Dr. Shawn P. Gallagher
I received a B.S. in Biology/Vertebrate Physiology with a minor in Psychology from Penn State University. While there, I was fortunate enough to conduct an undergraduate research project on the biology of aging under the supervision of Dr. Robert Mitchell. Later, and quite accidentally, I also had the opportunity to assist cognitive psychologist, Dr. Richard Carlson. I had no idea how complementary these experiences would be until I graduated and spent four years in the field of ophthalmology where I worked with people who struggled with visual problems, often due to age-related diseases. My clinical experiences showed me how much vision depends on the brain as well as the eyes and enhanced my appreciation for how much the fields of biology and psychology overlap. I have since worked on many projects that explored age-related changes in visual perception. I have also conducted research aimed at limiting the perceptual side-effects of eye surgery. Any changes to the eye, even if they result in improved visual acuity, create perceptual shifts to which the brain (and associated human) must adapt.
My experience in ophthalmology sparked a need to explore how the brain used visual information to guide behavior. I entered the behavioral neuroscience program at the University of Delaware and studied under the supervision of Dr. David Northmore. As a graduate student, I studied vision in two species of fishes to understand how they maneuver swiftly in three-dimensions without colliding with objects in the environment. Although fish are interesting in their own right, the ultimate goal is to apply this knowledge to the building of artificial visual systems for people with disabilities or robots that need to explore environments independently.
Since joining the faculty at Millersville University in the Fall of 2003, my teaching responsibilities have included Sensation and Perception, History of Psychology, Statistics, and Cognitive Science. My research interests still follow the perceptual changes caused by eye disease and eye surgery, but I have supervised a wide variety of graduate and undergraduete student research projects on topics ranging from the ability to detect detuned musical notes to the effects of cell phone dialing on driving.
Most of my non-Millersville time is spent with my family. I am also a part-part-time musician on a little mission to convince people that the best music has its roots in either the Ireland of the 1800s or the England of the 1980s. I continue to gather evidence in support of this theory.
Harrington, I.A., Grisham, W., Brasier, D.J., Gallagher, S.P., Gizerian, S.S., Gordon, R.G.,Linden, M., Lom, B., Sandstrom, N.J., Stough, S., Wiest, M. (2015). An Instructor's Guide to (some of) the Most Amazing Papers in Neuroscience. The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education. 6(2): R3-R14.
Gallagher, S. & Cook, S. (2013). The Validity of the Major Field Test in Psychology as a Programme Assessment Tool. Psychology Teaching Review. 19(2):59-72.
Gallagher, S.P., and Hoefling, C. (2013) A Size-Distance Scaling Demonstration based on the Holway-Boring Experiment. Teaching of Psychology. 40(3):212-216.
Sugar J, Montoya M, Dontchev M, Tanner JP, Beck R, Gal R, Gallagher S, Gaster R, Heck E, Holland EJ, Kollman C, Malling J, Mannis MJ, Woody J. (2009). Donor Risk Factors for Graft Failure in the Cornea Donor Study. Cornea. 28 (9):981-5.
The Cornea Donor Study Group. (2008). The effect of donor age on corneal transplantation outcome results of the cornea donor study. Ophthalmology. 115(4):620-626.