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Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

Dr. Steven Pinker

One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Dr. Steven Pinker marries two of the subjects he knows best — language and human nature — into his new book on how words can help explain our nature (for example, what swearing reveals about our emotions or what innuendo discloses about relationships). The author of the bestselling books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works and Blank Slate, Pinker reveals how our use of prepositions and tenses taps into peculiarly human concepts of space and time, and how our nouns and verbs speak to our notions of matter. Even the name we give our babies have important things to say about our relations to our children and society. Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. In 2006, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most important people in the world. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time, and Slate, and is the author of numerous scientific papers and six books.

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