Professor

Steven Pinker

Harvard University
Cognitive scientist; Educator
Area
Biological Sciences
Specialty
Neurosciences
Member Since
1998

Dr. Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. Currently the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. Pinker's doctoral dissertation and much of his early research focused on visual cognition: the ability to imagine shapes, recognize faces and objects, and direct attention within the visual field. But beginning in graduate school he cultivated an interest in language, particularly language development in children, and this topic eventually took over his research activities. Most recently, his research has begun to investigate the psychology of common knowledge (I know that you know that I know that you know...) and how it illuminates phenomena such as innuendo, euphemism, social coordination, and emotional expression. His research on vision, language, and social relations has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the American Psychological Association. He has also received eight honorary doctorates, several teaching awards at MIT and Harvard, and numerous prizes for his books The Language InstinctHow the Mind Works, The Blank Slate,and The Better Angels of Our Nature. He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and often writes for The New York Times, Time, and other publications. He has been named Humanist of the Year, Prospect magazine’s “The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals,”Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers,” and Time magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” His most recent book is The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. 

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