Jonathan Cohen checks out fMRI scanner.

• Center for the Study of Brain, Mind, and Behavior home page

Most complex device in the known universe. When he was 11 years old, Jonathan Cohen picked up a copy of Life magazine and became engrossed in a story about the exploding pace of neuroscience research. He remembers thinking, "Wow, the great frontier of science is not out there in the stars, it's right here with me in my head."
     Three decades later, brain research is indeed a frontier of science, and Cohen, professor of psychology, is at the center of it. He came to Princeton in 1998 to become director of the new Center for the Study of Brain, Mind, and Behavior. As its weighty name suggests, the center is an ambitious effort to investigate some of the most elusive and quintessentially human aspects of our being.
     The center's goal is to understand the biological parts and processes behind such phenomena as consciousness, moral behavior and logical thought. "There are more synapses in the brain than stars in the galaxy," Cohen notes. "We are studying the most complex device in the known universe."
     For many years, brain research moved along separate tracks. Cognitive psychologists probed behavior and experiences of the mind, while neuroscientists investigated the physical properties of the brain. Now advances in various areas are allowing scientists to bring the two tracks together. The emerging field of cognitive neuroscience aims to reveal the physical processes that give rise to the experiences of the mind.



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