Science · Neuroscience · Technology

Moran Cerf

“From robbing banks to earning a PhD in neuroscience.”
- Impact Theory


He is a Professor of Neuroscience and Business at the Kellogg School of Management and the Neuroscience Program at Northwestern University. He is also a member of the Institute on Complex Systems and visiting faculty at the MIT Media Lab. He holds a doctorate in Neuroscience from Caltech, as well as a bachelor and masters degree in Physics and Philosophy from Tel-Aviv University, accordingly.

His research utilizes methods from neuroscience to understand the underlying mechanisms of our psychology, behavioral changes, emotion, decision-making, and dreams. His work addresses questions, such as: How are conscious precepts formed in our brain?, How can we control our emotions? and which brain mechanisms determine if we find content 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.

Prior to his academic career, Cerf spent nearly a decade holding positions in computer security (as a hacker), software development, innovations research in the pharmaceutical, telecom, and fashion industries.

He currently serves on the advisory board of different medical research and behavioral change companies, and he is also the Director of Research in a neuroscience think tank. He is a consultant to various Hollywood films and TV shows and the Alfred P. Sloan professor at the American Film Institute (AFI), where he teaches an annual screenwriting class on films about science.

Participation in CDI:

  • 2017
  • 2019

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