BSc (Hons) (UWA); PhD (Cambridge); FASSA


David Burr is a leading Australian psychologist who studies human perception. He graduated in psychology from the University of Western Australia in 1975 with 1st class honours, and received a PhD in Psychology and Physiology from Cambridge University in 1979. After a post-doc in Pisa he returned to Perth as a Research Fellow, before accepting a chair in Psychology at Rome University in 1991 (aged 39). He transferred to Florence six years later, and currently divides his time between Italy and Australia, at the Schools of Psychology of the Universities of WA and Sydney.

He has made major contributions to our understanding of many perceptual processes, strongly influencing the field. In particular he is well known for pioneering work on visual motion perception, perceptual stability in the face of eye-movements, and development. Much of this work was done at the University of Western Australia, together with his scientific mentor, John Ross.

More recently his work has extended to understanding the perception of number, and how information from different senses is combined together and integrated with perceptual expectations to increase efficiency of information processing. Burr’s research is multi-disciplinary, using psychophysical, physiological, and neuro-computational techniques.

The main focus of his research has always been to address fundamental questions of basic visual science. However, his work has also extended to make important theoretical and empirical contributions to our understanding of perception in autism and other clinical disorders.

University of Florence, University of Sydney

Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

  1. Burr, D. & Ross, J. 2008 A visual sense of number. Current Biology 18, 425-8.
  2. Burr, D.C., and Morrone, M.C. (2011) Spatiotopic coding and remapping in humans. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 366, 504-515.
  3. Pellicano, E. & Burr, D.C. (2012) When the world becomes ‘too real’: a Bayesian explanation of autistic perception. Trends in cognitive sciences 16 (10), 504-510.
  4. Cicchini, G. M., Anobile, G. & Burr, D. C. (2014). Compressive mapping of number to space reflects dynamic encoding mechanisms, not static logarithmic transform, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 21 (111), 7867-7872.
  5. Cicchini, G. M., Anobile, G., & Burr, D. C. (2016). Spontaneous perception of numerosity in humans. Nat Commun, 7. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12536.