Brain hacker, PhD Neuroscience
Moran Cerf is a professor of neuroscience and business at the Kellogg School of Management and the neuroscience program at Northwestern university. He studies patients undergoing brain-surgery to examine behavior, emotion, decision making and dreams. This is done by directly recording the activity of individual nerve cells using electrodes implanted in the patient’s brain for clinical purposes. Dr. Cerf is a also a member of the institute on complex systems.
Dr. Cerf holds a Ph.D in neuroscience from Caltech, as well as an MA in Philosophy and a B.Sc in Physics from Tel-Aviv University.
His research uses methods from neuroscience to understand the underlying mechanisms of our psychology. His works address questions such as: “How are conscious percepts formed in our brain?”, “How can we control our emotions?” and “Which brain mechanisms determine if we find content interesting and engaging?”. Recently, his focus has been on the neural mechanisms that underlie decision-making, thereby offering a new perspective on predicting future choices and investigating how much free will we have in our decisions.
Dr. Cerf holds multiple patents and his works have been published in wide-circulation academic journals such as Nature, as well as popular science journals such as Scientific American Mind, Wired, New Scientist and more. Additionally, his work has been portrayed in numerous media and cultural outlets such as CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, NPR, Time, MSNBC, and dozens of others. He has been featured in venues such as the Venice Art Biennial and China’s Art, Science and Technolgoy association, and has contributed to magazines such as Forbes, The Atlantic, Inc., and others.
He has made much of his research accessible to the general public via his public talks at TED, PopTech, Google Zeitgeist, DLD and other venues, gathering millions of views and a large following.
He was the beneficiary of several awards and grants for his work, including the Instructional improvement grant, and the prestigious president scholarship for excellent Ph.D. He was recently named one of the “40 leading professors below 40”.
Prior to his academic career, Dr. Cerf spent nearly a decade in industry, holding positions in computers security (as a hacker), pharmaceutical, telecom, Fashion, software development, and innovations development.
Additionally, Dr. Cerf is the Alfred P. Sloan professor at the American Film Institute (AFI), where he teaches an annual screenwriting class on science in films, and is a consultant to various Hollywood films and TV shows. He is left handed.