Dr. Hamer received his B.S. in Biology at CCNY in New York (1971) and his Ph.D. in Sensory Neuroscience at the Institute for Sensory Research in the College of Engineering at Syracuse University (1979). His doctoral work focused on the tactile senses, but his postdoctoral work was a deep-dive into investigations of the visual development of human infants that led to a 35-year career of discovery of the visual capabilities of infants – development of color vision, visual acuity, sensitivity to visual contrast, motion sensitivity and binocular vision. In parallel with infant studies, Dr. Hamer has researched many aspects of visual function in adults, elucidating some fundamental aspects of spatio-temporal processing in our visual experience. Later in his career his research turned to the study of how photoreceptors in the retina convert light energy into a bioelectrical signal that can be transmitted to the brain. For 7 years, Dr. Hamer continued this research and teaching in the Psychology Department at the University of São Paulo, in São Paulo, Brazil.
In addition to Dr. Hamer’s scientific career, he gives lectures on the evolution of modern popular Cuban music and has taught Cuban Salsa dance and a Cuban dance form called Rueda de Casino for more than two decades.
He is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Psychology Department at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. Always an appreciator of art, music and dance, his lectures on Sensation & Perception always began with examples of visual art, especially pieces by the great Belgian Surrealist, Rene Magritte, that are both aesthetically captivating and replete with clues about the processes of perce. Over the past several years, Dr. Hamer has inspired artists and scientists alike with his analyses of Magritte’s works and what secrets they reveal about how the visual brain processes visual scenes, and how it is able to rapidly, unconsciously ‘construct’ robust 3D scenes from 2-dimensional depictions on a canvas. It turns out that the surreal aspects of Magritte’s work provide potent clues about the ‘brain-rules’, the hierarchy of visual processing, governing perceptual scene organization.
Russell D. Hamer, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, FL, USA