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Words and Rules
by Steven Pinker - Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Category: Distinguished Lectures/Special Topics
Language comes so naturally to us that we are apt to forget what a strange and miraculous gift it is. Over the next hour you will sit in your chairs listening to a man make noise as he exhales. Why would you do such a thing? Not because the sounds are particularly melodious, but because . . .
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steven Pinker, PhD, 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 for a year each, he moved to MIT in 1982, where he is currently Professor of Psychology in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and a MacVicar Faculty Fellow. His research on visual cognition and on the psychology of language has received the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences and two prizes from the American Psychological Association. He has also received awards for his graduate teaching at MIT and for his undergraduate teaching at MIT, two prizes for general achievement, an honorary doctorate, and five awards for his popular science books The Language Instinct and How the Mind Works. Professor Pinker is a 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, and The New Yorker. His fifth book, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language, was published in October.
Spring 2001 issue of Eye on Psi Chi (Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 14-19), published by Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology (Chattanooga, TN). Copyright, 2001, Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology. All rights reserved.