The man accused of opening fire at a Colorado movie theater wanted to study "the primary source of all things, our own minds," according to a personal statement he submitted as part of a graduate studies application.
The application included the statement, professional references and test scores.
It offered new details into the background of James Holmes, 24, the man charged with killing 12 people and wounding 58 others at an Aurora multiplex.
The documents were released Friday by the University of Illinois, where Holmes applied to the neuroscience department before opting to attend the University of Colorado.
The application, part of 176 pages released by the university, was first obtained by The News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois.
While the documents do little to answer questions about the alleged suspect's possible motive in the July 20 shooting during a showing of the Batman movie at the Century 16 multiplex, they offer new insight into Holmes as a student and his aspirations to study the human brain.
In the statement, Holmes wrote that he has long been "fascinated by the complexities of long lost thought seemingly arising out of nowhere into stream of awareness.
"These fascinations likely stemmed from my interest in puzzles and paradoxes as an adolescent and continued through my curiosity in academic research," he wrote in the statement submitted in early 2011.
He titled his resume "aspiring scientist."
Holmes was described as taking "an active role in his education, and brings a great amount of intellectual and emotional maturity into the classroom," according to a letter of reference that appeared to be from one of his former professors.