New Faculty 2020

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Headshot of Wilma A. Bainbridge

Wilma A. Bainbridge

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology and the College

Wilma A. Bainbridge’s 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 certain images—photographs and even faces—are remembered by most people, and some are globally forgotten. She uses a combination of psychology experiments, machine learning, online studies, and neuroimaging to understand what makes items intrinsically memorable and how the brain processes these items differently. This research promises to reveal how our brains prioritize information for later memory and give hints on how to boost the memorability of our perceptual environments.

Her work has been published in several journals, including Nature Communications, Nature Human Behaviour, Current Biology, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Bainbridge received her BA in cognitive science from Yale University, studying both visual neuroscience and human-robot interaction. After a yearlong research internship on robotics at the University of Tokyo, she earned her PhD in brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow and a Norman B. Leventhal Presidential Fellow, studying vision and memory. She completed postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Mental Health, where she received a Fellow Award for Research Excellence.

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