History of Medicine

Professor Richard Gregory

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Richard Gregory

Professor Richard Gregory was born in London on 24 July 1923 and studied at the University of Cambridge before undertaking research at the Medical Research Council’s Applied Psychology Unit, Cambridge. A turning point in Professor Gregory’s work and ideas came during the investigation of a man who had been blind from birth but whose sight was restored at the age of 52. Studying the development of his perception changed the way in which he came to think of visual perception and its close relationship to touch.

Most of Professor Gregory’s work has focused on visual perception and also on artificial intelligence. In 1967 he founded the Department of Machine Intelligence and Perception at the University of Edinburgh with Professor Donald Michie and Professor Christopher Longuet-Higgins. Gregory’s popular and influential book, Eye and Brain (1966), was the first to explore the psychology of seeing. He is particularly interested in optical illusions and what these reveal about human perceptions and in 1972 founded the journal Perception. In 1978, he established the Exploratory, a hands-on science centre in Bristol and the first of its kind in the UK. He was a founding member of the Experimental Psychology Society and served as its president in 1981-82.

He has been awarded the Waverley Gold Medal for inventing the Solid-Image Microscope (1960), the Hughlings Jackson Gold Medal from the Royal Society of Medicine (1999), and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1992). Professor Gregory is Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of Bristol.

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