Michael Crognale's Profile Photo

Michael Crognale

Psychology Department Chair, Professor


Michael Crognale is a professor in visual neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno.

He received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of California at San Diego, and a doctoral degree in physiological psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He performed postdoctoral work in visual neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley.

Crognale was an assistant research professor with joint appointments at the University of Washington, Seattle and the Seattle Children's Hospital from 1994 to 1998. In 1998, he joined the University of Nevada, Reno faculty.

The research in his laboratory focuses on the physiological basis for visual and other sensory processing and attention. His research spans all levels of sensory processing from the photoreceptors to higher cortical functions such as attention and human factors. His major contributions come in the areas of comparative visual processing, visual development and aging, genetics of color vision, and applications of human electrophysiology to the study of visual function. The efforts from his lab include application of high density EEG, electroretinography (ERG), functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), fMRI and adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) to questions of visual function.

At the University of Nevada, Reno, he teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses. He is a faculty member of the cognitive and brain sciences graduate program.

Crognale is dedicated to public outreach and education in the neurosciences. He serves as president of the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Society for Neurosciences. Crognale also serves on the teaching faculty for the Aerospace Lighting Institute. He has been on the editorial board for Visual Neuroscience and has been an ad hoc reviewer for numerous granting agencies and journals.

His funding sources have included National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, Department  of Transportation and NASA.

Crognale also is the owner and manager of a consulting business that specializes in a wide range of vision research and issues of visibility in legal and aeronautical applications. He has consulted on matters of vision and visibility with regards to aviation accidents, as well as the visibility of unmanned aerial systems (UAS or "drones") for use in civilian airspace (funded by the DOT/FAA). Through his consulting business, he has collaborated on research for the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network (WIDECAST) on the visual pigments and visual capacities of leatherback sea turtles (funded by the national Marines Fisheries Services at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration- NMFS/NOAA). He is a certificated commercial pilot with land and sea ratings and is a certified instrument and ground flight instructor.

Research interests

  • Understanding how the eye and the brain provide for our visual capacities (visual neuroscience)
  • Development of vision
  • Color vision
  • Comparative sensory capacities
  • Effects of physiological stress on visual and other sensory capacities
  • Human factors in the aviation environment


  • Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara, 1989
  • B.S., University of California at San Diego, 1982