Statement of Purpose

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Date Submitted: 02/02/2013 01:02 AM

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My immediate objective is to earn a Ph.D. in a department related to my field of interest: computational cognitive neuroscience. I plan to then pursue a professorship, which will facilitate my long-term research goals. These goals prerequire the accumulation of much interdisciplinary knowledge, a process in which I am eager to participate.

I want to model the mind. This interest comes from several directions. One is my fascination with complex systems in general, of which the human brain is a preeminent example. Another is the nature of the subjective experience of having a mind. To me this seems to raise the most important and, in some sense, fundamental questions that science can explore. Yet another reason to study the mind is to improve it. The more we understand cognition at every level, the more we will be able not only to repair malfunctioning brains but also to enhance the functioning of normal brains.

Particularly of interest to me are learning, perception, and attention. I hope to integrate existing models of these features of cognition into a more general, brain-plausible model that predicts experimental data for relatively complex tasks.

I have experience programming the types of functions and data structures used in computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence, including neural networks, evolutionary algorithms, video and audio signal processing. Complementary to my programming proficiency, my mathematics background includes a core of algebra, analysis, and statistics. It was only within the last year that I decided to enter a graduate program in neuroscience; thus, my undergraduate curriculum has been computer science- and math-heavy with less emphasis on biology and psychology. However, I am taking a graduate-level psychology course in perception next semester (2003 Spring) to begin shoring up my neuroscience-related background.

My current research includes:

• Modeling semantic and cue priming effects with a Masson-style...