has the effect of smoothing out spatial variations in velocity.

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