David O. RobbinsDavid Robinson

Homer C. Lucas University Professor of Psychology


B.A., Lycoming College
M.A., Ph.D., University of Delaware
Postdoctoral Fellowship, The Eye Research Foundation of Bethesda, Maryland



David Robbins has been a member of the Department since 1973, and his area of specialty is Neuroscience. Robbins has served as the Department’s chair, co-founder and Director of the University’s Neuroscience Program, Director of the Summer Science Research Program, Provost, and Interim President of the University. His primary research interests include the examination of neural encoding within the visual system, and he has examined the impact that intense laser light has on retinal morphology and function. He is also interested in the neural encoding of the human face and our ability to recognize different faces. The courses he teaches include: Introduction to Psychology, Physiological Psychology, Laboratory in Physiological Psychology, Maturity and Age, Sensation and Perception, and Topics in Neuroscience.

When he’s not on campus, Robbins can be found biking at the Jersey shore or on his garden tractor at his home here in Ohio. He enjoys cooking, although he leaves the barbequing to others in his family. His favorite recipes include soups, especially cold ones, and anything one can make with shrimp or scallops. 

A Note from Dr. Robbins

There are two main lines to my research program: 1) I’m interested in how visual information is encoded at various sites within the nervous system. Using a reptilian model, I have isolated single neurons within the central nervous system to determine how light parameters such as intensity, color, shape, and movement are represented in the pattern of elicited neural impulses. 2) for over 30 years, I received federal support from the Department of Defense to study the adverse effects that intense laser light has on the retinal physiology, receptive organization, and visual function in a non-human primate system. Working with researchers elsewhere, I have helped establish safety standards for the use of lasers and predict the type of visual loss that a task-oriented observer might experience from accidental laser exposure. In addition, working with students, I have supported projects that have included recording electrical patterns of brain activity during different states of arousal (EEG) and sensory stimulation (evoked potentials).

Winner of the 1980 Sherwood Dodge Shankland Award for Encouragement of Teachers and the 1994 Bishop Herbert Welch Meritorious Teaching Award

Contact Info


Phillips Hall #52
Ohio Wesleyan University
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3801
E dorobbin@owu.edu