Dr. Thomas L. Wilson

Dr. Thomas L. Wilson (email) is an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Bellarmine College of Arts and Sciences and an active experimental psychologist. Dr. Wilson has published and taught for over twenty-five years in the areas of human learning and memory, cognition and consciousness, and the teaching of psychology. For many years Dr. Wilson taught the foundational courses in behavioral science methods for the psychology degree at Bellarmine. More recently he has offered a fascinating hands-on study abroad course in London on the history and philosophy of the conscious mind. Over the years scores of undergraduates and a number of master’s and doctoral students have collected scientific evidence under Dr. Wilson's supervision, including cognitive research of distorted episodic memories, the Mozart effect, unconscious implicit learning, special memory for stories, the problem representations of different computational platforms, and applied studies in real-market risky decision making and the emotional functioning of individuals at risk for coronary heart disease.

In 1986 Wilson received his bachelor's degree in psychology from California State University, Northridge, earning the Delmar C. Nicks Scholar Award under the extraordinary mentorship of Dr. Michele Wittig. He achieved the master's degree in 1988 and earned the doctorate in 1993 in human experimental psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Along with his doctoral work on comparative judgment under the direction of Dr. Edward Shoben, other post-graduate research included experiments on lexical access, story comprehension, and the empirical methods for investigating consciousness. Expertise in these areas produced research that earned Dr. Wilson in 1996 the advancement to associate professor. In 2011 he was awarded Bellarmine’s McGowan Prize, a research fellowship grant to the University of Oxford and Readership at the Bodleian Library, where he conducted historical research into the influences on today’s psychology of the philosophical views of the Scientific Revolution. The experience included examination of the actual letters and notes of Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, and Newton. Since that time Dr. Wilson made use of professional leave to continue the historical work and start new collaborative research in the United Kingdom in cognitive, personality, and educational psychology. Today Wilson’s laboratory focuses on conscious awareness of implicit self-knowledge and the practical implications of introspective conscious access.

Differences in academic and pedagogical practice abroad indicate that academic staff over the globe serve their students and universities in administrative and organizational roles. During his time at Bellarmine Dr. Wilson has contributed to the growing private university in significant ways, including work on the elected Faculty Council for nine years, the steering committee of which for three years, the creation over 20 years ago of the university’s still-running peer-tutoring program, and directing for five years the university’s dual credit academic program with 32 area school partners and over 120 adjunct teaching staff. In addition, anyone on campus who has research requiring ethics board review, or any athlete with a class-time conflict providing advance notice of team-related travel, can thank Dr. Wilson for his leadership in creating these systems for a developing university. Today Dr. Wilson continues teaching first-year students the introductory psychology, and to degree students courses in learning psychology, cognitive psychology, and historical and philosophical foundations, while he produces high-impact research in critical psychology and serves as social sciences liaison to the Office of Study Abroad and International Learning.

Research Experience and Interest Areas

  • The Cognitive Conscious and Unconscious
  • Bias and Distortion in Human Memory  
  • Emotion and Personality Processes
  • Historical, Philosophical, and Theoretical Psychology


Please visit ResearchGate for a complete listing.

Office Location

Pasteur Hall 166

Mailing Address

Psychology Program
Bellarmine University
2000 Newburg Road
Louisville, KY 40205