Dennis R. Proffitt

Professor Emeritus

117 Gilmer Hall

By Appointment Only

Dennis R. Proffitt
Research Areas:

My lab studies how people perceive and reason about space.  Studies include investigations of how our bodies and abilities influence spatial perceptions.  For example, physically fit people see hills as appearing less steep than do unfit people and baseball players see the ball as appearing larger when they are hitting well.  Our research is conducted in outdoor, natural environments, controlled laboratory settings, and virtual reality.

  • Proffitt, D.R. (2006). Embodied perception and the economy of action.  Perspectives in Psychological Science, 1, 110-122.
  • Schnall, S., Zadra, J.R. & Proffitt D.R. (2010).  Direct Evidence for the Economy of Action: Glucose and the Perception of Geographical Slant. Perception, 39, 464-482.
  • Witt, J.K., Linkenauger, S.A., & Proffitt, D.R. (2012). Get me out of this slump! Visual illusions influence sports performance. Psychological Science, 23, 397-399.


  • Member: Univeristy of Virginia Academy of Teaching, 2011
  • Fellow: Society of Experimantal Psychologist, 2010
  • Fellow: Association of Psycholocal Science, 1997
  • Leland S. Kolmorgen Spirit of Innovation Award, Human Factors and Ergonomics Societies, Augmented Cognition Technical Groups(joint wiht Randy Pausch), 2008
  • Cavalier Distiushed Teaching Professor. 1999-2002
  • University Day Honoree, University of Virginia Athletic Department, 1998
  • Univeristy of VIrginia Outstanding Teacher Award, 1996-1997
  • James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Award 1988-1989