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Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker

Harvard Psychologist Steven Pinker to Give Plant Lecture

Contact Holly Foster 315-859-4068
Posted September 24, 2009
Tags Plant Lecture
Steven Pinker, Harvard College professor and Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, will give the James S. Plant Distinguished Scientist Lecture at Hamilton on Monday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. in the College Chapel. His lecture, titled “The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature” is free and open to the public.

With examples from everyday speech and pop culture, Pinker shows how our words reflect the thoughts we think, the emotions we feel, and the relationship we hold. He covers timely topics at the core of our understanding of human nature. He asks, why do people frame their abstract ideas in concrete metaphors -- and is skillful use of metaphor the key to winning elections? Why do people swear, but get upset when other people swear? And why do we veil our threats and sexual come-ons in innuendo and euphemism, instead of blurting them out?

Until 2003, Pinker taught in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time, and The New Republic, and is the author of seven books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, Words and Rules, The Blank Slate, and most recently, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature.

The James S. Plant Distinguished Scientist Lecture series was established in 1987 through a bequest from Dr. Plant, class of 1912 and an eminent child psychiatrist, to bring to the campus outstanding scientists as guest lecturers.

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