Faculty Profile: Walter Beagley
Walter Beagley’s interest in visual illusions led him to create Eye Lines, a computer program to test different illusions—now used at 104 schools in 13 countries.
“Seeing is so automated that it doesn’t seem complex, but it probably uses more of the brain’s processing power than any other function,” the psychology professor says. “If illusions can fool the eye, they can also show us how the eye normally works.”
Beagley completed his undergraduate degree at Middlebury College, where he met his wife and colleague, Gwyneth, during the first week of their freshman year.
After completing his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania in 1973, Beagley taught at Emory University before coming to Alma College in 1976.
He came to Alma because he wanted to teach at a small college and raise his children in a small community.
“I was attracted to Alma because it had ambition,” he says. “It’s been exciting to see the college move up.”
His interesting colleagues and students are his favorite part about the college. He appreciates the opportunity to know colleagues in other departments and to work with students in small groups.
Beagley has three grown children and enjoys kayaking, photography, and travel in his spare time.
He has served as president of the Society for Computers in Psychology. His research in brain function and visual perception has been published in journals such as Perception & Psychophysics and Science.