G. Elliott Wimmer
Learning Memory and Decision Lab
Medical Research Council Fellow
Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry & Ageing Research
Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging
University College London
10-12 Russell Square, London
e.wimmer (at) ucl.ac.uk
The Learning Memory and Decision group studies the cognitive and neural systems underlying learning, memory, and decision-making. Inspired by our rich experience as we move through the world, we strive to develop experiments that can illuminate core functions, with an aim toward informing the study of dysfunctions in psychiatric disorders.
How do our experiences influence our later choices? Learning and memory encompasses the mechanisms that allow us to associate a particular food with a positive outcome, which can be composed of single episodes, and perhaps eventually building robust and inflexible 'habit'-like associations. These stored memories can then guide, implicitly or explicitly, our future decisions.
2023: We are open to new PhD applications from students who have been awarded funding via doctoral training programs and scholarships.
Feb 2023: In a paper published in PNAS, we report separate neural replay signals related to pre-choice planning, and post-feedback memory preservation.
Sept 2021: How we learn and remember when learning events are spread out in time - for example, how we learn to prefer certain foods over others? With Prof. Russ Poldrack at Stanford, we report in Memory & Cognition that there are sharp differences between spaced learning and typical time-compressed learning events.
Aug 2021: Frequently, our choices are influenced by just one or two past episodes. With Prof. Christian Büchel in Hamburg, we report in the Journal of Neuroscience that single aversive experiences are automatically reactivated in the hippocampus, which relates to successful decision-making.
June 2020: With Yunzhe Liu at the Max Planck UCL Centre, we have a recent paper connecting replay (sequenceness) to behavior in humans (Nature Neuroscience). We find the successful memory decisions are associated with rapid compressed replay of original experiences.
Wimmer, G.E., Liu, Y., McNamee, D.C., Dolan, R.J. (2023). Distinct replay signatures for prospective decision-making and memory preservation. PNAS.
Wimmer, G.E., Poldrack, R.A. (2021). Reward learning and working memory: effects of massed versus spaced training and post-learning delay period. Memory & Cognition.
Wimmer, G.E., Büchel, C. (2021). Reactivation of single-episode pain patterns in the hippocampus and decision making. Journal of Neuroscience, 41(37): 7894-7908.
Wimmer, G.E., Liu, Y., Vehar, N., Behrens, T.E.J., Dolan, R.J. (2020). Episodic memory retrieval success is associated with rapid replay of episode content. Nature Neuroscience, 23: 1025-1033.
Wimmer, G.E., Büchel, C. (2019). Learning of distant state predictions by the orbitofrontal cortex in humans. Nature Communications, 10:2554.
Braun, E.K., Wimmer, G.E., Shohamy, D. (2018). Retroactive and graded enhancement of memory by reward. Nature Communications, 9:4886.
Wimmer, G.E., Li, J.K., Gorgolewski, K.J., Poldrack, R.A. (2018). Reward learning over weeks versus minutes increases the neural representation of value in the human brain. Journal of Neuroscience, 38(35): 7649-7666.
Wimmer, G.E., Büchel, C. (2016). Reactivation of reward-related patterns from single past episodes supports memory-based decision making. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(10): 2868-2880.
Shared data and resources
Positions and Education
Senior Research Fellow & Principal Investigator, 2021 to present
Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing, University College London
Post-doctoral researcher, 2017-21, UCL
Post-doctoral researcher, 2016-2017, Department of Psychology, Stanford University
Post-doctoral researcher, 2013-2015, Department of Systems Neuroscience, University Medical Center Hamburg- Eppendorf
Ph.D., 2012, Psychology, Columbia University
B.A., 2005, Cognitive Science, University of California, Berkeley