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Faculty Profiles

Raymond Phinney, Ph.D.

Chair of Undergraduate Psychology, Associate Professor of Psychology

On Faculty since 2004
630.752.5159
BGC M213


I am interested in a variety of issues concerning visual perception: for example, how humans process motion and depth information and how they use this information to interact with the world, how visual attention deficits may contribute to dyslexia, and how visual science and visual art (especially painting and movie-making) have informed and affected one another. I also love music. I learned saxophone in school and taught myself guitar/bass. I've been playing guitar/bass now for almost twenty years. I also program drums and keyboards and do multitrack recording at home. I'm the bassist for the worship team at my church, FaithBridge Church, and folk group Five In A Box.

Washington State University
Ph.D., Psychology, 1995

Washington State University
M.S., Psychology, 1991

Puget Sound University
B.A., Psychology, 1987

  • Motion Perception
  • Dyslexia
  • Visual Perception
  • Visual Arts
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Vision Sciences Society
  • Association for Psychological Science

Phinney, R. E., Green, J., Lee, S., & Hughes, T., Differences in illusory line motion strength reflect visual field asymmetries.
Poster presented at the Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington, D.C.

Monism: Complementary Biblical and Scientific Understanding of the Self
Keynote talk presented to the Christian Neuroscience Society Satellite Event, Society for Neuroscience

Green, J., Lee, S., Miller, I., & Phinney, R., Illusory line motion reveals anisotropies in spatial attention.
Poster presented at the Wheaton College Summer Research Symposium, Wheaton, IL

Phinney Jr., R.E., Miller, I., Lee, S. & Gordon, J., Anisotropies in illusory line motion
Poster presented at the Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago, IL

Mind over homework matters: How research on learning can maximize your student’s effectiveness
Address to Covenant Classical School parents, children, and board of directors, Naperville, IL

Riggs, S. & Phinney, R. E., Effects of mask duration on cyclopean metacontrast masking
Poster presented at the Wheaton College Summer Research Symposium, Wheaton, IL

Phinney, R. E. & Homolka, S. J. | Type-B, u-shaped cyclopean masking function at mask-to-target energy ratio of 1
Poster presented at the Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago, IL

Nichols, K. R. & Phinney, R. E. | Illusory Line motion is not an isotropic effect of cue distance
Poster presented at the Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago, IL

The use of victim’s recovered memory in establishing allegations of childhood sexual abuse in missions
“Sex and Missions” track, Missiology Conference, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Learning
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Sport Psychology
  • Cognition
  • Visual Science and Visual Art
  • Theories and Methods of Integration
  • Cognition and Emotion

I am generally interested in how humans process motion and depth information and how they use this information to interact with the world. I am currently finishing some human neuroimaging studies that investigate what cortical areas are involved with complex visual motion processing. Two broad areas of research in my lab now involve visual masking and illusory line-motion. In visual masking, a visual stimulus that is clearly perceived when presented alone is less perceivable (or even unperceivable) when a second stimulus is presented nearby in time or space (but not overlapping). In illusory line-motion, a line which is drawn all at once is perceived to be incrementally drawn from whichever side was nearest to an attentional cue presented just before the line. Understanding these phenomena can better help us understand the role of attention in visual perception.

Relating body and soul: Insights from development and neurobiology, Perspective on Science and the Christian Faith
Scott, R. & Phinney Jr., R. E. 2012
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Effects of mask-to-target energy ratio on cyclopean metacontrast masking, Journal of Vision
Zinszer, B., & Phinney, R., 2009
In metacontrast masking, perception of a brief stimulus (the target) is reduced or eliminated under some conditions by a second, non-overlapping brief stimulus (the mask). In Type-A masking, target visibility is low when mask and target onset simultaneously (stimulus onset asynchrony [SOA] is 0) and improves as SOA increases. Type-B masking is a u-shaped function of SOA. Target visibility is poor at intermediate SOAs (50–150 ms) but good at shorter and longer SOAs...
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Auditory and visual attention-based apparent motion share functional parallels, Perception & Psychophysics
Huddleston, W.E., Lewis, J.W., Phinney, R.E. et al., 2008
A perception of coherent motion can be obtained in an otherwise ambiguous or illusory visual display by directing one's attention to a feature and tracking it. We demonstrate an analogous auditory effect in two separate sets of experiments. The temporal dynamics associated with the attention-dependent auditory motion closely matched those previously reported for attention-based visual motion...
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Lefties get it "right" when hearing tool sounds, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Lewis, J. W., Phinney R. E., Brefczynski ,J. A., DeYoe, E. A., 2006
Our ability to manipulate and understand the use of a wide range of tools is a feature that sets humans apart from other animals. In right-handers, we previously reported that hearing hand-manipulated tool sounds preferentially activates a left hemisphere network of motor-related brain regions hypothesized to be related to handedness. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we compared cortical activation in strongly right-handed versus left-handed listeners categorizing tool sounds relative to animal vocalizations...
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Human brain regions involved in recognizing environmental sounds, Cerebral Cortex 14(9), 1008-1021
Lewis, J. W, Wightman, F., Brefczynski, J. A., Phinney, R. E., Binder, J. R., DeYoe, E. A. 2004

Dr. Phinney’s research interests are generally in how humans process motion and depth information and how they use this information to interact with the world. Two broad areas of research in his lab now involve visual masking and illusory line-motion. In visual masking, a visual stimulus that is clearly perceived when presented alone is less perceivable (or even unperceivable) when a second stimulus is presented nearby in time or space (but not overlapping). The first stimulus disappears or is degraded due to the presence of the second stimulus which overlaps neither in time nor space. In illusory line-motion, a line – which is drawn all at once – is perceived to be incrementally drawn from whichever side was nearest to a preceding attentional cue. It seems the presence of the cue causes visual processing near it to be quicker and more thorough. Thus the end of the line near the cue is completely processed sooner than the other end and it therefore appear to have grown from the cue end to the other end.