Mariam Aly

Mariam aly
Acting Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of California, Davis
Research Area: 
Secondary Research Area: 

Joining the Department in July 2024

Research Interests: 
Long-term memory, perception, attention, prediction
  • whatshotResearch Description

    How is perception transformed to memory, and how do we use memory to guide perception and attention? The Aly Lab studies the mechanisms by which attention and perception influence memory for the world around us, and how, once we have formed those memories, we can use them to guide our attention, perception, and goal-directed behavior in the future.

    To address these questions, we rely on multiple methods that together give us a holistic understanding of behavior and the brain. These methods include behavioral studies of healthy young adults, high-resolution functional neuroimaging (fMRI), eye tracking, and studies of patients with brain lesions (e.g., as a result of epilepsy, stroke, or hypoxia).

    These methods have allowed us to answer questions such as: how do memory systems contribute to perception? How are memory systems modulated by attention, and how do they shape what we pay attention to? How do we learn and remember temporal structure in the world, and how does that enable us to generate perceptual predictions about the future?

    Together, our research helps uncover the multifaceted and inherently interactive nature of cognition, bringing us closer to understanding the whole of the mind and brain as well as its parts.

  • placeSelected Publications

    Thieu M, Wilkins L, Aly M. (2024). Episodic-semantic linkage for $1000: New semantic knowledge is more strongly coupled with episodic memory in trivia experts. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. [ pdf ]

    Featured by Scientific American, see here.
    Featured in NPR's Weekend Edition, see here.
    Featured on Science Friday, see here.

    Poskanzer C, Aly M. (2023). Switching between external and internal attention in hippocampal networks. The Journal of Neuroscience, 43, 6538–6552. [ pdf ]

    Jayakumar M, Balusu, C, Aly M. (2023). Attentional fluctuations and the temporal organization of memory. Cognition, 235, 105408. [ pdf ]

    Hirschstein Z, Aly M. (2022). Long-term memory and working memory compete and cooperate to guide attention. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 85, 1517–1549. [ pdf ]

    Lee CS, Aly M, Baldassano C. (2021). Anticipation of temporally structured events in the brain. eLife, 2021;10:e64972. ]

    Günseli E, Aly M. (2020). Preparation for upcoming attentional states in the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex. eLife, 2020;9:e53191. ]  [  eLife digest  ]

    Ruiz NA, Meager MR, Agarwal S, Aly M. (2020). The medial temporal lobe is critical for spatial relational perception. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 32, 1780-1795. ]

  • filter_dramaTeaching

    Fall 2024 – PSYCH 290Q: Seminars: Cognition – Memory Systems in Cognition

    Spring 2025 – PSYCH 128: Topical Seminars in Cognitive Psychology: Memory – Brain to Behavior