Steven Pinker

July 11, 2009

Steven Pinker, a native of Montreal, received his BA from McGill University in 1976 and his PhD in psychology from Harvard in 1979. After serving on the faculties of Harvard and Stanford Universities or a year each, he moved to MIT in 1982, where he is currently Peter de Florez Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and a MacVicar Faculty Fellow.

Professor Pinker’s research has focused on visual cognition (including mental imagery, visual attention, and shape recognition) and on the psychology of language (including the acquisition, processing, historical change, and biological evolution of language). The research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, and has culminated in two scholarly books, a research monograph, three edited volumes, and many journal articles and book chapters. In recognition of this research, Pinker has received the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences and two prizes from the American Psychological Association.

Professor Pinker has also received awards for his graduate teaching at MIT and for his undergraduate teaching at MIT. He has been awarded two prizes for general achievement, an honorary doctorate, and five awards for his critically acclaimed popular science books The Language Instinct and How the Mind Works. He is an elected fellow of several scholarly societies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is an associate editor of Cognition and serves on many professional panels, including the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary and the Scientific Advisory Panel of an 8-hour NOVA television series on evolution.

Professor Pinker also writes frequently in the popular press, including The New York Times, Time, Slate, The New Yorker, and Technology Review. His fifth book, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language, was published in hardback in October 1999 and will come out in paperback in 2000. He is currently working on a sixth book, The Blank Slate, which will appear in 2002.

See essays by this author:
How the Mind Works
What is the missing ingredient -- not genes, not upbringing -- that shapes the mind?
Words and Rules
See selected books by this author:
How the Mind Works
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language (P.S.)
The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language (P.S.)