MEET THE MIT BILINGUALS
Approaching human cognition from many angles
Senior Keith Murray combines his interests in philosophy, neuroscience, and computation to better understand human behavior.
Keith Murray '22; photo by Jared Charney
For Murray, virtually any conversation is an opportunity to explore how people think and why they think in certain ways. Currently a senior double majoring in computation and cognition, and linguistics and philosophy, Murray tries to understand the human experience based on knowledge from all of these fields.
“I’m trying to blend different approaches together to understand the complexities of human cognition,” he says. “For example, from a physiological perspective, the brain is just billions of neurons firing all at once, but this hardly scratches the surface of cognition.”
Once on campus, Murray immediately pursued an opportunity through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) in the Digital Humanities Lab. There he worked with language-processing technology to analyze gendered language in various novels, with the end goal of displaying the data for an online audience. He learned about the basic mathematical models used for analyzing and presenting data online, to study the social implications of linguistic phrases and expressions.
Murray also joined the Concourse learning community, which brought together different perspectives from the humanities, sciences, and math in a weekly seminar. “I was exposed to some excellent examples of how to do interdisciplinary work,” he recalls.