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Professor David Crewther

PhD, CalTech, United States; MSc, University of Melbourne, Australia; BSc(Hons), University of Melbourne, Australia


David started his career as a theoretical physicist, completing his PhD at CalTech under Nobel prize-winner Murray Gell-Mann. His interest in neurophysiology started there under the influence of Prof Jack Pettigrew. David's academic career has been diverse, successively at the National Vision Research Institute in Melbourne, the School of Optometry at the University of NSW in Sydney, the School of Psychological Science at La Trobe University in Melbourne and thence to the Brain Sciences Institute and Swinburne in 2000. His academic interests include neuroscience of normal and abnormal visual development, psychophysics of visual attention, non-linear electrophysiology and functional neuroimaging of cognitive function, as well as neural mechanisms of refractive control. His studies have implications particularly for development in children: dyslexia, amblyopia, autism, myopia and ADHD, as well as understanding of conscious awareness and mind/brain relations. David has published widely with over 170 publications in peer reviewed scientific journals, mainly in the area of vision, visual development, myopia, single cell electrophysiology, evoked potential research, dyslexia, amblyopia, learning disability, and more than 300 refereed conference abstracts. He has an extended record of funding from both the ARC and NHMRC over nearly 30 years as well as other miscellaneous funding. He has recently held ARC DPs (through Swinburne) into the physiological mechanisms of refractive control and into the basic cortical mechanisms of form, colour and motion processing, a NHMRC project grant (through Swinburne) in the cognitive neuroscience of autistic tendency and an ARC DP (through La Trobe U) into cortical mechanisms of reaching and grasponf in time.  David was responsible for the "CogNOSS" plan leading to the acquisition of MEG and MRI technologies at Swinburne.  David currently holds an Adjunct Professorship in Psychological Science at La Trobe University, and an Adjunct Professorship  at the Zhejiang Institute for Integrative Neuroscience and Technology, Zhejian University, Hangzhou, China. He has also been a Visiting Research Professor at the 3rd Military Medical University of Chongqing, China. He served as President of the Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society in 2015 and is currently National Co-Chair of the Asia Pacific Conference on Vision.

Research interests

Brain Sciences; Psychology; Neural mechanisms of attention; Recognition and consciousness; vision and visual imaging; neuroimaging; Myopia mechanisms

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Co-Supervisor.


Available to supervise honours students.

Honours topics and outlines

Brain activation to texture defined objects.: It is thought that texture defined objects evoke competitive processing between dorsal and ventral stream areas during figure/ground segregation. We predict that adding small luminance contrast increments to the foreground/background images will dramatically affect the timing of signals involved in recognition. This will change our understanding of the processes of recognition.

Colour, Motion and Form Individual differences in Autistic tendency – a psychophysical and MEG/EEG study: This question will investigate form and surface colour processing using MEG/EEG , and associated psychophysical tests, with populations low, medium and high in autistic tendency. Due to the fact that MEG recordings will allow source analysis, we will also answer questions of whereabouts the separate processing of form and surface colour occurs in the brain.

Fields of Research

  • Neurosciences - 320900
  • Ophthalmology And Optometry - 321200
  • Applied And Developmental Psychology - 520100
  • Biological Psychology - 520200
  • Clinical And Health Psychology - 520300
  • Cognitive And Computational Psychology - 520400
  • Social And Personality Psychology - 520500

Teaching areas



  • 2006, National, • Australian Academy of Science Travelling Fellowship 2006 (United States, Canada and Mexico division), AAAS
  • 1999, National, • Australian Academy of Science Travelling Fellowship 1999 (United States, Canada and Mexico division), AAAS
  • 1973, International, Aitchison-Myer Travelling Scholarship,, University of Melbourne


Also published as: Crewther, David; Crewther, D.; Crewther, D. P.; Crewther, David P.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2017: A grasp in time: Temporal interactions of dorsal/ventral visual streams *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme
  • 2013: Behavioural Research - Advanced Exploration of the Mind *; ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Scheme
  • 2013: Controlled Trials in ‘At Risk’ Humans to Establish the Cognitive Benefits of a Nutrient Mixture and Underlying Mechanisms of Action  - the Cognitive Aging, Nutrition and Neurogenesis (C.A.N.N.) trial. *; Centre for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory (CNLM) Grand Challenge Grant App 2013
  • 2009: Biomarkers and objective assessment of cognitive and brain effects of fish oil dietary supplementation *; ARC Linkage Projects Scheme
  • 2009: The advantage of being magnocellular: the role of the dorsal visual stream in object identification *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme

* Chief Investigator