Colin Ellard


Colin Ellard is a professor of psychology, specializing in cognitive neuroscience, at the University of Waterloo in Canada. After spending the early part of his career working on basic problems in visual neuroscience related to spatial function in animals, he later turned his attention to exploration of the human relationship with built settings. He is particularly interested in understanding the emotional effects of architectural settings, which he explores in both field settings and in synthetic environments using immersive virtual reality. Ellard’s current projects include exploration of the contribution of peripheral vision to architectural atmosphere, architectural contributions to the emotion of awe, and physiological stress in high-density urban environments.  Ellard received his BSc in psychology and philosophy at the University of Toronto and his doctorate at Western University.

ANFA Themes

Ellard has been an avid supporter of ANFA since the first meeting in 2012, and either he or members of his lab have attended and presented papers at each of the meetings.  Ellard’s work has mostly focused on emotional and cognitive effects of built settings, using both field or laboratory approaches.  Ellard has pursued collaborations with architects in an effort to bridge what can be an acute but fascinating interdisciplinary divide. These collaborations have resulted in some successful, funded research programs and some publications.

Selected Publications

Dzebic, V., Purdue, J.S. & Ellard, C.G. (2013). The influence of visual perception on responses towards real-world environments and application towards design.  Intelligent Buildings International, 5(1), 29-47.

Ellard, Colin (2010).  You Are Here: Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon But Get Lost in the Mall.  New York: Random House Penguin

Ellard, Colin (2015). Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life.  New York: Bellevue Literary Press.