Researcher Profile

Robert Whitwell

Robert Whitwell

Research Associate



Contact Information:
Western Interdisciplinary Research Building

Research Areas


Dr. Whitwell did his PhD work with Mel Goodale at Western University, after which he studied with Jim Enns at UBC where he was an NSERC-funded postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Whitwell studies human limb and eye movements engaged in goal-directed reaching and grasping. This helps him test models of how attention, memory, and action-oriented systems use visual and haptic inputs to mediate adaptive behaviour. His interests also include modeling of grasp point selection based on geometric descriptions of object shape; using motion tracking techniques to detect and classify cognitive bias in limb and body movements made when gambling and playing games of chance; the neuropsychology of perception, action, and attention; and the functional and anatomical architecture of the primate brain, in particular, the neural pathways that serve perception, action, attention, and their interactions. Dr. Whitwell's experimental work has involved motion tracking, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and functional-MRI, and his recent theoretical work was focused, in part, on what he and his coauthors call scale attention, or attention to the visual structures of scenes and objects at different scales, and why the posterior vertical pathways that interconnect separate ventral perceptual and dorsal action pathways, make good candidates to carry scale attention signals between ventral perceptual centres and dorsal action based ones.