Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology; Affiliated Faculty, Masters in Computational Social Science Program

Beecher Hall, Room 303
(773) 702-3189

Wilma A. Bainbridge joined the University of Chicago faculty in January 2020 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. She received her BA in Cognitive Science from Yale University, studying both visual neuroscience and human-robot interaction. After a year-long research internship on robotics at the University of Tokyo, she completed her PhD in Brain & Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying vision and memory. She then completed postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Mental Health before coming to the University of Chicago.

Her research focuses on the cognitive neuroscience of perception and memory, looking at how certain items are intrinsically more memorable than others, and how the brain is sensitive to this information. She finds that there are certain images—photographs and even faces—that are remembered by most people, and some that are globally forgotten. She uses behavioral experiments, computer vision, machine learning, online studies, and functional MRI to understand what makes an item intrinsically memorable, and how the brain processes these items differently. She also explores the visual content of memories, using drawings and functional MRI to decode memory content.


·      The intrinsic memorability of images

·      Multi-modal approaches to memorability / memory

·      Intersection of perception and memory

·      The visual content of long-term memories

·      Neuroscience of memory

·      Computational techniques: machine learning, computer vision, deep neural networks

Visit the Memory and Perceptual Cognition Lab (Bainbridge "Brain Bridge" Lab) website