Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. He grew up in Montreal and earned his BA from McGill and his Ph.D. from Harvard. Currently Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, he has also taught at Stanford and MIT. He has won numerous prizes for his research, his teaching, and his nine books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Sense of Style. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, a Humanist of the Year, a recipient of nine honorary doctorates, and one of Foreign Policy’s “World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals” and Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and writes frequently for The New York Times, The Guardian, and other publications.
His tenth and most recent book is Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.
When we see problems in the world, we're quick to blame someone—anyone—who should be providing peace, love, and harmony. But the universe actually bends toward chaos and decay.
It might seem like humanity disagrees over basic values, but the data is in: we actually don't.
"The starting point for understanding inequality in the context of human progress is to recognize that income inequality is not a fundamental component of well-being."
Steven Pinker believes there's some interesting gender psychology at play when it comes to the robopocalypse. Could artificial intelligence become evil or are alpha male scientists just projecting?
If you want to understand trends in the history of global violence, look to data, not headlines, says Harvard psychology professor and linguist Steven Pinker.
Today's video is part of a series on genius, in proud collaboration with 92Y's 7 Days of Genius Festival.
Professor Steven Pinker illustrates how the study of linguistics can give us a rare window into the conscious mind.