Dr. Nicole Rust



How we remember what we have seen


Humans and other primates have a remarkable ability to remember the images that they have seen, even after seeing thousands, each only once and only for a few seconds. In this talk, I will describe recent work from our group focused on the mechanisms that support visual familiarity memory in the primate brain. In the first part of the talk, I will describe the correlates of the natural variation with which some images are inherently more memorable than others, both the brain as well as deep neural networks trained to categorize objects.  In the second part of the talk, I will focus on how information about visual familiarity is signaled and then decoded to produce visual familiarity behavior.

Brief Bio

Nicole Rust, PhD, is the director of the Visual Memory Lab, as well as an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, she also serves as Co-Director of the Computational Neuroscience Initiative, and Executive Director of Research for MindCORE.
Nicole has received a number of awards for both research and teaching, including the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences. She is also the recipient of a McKnight Scholar award, an NSF CAREER award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and the Charles Ludwig Distinguished teaching award. 
Nicole received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Idaho in 1997. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from New York University in 2004 under the mentorship of Tony Movshon and Eero Simoncelli. She trained as a postdoc at MIT under the mentorship of Jim DiCarlo. Nicole joined the faculty at Penn in 2009, along with her partner Alan Stocker.