Wilma A. Bainbridge is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. She received her B.A. 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 Ph.D 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.