Dale Purves, M.D.

Geller Professor of Neurobiology
Research Professor in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
Office: B241, LSRC Bldg.; Street Address: 450 Research Drive, Durham, NC 27708
Campus mail: P.O. Box 90999, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: Office: (919) 681-7414; Mobile: (919) 260-4734
Email address: purves@neuro.duke.edu

The Purves Laboratory is continuing to study visual perception and its neurobiological underpinnings. Ongoing investigations include understanding the perception of brightness, color, orientation, motion, and depth. The unifying theme of these several projects is the hypothesis that visual percepts are generated according to a wholly empirical strategy. The strategy represents in perception the empirical significance of the stimulus rather than its properties. This theory of vision and its relation to cortical structure and function is being explored by examining in probabilistic terms the perceptual responses of human subjects, the properties of virtual organisms that evolve in defined visual environments, and the response properties of visual cortical neurons in experimental animals. Current work is focused on the validation of the theory using natural image databases with complete information about luminance, color and range (physical geometry), asking whether the corresponding perceptual phenomenology is accurately predicted by the statistical information in these proxies of human experience. This empirical theory of vision is also being extended to understanding the phenomenology of music, and to audition more generally.

Purves Lab Site

Education and Training

M.D., Harvard Medical School 1964
M.D., Harvard University 1964
A.B., Yale University 1960
B.A., Yale University 1960

Selected Grants and Awards

AAAS Fellows. American Association for the Advancement of Science, The. 2008
Fellows. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 1999
Member. Institute of Medicine of The National Academies. 1996
Members/ Foreign Associates. National Academy of Science. 1989

Department Affiliation

  • Department of Neurobiology