Professional and Biographical Information
Ph.D. Harvard University (2014)
B.A. Tufts University (2007)
My courses cover a variety of topics in cognitive psychology and cognitive/behavioral neuroscience. For example, one course I regularly teach on Consciousness and the Brain focuses on questions such as: How does neural activity gives rise to subjective experience? What is the capacity of visual awareness? Another course I often teach on Brain Sciences of the Future focuses on the current state of neuroscience research with an eye towards predicting how future technologies might be applied in every day life. In addition, I also teach more introductory level courses like Intro to Psychology, Intro to Neuroscience, and Behavioral Neuroscience. Across all of these courses, regardless of if they are introductory courses or more advanced seminars, I examine all the relevant issues across several level analyses with a focus on students synthesizing different types of information to come to their own conclusions. In general, my hope is to develop students' reasoning and critical thinking skills, which I believe are foundational elements of a liberal arts education.
My research focuses on understanding the limits of visual perception, memory, and awareness. I ask questions like: Why is some information perceived and remembered while other information goes unnoticed and is forgotten? What are the cognitive and neural factors that limit the bandwidth of visual cognition? What can be done to overcome these limitations? To answer these questions, I combine behavioral and neuroimaging (fMRI/MEG) methods to directly link different behaviors with the underlying neural architecture. Overall, I have found that the functional organization of the visual system acts as a bottleneck that limits the flow of information across the visual system and constrains the capacity of visual cognition in general. This finding holds across a variety of paradigms, forges a new link between brain and behavior, and suggests a new account of the limits of human cognition.
Cohen, M.A., Dennett, D.C., & Kanwisher, N. (2016) What is the bandwidth of perceptual experience? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 20, 324-335.
Cohen, M.A., Nakayama, K., Konkle, T., Stantic, M., and Alvarez, G.A. (2015) Visual awareness is limited by the representational architecture of the visual system. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 27, 2240-2252.