Moran Cerf
Moran Cerf

Assistant Professor of Marketing

Print Overview

Moran Cerf is an assistant professor at the Kellogg School of Management and the neuroscience program at Northwestern university. Additionally, he holds a position at the UCLA department of neurosurgery, where he works with patients undergoing brain-surgery to study behavior, emotion and decision making, by directly recording the activity of individual nerve cells using electrodes implanted in their brain.

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 brain science to understand the underlying mechanisms of our psychology. He has published works that 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.

He holds multiple patents and his works have been published in wide-circulation journals such as Nature and Science, as well as Scientific American Mind and leading neuroscience journals.

Additionally, his work has been featured in numerous media and cultural outlets such as CNN, Wired, BBC, Bloomberg, NPR, Time, MSNBC, Slate.Com

Gizmodo, New Scientist, the Venice Art Biennial and dozens of others. Dr. Cerf has made much of his research accessible to the general public via his public talks at Ted-Ed, PopTech, Google Zeitgeist, the Davos World Economic Forum, DLD and more.

He received several awards and NIH grants for his research, including the Instructional improvement grant, and the prestigious president scholarship for excellent PhD, along with a number of private fundings.

Prior to his academic career, Dr. Cerf spent nearly a decade in industry, holding managerial and development positions in computers security (Check Point, Imperva), pharmaceutical (Pharmaco-Kinesis), telecom (TTI Telecom), Fashion (Vivvva), software development (Log-On), and inventions (S.I.T). He is left handed.

Areas of Expertise
Behavioral Economics
Cognitive Neuroscience
Communications: Computers
Communications: Verbal Presentations and Persuasion
Consumer Behavior
Consumer Decision-Making
Creativity and Innovation
Data Analysis
Print Vita
Ph.D., 2009, Neuroscience, California Institute of Technology
M.A., 2001, Philosophy of Science, Tel-Aviv University, Summa cum laude
B.S. , 2000, Physics, Tel-Aviv University

Academic Positions
Post-doctoral scholar, Stern School of Business, New York University, 2010-present
Assistant Professor, Neurology, UCLA, 2009-present
Alfred P. Sloan screenwriting professor, American Film Institute, 1998-present

Other Professional Experience
Consultant, Vivvva, 2009-2010
Consultant, Pharmaco-Kinesis, 2008-2009
Hacker, iMPERVA, 2002-2005
Product Architect, Customer Instructor, TTI Telecom, 2002-2003
R&D Trainer, Check Point Software Technologies, 2000-2002
Inventor, Systemic Inventive Thinking, 2000-2002
Software Developer, Team Leader, Log-On Software, 1998-2000
Intelligence, Israeli Defense Forces, 1995-1998

Print Research
Cerf, Moran, Michael MacKay and Christof Koch. 2012. Evidence for Two Distinct Mechanisms Directing Gaze in Natural Scenes. Journal of Vision. 12(4): 1-12.
Ison, Matias, Florian Mormann, Moran Cerf, Christof Koch, Itzhak Fried and Rodrigo Quian Quiroga. 2011. Selectivity of Pyramidal Cells and Interneurons in the Human Medial Temporal Lobe. Journal of Neurophysiology. 106(4): 1713-21.
Mormann, Florian, Julian Dubois, Simon Kornblith, Milica Milosavljevic, Moran Cerf, Matias Ison, Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Alexander Kraskov, Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, Ralph Adolphs, Itzhak Fried and Christof Koch. 2011. A Category-Specific Response to Animals in the Right Human Amygdala. Nature Neuroscience. 14: 1247-49.
Birmingham, Elina, Moran Cerf and Ralph Adolphs. 2011. Comparing Social Attention in Autism and Amygdala Lesions Effects of Stimulus and Task Condition. Social Neuroscience. 6(5-6): 420-35.
Pedreira, Carlos, Florian Mormann, Alexander Kraskov, Moran Cerf, Itzhak Fried, Christof Koch and Rodrigo Quian Quiroga. 2010. Responses of Human Medial Temporal Lobe Neurons Are Modulated by Stimulus Repetition. Journal of Neurophysiology. 103: 97-107.
Cerf, Moran, Nikhil Thiruvengadam, Florian Mormann, Alexander Kraskov, Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, Christof Koch and Itzhak Fried. 2010. On-line, Voluntary Control of Human Temporal Lobe Neurons. Nature. 467(7319): 1104-08.
Cerf, Moran, Paxon Frady and Christof Koch. 2009. Faces and Text Attract Gaze Independent of the Task: Experimental Data and Computer Model. Journal of Vision. 9(12): 1-15.
Milosavljevic, Milica and Moran Cerf. 2008. First Attention then Intention: Insights from Computational Neuroscience of Vision. International Journal of Advertising. 27(3): 381-98.
Einhauser, Wolfgang, Frank Schumann, Johannes Vockeroth, Klaus Bartl, Moran Cerf, Jonathan Harel, Erich Schneider and Peter Konig. 2008. Distinct Roles for Eye and Head Movements in Selecting Salient Image Parts During Natural Exploration. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1137: 188-93.
Mormann, Florian, Simon Kornblith, Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, Alexander Kraskov, Moran Cerf, Itzhak Fried and Christof Koch. 2008. Latency and Selectivity of Single Neurons Indicate Hierarchical Processing in the Human Medial Temporal Lobe. Journal of Neuroscience. 28(36): 8865-72.
Cerf, Moran, Dan R. Cleary, Rob J. Peters, Wolfgang Einhauser and Christof Koch. 2007. Observers are Consistent When Rating Image Conspicuity. Vision Research. 47(27): 3052-60.
Book Chapters
Rutishauser, Ueli, Moran Cerf and Gabriel Kreiman. 2013. "Data Analysis Techniques for Human Microwire Recordings: Spike Detection and Sorting, Decoding, Relation Between Units and Local Field Potentials." In Atoms of Cognition. Probing Single Neurons in the Human Brain, edited by Itzhak Fried, Moran Cerf, Ueli Rutishauser, Gabriel Kreiman, Cambridge: MIT Press.
Cerf, Moran, Hagar Gerlbard-Sagiv and Itzhak Fried. 2013. "Studying Thoughts and Deliberations Using Single-Neuron Recordings in Humans." In Atoms of Cognition. Probing Single Neurons in the Human Brain, edited by Itzhak Fried, Moran Cerf, Ueli Rutishauser and Gabriel Kreiman, Cambridge: MIT Press.
Cerf, Moran and Michael MacKay. 2011. "Studying Consciousness Using Direct Recording From Single Neurons in the Human Brain." In Research and Perspective in Neuroscience, edited by Stanislas Dehaene and Yves Christien, 133-146. Springer.
Cerf, Moran. 2011. "On Imagery and Projecting Thoughts." In Seeing with Eyes Closed, edited by Ivana Franke and Ida Momennejad, 50-55.
Cerf, Moran, Jonathan Harel, Alex Huth and Christof Koch. 2008. "Decoding What People See From Where They Look: Predicting Visual Stimuli From Scanpaths." In Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, edited by R.G. Goebel, Wolfgang Wahlster, Yuzuru Tanaka, vol. 5395, 15-26.
Cerf, Moran, Jonathan Harel, Wolfgang Einhauser and Christof Koch. 2007. "Predicting Human Gaze Using Low-Level Saliency Combined With Face Detection." In Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems, vol. 21, Curran Associates, Inc.
Cerf, Moran. 2005. "What is it like to be Beethoven?." In Towards a Science of Consciousness, edited by Avshalom C. Elitzur, World Scientific Publishing Co.

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Part-Time MBA
Marketing Management (MKTG-430-0)

This course counts toward the following majors: Marketing, Marketing Management

This course takes an analytical approach to the study of marketing problems of business firms and other types of organizations. Attention focuses on the influence of the marketplace and the marketing environment on marketing decision making; the determination of the organization's products, prices, channels and communication strategies; and the organization's system for planning and controlling its marketing effort.