I started the CogSci major in Fall 2017, the first semester I came to U-M as a transfer student, knowing that I was interested in BCN, Neuroscience, or Cognitive Science. The choice of CogSci was a middle ground for me, not diving too deep into all details of neurons, while still pursuing the scientific perspective of human brain and mind.
When I started, I always imagined this fantastic mechanistic scenario of neurons as small compartments interacting together to generate all kinds of human behavior. Learning, thinking, running, cooking or loving each other, all of which are rooted deeply in functioning of the brain. How does it work? How can humans possibly be so flexible in so many things? Such questions always intrigued me.
In Winter 2018 semester, I reached out to Prof. Jun Zhang, who hosts the Laboratory of Mind, Machine and Mathematics in the Department of Psychology. Back then I was only generally interested in research but did not have much idea about what research really is. I enrolled independent study credits with Prof. Zhang and started some exploration in computational/mathematical approach in Cognitive Science.
I was able to identify computational decision making as my primary interest and worked on it with Prof. Zhang for multiple semesters. The preciseness of mathematical formulation and the complexity of human behavior both constantly fascinate me. The distant goal of explaining flexible human behavior with a unifying computational model remains a strong motivation for me. It has been a beautiful journey since I started CogSci in 2017, but more is to come.