Date of Birth: September 18, 1954
Doctor of Philosophy (Experimental Psychology), Harvard University, 1979.
Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honors in Psychology), McGill University, 1976.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Cognitive Science, MIT, 1979-80.
2008-2013 Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University
2003- Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University
2000-2003 Peter de Florez Professor, MIT
1994-99 Director, McDonnell-Pew Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT
1989-2000 Professor, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT
1985-94 Co-Director, Center for Cognitive Science, MIT
1985-89 Associate Professor, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT
1982-85 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, MIT
1981-82 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Stanford University
1980-81 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University
Selected Honors and Awards
Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award, 2012.
Innovation for Humanity Prize, La Ciudad de las Ideas, Mexico, 2008.
Honorary President, Canadian Psychological Association, 2008.
Humanist of the Year, American Humanist Association, 2006.
The Emperor’s New Clothes Award, Freedom from Religion Foundation, 2004.
Humanist Laureate, International Academy of Humanism, 2001.
Golden Plate Award, American Academy of Achievement, 1999.
Ramon y Cajal Award, International Neuropsychiatric Association, 2013
Walter Channing Cabot Fellow, Harvard University, 2012.
George A. Miller Prize, Cognitive Neuroscience Society, 2010.
Henry Dale Prize, The Royal Institution of Great Britain, 2004.
Troland Research Award, National Academy of Sciences, April 1993.
Boyd R. McCandless Young Scientist Award, American Psychological Association, 1986.
Distinguished Early Career Contribution, American Psychological Association, 1984.
The Language Instinct
Public Interest Award, Linguistics Society of America, 1997.
William James Book Prize, American Psychological Association, 1995.
New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice: Ten Best Books of 1994.
How the Mind Works
William James Book Prize, American Psychological Association, 1999.
Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science and Technology, 1998.
Finalist, Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction, 1998.
The Blank Slate
Kistler Book Award, Foundation for the Future, 2005
William James Book Prize, American Psychological Association, 2003
Eleanor Maccoby Book Award, American Psychological Association, 2003
Finalist, Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction, 2003.
The Better Angels of Our Nature
Book of the Year, Conflict Research Society, 2013.
Cundill Recognition of Excellence Prize in History, 2012.
Finalist, Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, 2012.
Finalist, The Samuel Johnson Book Prize, 2012.
Notable Books of 2011, New York Times Book Review.
Best Books of 2011, amazon.com.
Top Ten Books of 2011, Library Journal.
Harvard College Professorship, 2008-2013.
School of Science Teaching Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, MIT, 2001.
Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow, MIT, 2000-2003.
Graduate Student Council Teaching Award, MIT, 1986.
Elected Fellowships in Scholarly Societies:
Linguistic Society of America; The American Academy of Political and Social Science; American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Neurosciences Research Program; American Psychological Association; Association for Psychological Science; American Association for the Advancement of Science.
McGill University, 1999; Tel Aviv University, 2003; University of Surrey, 2003; University of Newcastle, 2005; Albion College, 2007; University of Tromsø, 2008; Mt. Allison University, 2012.
Prospect “The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals/World Thinkers”: 2005, 2008, 2013.
Muy Historia, “The 25 Most Influential Thinkers in History,” 2013
The Fifty Best Science Writers of All Time, onlinecollege.org, 2012.
Foreign Policy “Top Global Thinkers”: 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011.
Time 100: “The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today,” 2004.
Newsweek “One Hundred Americans for the Next Century,” 1995.
Esquire “Register of Outstanding Men and Women Under Forty,” 1986.
Recent Honorary Lectureships:
Humanities & Social Sciences Lecture, Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, March 2012.
Franke Lectures, Yale University, November 2012.
Francis Crick Lecture, Salk Institute, February 2013.
Voltaire Lecture, British Humanist Society, London, March, 2013.
Niko Tinbergen Lecture, University of Leiden, May 2013.
The Gifford Lectures, University of Edinburgh, May 2013.
The Hitchcock Lectures, University of California, Berkeley, February 2014.
Meymandi Distinguished Visitor Lecture, National Humanities Center, March 2014.
Selected Professional Activities
Chair, Usage Panel, American Heritage Dictionary, 2008- .
Board of Directors, Peace Research Endowment, 2012- .
Contributing Editor, The New Republic, 2008- .
Executive Associate Editor, Cognition: International Journal of Cognitive Science, 1985-2006.
Jury, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Excellence in the Literature of Diversity, 2002- .
Language Learnability and Language Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984. New edition, 1996.
Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989. New edition, 2013.
The Language Instinct. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. New edition, 2007.
How the Mind Works. New York: Norton, 1997. New edition, 2009.
Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. New edition, 2011.
The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. New York: Viking.
The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature. New York: Viking, 2007.
The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. New York: Viking, 2011.
Language, Cognition, and Human Nature: Selected Articles. New York: Oxford, 2013.
The Sense of Style: A Writing Manual for the 21st Century. New York: Viking, 2014.
Selected Publications in Scholarly Journals
Pinker, S. (1979). Formal models of language learning. Cognition, 7, 217-283.
Pinker, S. (1980). Mental imagery and the third dimension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 109, 254-371.
Pinker, S. (1984). Visual cognition: an introduction. Cognition, 18, 1-63.
Downing, C. J. & Pinker, S. (1985). The spatial structure of visual attention. In M. Posner and O. Marin (Eds.), Attention and Performance XI: Mechanisms of attention and visual search. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Pinker, S. & Prince, A. (1988) On language and connectionism: Analysis of a parallel distributed processing model of language acquisition. Cognition, 28, 73-193.
Tarr, M. J. & Pinker, S. (1989) Mental rotation and orientation-dependence in shape recognition. Cognitive Psychology, 21, 233-282.
Pinker, S. & Bloom, P. (1990) Natural language and natural selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 13, 707-784.
Tarr, M. J. & Pinker, S. (1990) When does human object recognition use a viewer-centered reference frame? Psychological Science, 1, 253-256.
Gropen, J., Pinker, S, Hollander, M., & Goldberg, R. (1991) Syntax and semantics in the acquisition of locative verbs. Journal of Child Language, 18, 115-151.
Pinker, S. (1991) Rules of language. Science, 253, 530-535.
Gropen, J., Pinker, S, Hollander, J., & Goldberg, R. (1991) Affectedness and direct objects: The role of lexical semantics in the acquisition of verb argument structure. Cognition, 41, 153-195.
Marcus, G., Pinker, S., Ullman, M., Hollander, M., Rosen, T. J. & Xu, F. (1992) Overregularization in language acquisition. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 57 (4, Serial No. 228).
Prasada, S. & Pinker, S. (1993) Generalizations of regular and irregular morphology. Language and Cognitive Processes, 8, 1-56.
Cave, K. R., Pinker, S., Giorgi, L., Thomas, C., Heller, L., Wolfe, J. M., & Lin, H. (1994) The representation of location in visual images. Cognitive Psychology, 26, 1-32.
Pinker, S. (1994) How could a child use verb syntax to learn verb semantics? Lingua, 92, 377-410.
Marcus, G. F., Brinkmann, U., Clahsen, H., Wiese, R., & Pinker, S. (1995) German inflection: The exception that proves the rule. Cognitive Psychology, 29, 189-256.
Ullman, M., Corkin, S., Coppola, M., Hickok, G., Growdon, J. H., Koroshetz, W. J., & Pinker, S. (1997) A neural dissociation within language: Evidence that the mental dictionary is part of declarative memory, and that grammatical rules are processed by the procedural system. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 9, 289-299.
Berent, I., Pinker, S., & Shimron, J. (1999) Default nominal inflection in Hebrew: Evidence for mental variables. Cognition 72, 1-44.
Pinker, S. & Ullman, M. (2002) The past and future of the past tense. Trends in Cognitive Science, 6, 456-463.
Berent, I., Pinker, S., & Shimron, J. (2002) The nature of regularity and irregularity: Evidence from Hebrew nominal inflection. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 31(5), 459-502
Pinker, S. & Jackendoff, R. (2005) What’s special about the human language faculty? Cognition, 95, 201-236.
Berent, I., Pinker, S., Tzelgov, J., Bibi, U., & Goldfarb, L. (2005) Computation of semantic number from morphological information. Journal of Memory and Language, 53, 342-358.
Sahin, N., Pinker, & Halgren, E. (2006) Abstract grammatical processing of nouns and verbs in Broca's Area: Evidence from fMRI. Cortex, 42, 540-562.
Berent, I., Pinker, S., & Ghavami, G. (2007) The dislike of regular plurals in compounds: Phonological familiarity or morphological constraint? The Mental Lexicon, 2, 129-181.
Pinker, S. (2007) The evolutionary social psychology of off-record indirect speech acts. Intercultural Pragmatics, 4(4), 437-461.
Pinker, S., Nowak, M., A. & Lee, J. J. (2008). The logic of indirect speech. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, 105(3), 833-838.
Sahin, N. T., Pinker, S., Cash, S. S., Schomer, D., & Halgren, E. (2009) Sequential processing of lexical, grammatical, and articulatory information within Broca’s area. Science, 326, 445-449.
Huang, Y.-T. & Pinker, S. (2010) Lexical semantics and irregular inflection. Language and Cognitive Processes, 25, 1-51.
Lee, J. J., & Pinker, S. (2010) Rationales for indirect speech: The theory of the strategic speaker. Psychological Review, 117, 785–807.
Pinker, S. (2010) The cognitive niche: Coevolution of intelligence, sociality, and language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, 107, 8893-899.
Michel, J.-B., Shen, Y. K., Aiden, A. P., Veres, A., Gray, M. K., The_Google_Books_Team, Pickett, J. P., Hoiberg, D., Clancy, D. ,Norvig, P., Orwant, J., Pinker, S., Nowak, M., & Lieberman-Aiden, E. (2011). Quantitative analysis of culture using millions of digitized books. Science, 331, 176-182.
Pinker, S. (2011) Taming the devil within us. Nature, Oct. 20, 309–311.
Pinker, S. (2011). Indirect speech, politeness, deniability, and relationship negotiation. Journal of Pragmatics, 43, 2866-2868.
Pinker, S. (2013) The decline of war and conceptions of human nature. International Studies Review, 15, 5-10.
Chabris, C., Lee, J. J., Benjamin, D. J., Beauchamp, J. P, Glaeser, E. L, Bosrt, G., Pinker, S., & Laibson, D. I. (2013) Why is it hard to find genes that are associated with social science traits? Theoretical and empirical considerations. American Journal of Public Health, 152-166.
Ronen, S., Gonçalves, B., Hu, K. Z., Vespignani, A., Pinker, S., & Hidalgo, C. A. (under review) Links that speak: The structure and implications of the global language network.
Thomas, K. A., DeScioli, P., Haque, O. S., & Pinker, S. (under review) The psychology of common knowledge and coordination.
Selected Recent Publications in the Press
Pinker, S. (2005) The science of difference. The New Republic, Feb. 14.
Pinker, S.,(2005) Can you believe in God and evolution? Time, August 7, 2005.
Pinker, S. (2005) College makeover: The Matrix Revisited. Slate, Nov. 15, 2005.
Pinker, S. (2006) Groups and genes: The lessons of the Ashkenazim. The New Republic, June 17, 2006.
Pinker, S. (2006) Block that metaphor! The New Republic, Oct. 9, 2006.
Pinker, S. (2007) The mystery of consciousness. Time, Jan. 19, 2007.
Pinker, S. (2007) A history of violence. The New Republic, March 19, 2007.
Pinker, S. (2007) In defense of dangerous ideas. Chicago Sun-Times, July 15.
Pinker, S. (2007) Strangled by roots: The genealogy craze in America. The New Republic, August 6.
Grossman, D., Mandel, D., Hoffman, L., & Pinker, S. (2007) Why we love sunsets (and other clichés). Popular Photography, Aug 2007.
Pinker, S. (2007) What the F***? Why we curse. New Republic, October 10, 2007. Pinker, S. (2008) The moral instinct. Cover story, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Jan. 13, 2008.
Pinker, S. (2008) Crazy Love. Time, Jan. 17, 2008.
Pinker, S. (2008) The stupidity of dignity. The New Republic, May 28, 2008.
Pinker, S. (2008) Everything You Heard Is Wrong (Op-Ed on Sarah Palin's debate language). New York Times, Oct. 4, 2008.
Pinker, S. (2008) Freedom's curse: Why Washington's crusade against swearing on the airwaves is f*cked up. The Atlantic, November 2008.
Pinker, S. (2009) My genome, myself. Cover story, New York Times Sunday Magazine, Jan. 11.
Pinker, S. (2009) Oaf of office. Op-ed, New York Times, Jan. 22.
Pinker, S. (2010) Mind over mass media (Op-ed on the effects of Google, Twitter, email, etc.) Times, June 10, 2010.
Pinker, S. (2011) Terrorism. The Chronicle of Higher Education: Chronicle Review, Aug. 7.
Pinker, S. (2011) Violence vanquished. Wall Street Journal Review, Sept. 24, 2011.
Pinker, S. (2011) The new peace. The Guardian, Oct. 31, 2011.
Pinker, S. (2011) A history of (non) violence: Why humans are becoming more peaceful. Foreign Policy, December 2011.
Goldstein, J. S. & Pinker, S. (2011) War really is going out of style. New York Times, Dec. 17, 2011.
Pinker, S. (2012) To see humans’ progress, zoom out. The New York Times, Feb. 26, 2012.
Pinker, S. (2012) False fronts in the Language Wars. Slate, May 31, 2012.
Pinker, S. (2012) The false allure of group selection. Edge, June 18, 2012. Reprinted (2014) in D. Buss (ed.), Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology 2nd ed. New York: Wiley.
Pinker, S. (2012) Violence doesn’t work (most of the time). The Atlantic, July/August.
Pinker, S. (2012). The Long Peace: Systematic trends and unknown unknowns. Global Trends 2030.
Pinker, S. (2012) Why are states so red and blue? New York Times, Oct. 24.
Pinker, S. (2012) The coach who never paid retail. Slate, Oct. 26.
Pinker, S. (2012) Hey, Foreign Policy, the world really is getting safer. Foreign Policy, Dec. 7.
Pinker S. (2013) Nothing to kill or die for. Cosmos, June.
Pinker, S. (2013. Science is not your enemy. The New Republic, August 6.
Selected Recent Book Reviews
Jerry Fodor, “The Mind Doesn’t Work That Way,” Mind and Language, 20, 1-24.
George Lakoff, “Whose Freedom?” The New Republic, Oct. 9, 2006.
Jonathan Gottschall and David Sloan Wilson (Eds.), “The Literary Animal,” Philosophy and Literature, 31, 161-177.
Natalie Angier, “The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science,” New York Times Book Review, May 27, 2007.
Malcolm Gladwell, “What the Dog Saw.” New York Times Book Review, Nov. 14, 2009.
Roy Baumeister & John Tierney, “Willpower: Rediscovering the greatest human strength.” New York Times Book Review, Sept. 4, 2011.
(Last updated: November 19, 2013)