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No known object is as complex as the human brain. It is now clearer than ever before that if scientists are to comprehend its operational principles, particularly those underlying the more abstract aspects of cognition, they must apply a multidisciplinary approach. The sessions within the 2018 Gordon Conference for the Neurobiology of Cognition span areas of cognitive neuroscience most relevant for understanding how circuits in the brain give rise to important elements of how we think, feel, act, decide, plan, and learn. The conference casts a wide net and is designed to spark new avenues for discussion among participants whose paths might not normally cross. Individual sessions draw upon a mix of behavioral, electrophysiological, imaging, and computational approaches, with a focus on paradigms and results that have afforded significant traction in the last years. Much attention is given to the recent explosion in data acquisition methods, and the capacity to analyze enormous datasets using increasingly sophisticated computational approaches. A persistent question in the background is how the elaborate architecture of the brain, unfolded miraculously during developmental, and governed by fundamental electrical, molecular, and mathematical principles, supports our subjective experience and directs our external behavior. The confluence of perspectives at this meeting, with diverse scientists called together to consider the most important topics in cognitive neuroscience, promises to cast new light on some of the most challenging and fascinating questions about how the brain works.