William Warren

Chancellor's Professor
Room 257


William Warren earned his undergraduate degree at Hampshire College (1976), his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Connecticut (1982), did post-doctoral work at the University of Edinburgh, and has been a professor at Brown ever since. He served as Chair of the Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences from 2002-10. Warren is the recipient of a Fulbright Research Fellowship, an NIH Research Career Development Award, and Brown's Elizabeth Leduc Teaching Award for Excellence in the Life Sciences. Warren’s research focuses on the visual control of action – in particular, human locomotion and navigation. He seeks to explain how this behavior is adaptively regulated by multi-sensory information, within a dynamical systems framework. Using virtual reality techniques, his research team investigates problems such as the visual control of steering, obstacle avoidance, wayfinding, pedestrian interactions, and the collective behavior of crowds. Experiments in the Virtual Environment Navigation Lab (VENLab) enable his group to manipulate what participants see as they walk through a virtual landscape, and to measure and model their behavior. The aim of this research is to understand how adaptive behavior emerges from the dynamic interaction between an organism and its environment. He believes the answers will not be found only in the brain, but will strongly depend on the physical and informational regularities that the brain exploits. This work contributes to basic knowledge that is needed to understand visual-motor disorders in humans, and to develop mobile robots that can operate in novel environments.



  • CLPS1500 Perception and Action
  • CLPS2001 Core Concepts in Cognitive and Psychological Sciences

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