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I am thrilled to announce that the Bakkour Memory and Decision Lab has been established in the Department of Psychology at The University of Chicago! I am building my team (Lab Manager position available) and establishing new collaborations; if you are interested in the intersection of memory and decision-making, please get in touch.
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photo of Akram Bakkour

Akram Bakkour, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Psychology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

bakkour [at] uchicago [dot] edu


Grants and Fellowships

The Klarman Family Foundation Eating Disorders Research Grant (co-I, PI: Shohamy, D)
Oct 2017 - Sep 2020
National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate of Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (SPRF, PI)
Jul 2016 - Jun 2018
The McKnight Foundation Memory & Cognitive Disorders Award (co-I, PI: Shohamy, D)
Feb 2016 - Jan 2019
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG)
Sep 2011 - Aug 2014
NSF Graduate Fellowship (GRFP) awarded, but declined
Apr 2011

Professional Service

Ad hoc reviewer

Nature Communications, Neuropsychologia, NeuroImage, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, NeuroImage, Neurobiology of Aging, BMC Neuroscience, Frontiers in Psychology, PLOS One

Abstract reviewer

Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Conference on Cognitive Computational Neuroscience.

Ad hoc grant reviewer

National Defense and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG).

Organizational duties

Columbia University Cognition and Decision pre-seminar, Organizer.

Manhattan Area Memory Meeting 2017, Organizer.

The University of Texas at Austin Institute for Neuroscience 16th annual symposium, Chair.

Commitment to Open Science

Shared data sets

Memory and decision making dataset. OpenNeuro ds002006.


Spacing of cue-approach training.

The role of memory in one-shot cue-approach training.

Basic decision making mechanisms in Anorexia Nervosa.

Changing food preferences in Anorexia Nervosa.



Assistant Professor / Department of Psychology, The University of Chicago
Jul 2020 - Present

The Bakkour Memory and Decision Lab focuses on exploring the cognitive and neural mechanisms by which relational memory supports decision making.

Associate Research Scientist / Department of Psychology and Zuckerman Institute, Columbia University
Jan 2020 - Jun 2020

Conducting research on the contributions of memory to value-based decision making in health and disease as well as basic decision making mechanisms in psychiatric disorders.

Advisors: Daphna Shohamy, PhD & Michael Shadlen, MD, PhD.

Postdoctoral Research Scientist / Department of Psychology and Zuckerman Institute, Columbia University
Jan 2015 - Dec 2019

Conducted research on the contributions of episodic memory to value-based decision making.

Advisors: Daphna Shohamy, PhD & Michael Shadlen, MD, PhD.

Study Coordinator / Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital
Jun 2006 - Jul 2009

Conducted research on the effects of neurodegenerative disease on cerebral cortex.

Advisor: Bradford Dickerson, MD.

Ittleson Fellow Undergraduate Research Assistant / Department of Neuroscience, Brown University
Jun 2005 - May 2006

Conducted research on the accuracy of automated algorithms that segment white and grey matter from MRI images.

Advisor: David Ress, PhD.


The University of Texas at Austin
Jun 2010 - Dec 2014

PhD in Neuroscience.

Advisor: Russell Poldrack, PhD.

The University of California, Los Angeles
Sep 2009 - May 2010

Entered Psychology PhD program. Completed 1st year.

Advisor: Russell Poldrack, PhD.

Brown University
Sep 2002 - May 2006

Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience


Biderman N, Bakkour A, Shohamy D. What are memories for? The Hippocampus bridges past experience with future decisions. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 2020; 24(7):542-556.

Bakkour A, Palombo DJ, Zylberberg A, Kang YHR, Verfaellie M, Shadlen MN, Shohamy D. The hippocampus supports deliberation during value based decisions. eLife. 2019; 8:e46080.

Bakkour A, Botvinik N, Cohen N, Hover AM, Poldrack RA, Schonberg T. Spacing of cue-approach training leads to better maintenance of behavioral change. PLoS ONE. 2018; 13(7):e0201580.

Bakkour A, Lewis-Peacock JA, Poldrack RA, Schonberg T. Neural mechanisms of cue-approach training. NeuroImage. 2017; 151:92-104.

Bakkour A, Lewis-Peacock JA, Poldrack RA, Schonberg T. Neural mechanisms of cue-approach training. NeuroImage. 2017; 151:92-104.

Bakkour A, Leuker C, Hover AM, Giles NR, Poldrack RA, Schonberg T. Mechanisms of choice behavior shift using cue-approach training. Frontiers in Psychology. 2016; 7:421.

Bakkour A, Morris JC, Wolk DA, Dickerson BC. The effects of aging and Alzheimer’s disease on cerebral cortical anatomy: Specificity and differential relationships with cognition. NeuroImage. 2013; 76:332-344.

Bakkour A, Morris JC, Dickerson BC. The cortical signature of prodromal AD: Regional thinning predicts mild AD dementia. Neurology. 2009; 72(12):1048-1055.

Schonberg T*, Bakkour A*, Hover AM, Mumford JA, Nagar L, Perez J, Poldrack RA. Changing value through cued approach: an automatic mechanism of behavior change. Nature Neuroscience. 2014; 17(4):625-630.

* authors contributed equally to this work

Schonberg T*, Bakkour A*, Hover AM, Mumford JA, Poldrack RA. Influencing food choices by training: Evidence for modulation of frontoparietal control signals. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2014; 26(2):247-268.

* authors contributed equally to this work

Dickerson BC, Bakkour A, Salat DH, Feczko E, Pacheco J, Greve DN, Grodstein F, Wright CI, Blacker D, Rosas HD, Sperling RA, Atri A, Growdon JH, Hyman BT, Morris JC, Fischl B, Buckner RL. The cortical signature of Alzheimer's disease: Regionally-specific cortical thinning relates to symptom severity in very mild to mild AD dementia and is detectable in asymptomatic amyloid-positive individuals. Cerebral Cortex. 2009; 19(3):497-510.

Van Leemput K, Bakkour A, Benner T, Wiggins G, Wald LL, Augustinack J, Dickerson BC, Golland P, Fischl B. Automated segmentation of hippocampal subfields from ultra-high resolution in vivo MRI. Hippocampus. 2009; 19(6):549-557.

Wang L, Negreira A, LaViolette P, Bakkour A, Sperling, RA, Dickerson BC. Intrinsic interhemispheric hippocampal functional connectivity predicts individual differences in memory performance ability. Hippocampus. 2010; 20(3):345-351.

Wonderlick JS, Ziegler DA, Hosseini-Varnamkhasti P, Bakkour A, van der Kouwe A, Triantafyllou C, Corkin S, Dickerson BC. 2009. Reliability of MRI-derived cortical and subcortical morphometric measures: Effects of pulse sequence, voxel geometry, and parallel imaging. Neuroimage. 2009; 44(4):1324-1333.

Wang L, LaViolette P, O'Keefe K, Putcha D, Bakkour A, Van Dijk KRA, Pihlajamäki M, Dickerson BC, Sperling RA. Intrinsic connectivity between the hippocampus and posteromedial cortex predicts memory performance in cognitively intact older individuals. Neuroimage. 2010; 51(2):910-917.

Worthy W, Davis T, Gorlick MA, Cooper JA, Bakkour A, Mumford J, Poldrack RA, Maddox WT. Neural correlates of state-based decision-making in younger and older adults. Neuroimage. 2016; 130:13-23.