McCallum, Cheyne 1930 - 1991


(1930-1991), psychophysiologist

Cheyne McCallum was born in Gosport in 1930. He was educated in Fareham, before undertaking National Service in the Army Intelligence Corps. After a brief period in the Civil Service, he enrolled as a mature student in psychology at Bristol University, before pursuing a Ph.D. at the Burden Neurological Institute, Bristol, under neurophysiologist William Grey Walter (1910-1977). In 1965, McCallum was offered a research post at the Burden, where he worked for the rest of his life.

McCallum’s research at the Burden focused on slow cortical potentials (slow changes in the electrical activity of the brain, as identified by EEG recordings, in response to external stimuli), particularly the effect of increased mental workload on individuals in charge of complex systems, such as pilots and air traffic controllers. This work also led to his close collaboration with Walter on Contingent Negative Variation (CNV, or ‘expectancy wave’) in the 1960s.

McCallum was married twice and had two children. He died following a short illness on 19 November 1991.