Publications

2012
Pinker, S. (2012). False Fronts in the Language Wars. Slate.
Pinker, S. (2012). To See Humans' Progress, Zoom Out. The New York Times.
2011
Goldstein, J., & Pinker, S. (2011). War Really Is Going Out of Style. The New York Times Sunday Review.
Pinker, S. (2011). If I ruled the world: Steven Pinker. Prospect Magazine.
Pinker, S. (2011). Taming the Devil within Us. Nature , 478, 309-311. PDF
Pinker, S. (2011). Violence Vanquished. The Wall Street Journal.
Pinker, S. (2011). The sugary secret of self-control (Review of R. F. Baumeister & J. Tierney's "Willpower"). The New York Times Book Review , (Sept. 2, 2011).
Pinker, S. (2011). Terrorism. The Chronical of Higher Education.
The Better Angels of our Nature
Pinker, S. (2011). The Better Angels of our Nature . New York, NY: Viking.Abstract

"A brilliant, mind-altering book....Everyone should read this astonishing book."—The Guardian

“If I could give each of you a graduation present, it would be this—the most inspiring book I've ever read." —Bill Gates (May, 2017)

A provocative history of violence—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Stuff of Thought and The Blank Slate

Believe it or not, today we may be living in the most peaceful moment in our species' existence. In his gripping and controversial new work, New York Timesbestselling author Steven Pinker shows that despite the ceaseless news about war, crime, and terrorism, violence has actually been in decline over long stretches of history. Exploding myths about humankind's inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious book continues Pinker's exploration of the essence of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly enlightened world.

REVIEWS & FEATURES
Review Excerpts
Full Reviews
Articles about the Book and Author
Interviews and Adaptations by the Author
Frequently Asked Questions
Has the Decline of Violence Reversed since The Better Angels of Our Nature was Written?
2014 Article on post-Angels trends in violence
Miscellaneous

AVAILABLE AT:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
iBooks

 

 

 

Michel, J. - B., Shen, Y. K., Aiden, A. P., Veres, A., Gray, M. K., Team, T. G. B., Pickett, J. P., et al. (2011). Quantitative analysis of culture using millions of digitized books. Science , 331, 176-182.Abstract

We constructed a corpus of digitized texts containing about 4% of all books ever printed. Analysis of this corpus enables us to investigate cultural trends quantitatively. We survey the vast terrain of ‘culturomics,’ focusing on linguistic and cultural phenomena that were reflected in the English language between 1800 and 2000. We show how this approach can provide insights about fields as diverse as lexicography, the evolution of grammar, collective memory, the adoption of technology, the pursuit of fame, censorship, and historical epidemiology. Culturomics extends the boundaries of rigorous quantitative inquiry to a wide array of new phenomena spanning the social sciences and the humanities.

Words and Rules (1999/2011)
Pinker, S. (2011). Words and Rules (1999/2011) . New York, NY: Harper Perennial.Abstract

"A gem"
—Mark Aronoff, New York Times Book Review

How does language work? How do children learn their mother tongue? Why do languages change over time, making Shakespearean English difficult for us and Chaucer's English almost incomprehensible? Why do languages have so many quirks and irregularities? Are they all fundamentally alike? How are new words created? Where in the brain does language reside? In Words and Rules, Steven Pinker answers these and many other questions. His new book shares the wit and style of his classic, The Language Instinct, but explores language in a completely different way. In this book, Pinker explains the profound mysteries of language by picking a deceptively single phenomenon and examining it from every angle. The phenomenon—regular and irregular verbs—connects an astonishing array of topics in the sciences and humanities: the history of languages; the theories of Noam Chomsky and his critics; the attempts to simulate language using computer simulations of neural networks; the illuminating errors of children as they begin to speak; the nature of human concepts; the peculiarities of the English language; major ideas in the history of Western philosophy; the latest techniques in identifying genes and imaging the living brain. Pinker makes sense of all of this with the help of a single, powerful idea: that language comprises a mental dictionary of memorized words and a mental grammar of creative rules. The idea extends beyond language and offers insight into the very nature of the human mind. This is a sparkling, eye-opening, and utterly original book by one of the world's leading cognitive scientists.

REVIEWS
Review Excerpts
Full Reviews

AVAILABLE AT: 
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound

2010
Pinker, S. (2010). Mind over Mass Media. New York Times , A31.
Pinker, S. (2010). The cognitive niche: Coevolution of intelligence, sociality, and language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 107, 8893-8999. PDF
Huang, Y. - T., & Pinker, S. (2010). Lexical semantics and irregular inflection. Language and Cognitive Processes , 25, 1-51. PDF
Lee, J. J., & Pinker, S. (2010). Rationales for indirect speech: The theory of the strategic speaker. Psychological Review , 117 (3), 785-807.Abstract

Speakers often do not state requests directly but employ innuendos such as Would you like to see my etchings? Though such indirectness seems puzzlingly inefficient, it can be explained by a theory of the strategic speaker, who seeks plausible deniability when he or she is uncertain of whether the hearer is cooperative or antagonistic. A paradigm case is bribing a policeman who may be corrupt or honest: A veiled bribe may be accepted by the former and ignored by the latter. Everyday social interactions can have a similar payoff structure (with emotional rather than legal penalties) whenever a request is implicitly forbidden by the relational model holding between speaker and hearer (e.g., bribing an honest maitre d’, where the reciprocity of the bribe clashes with his authority). Even when a hearer’s willingness is known, indirect speech offers higher-order plausible deniability by preempting certainty, gossip, and common knowledge of the request. In supporting experiments, participants judged the intentions and reactions of characters in scenarios that involved fraught requests varying in politeness and directness.

2009
Pinker, S. (2009). Think Again. Playboy. PDF
Pinker, S. (2009). Malcolm Gladwell, Eclectic Detective. New York Times , BR1.
Pinker, S. (2009). My Genome, Myself. New York Times Sunday Magazine , MM24.
Pinker, S. (2009). Oaf of Office. New York Times , A33.
Sahin, N. T., Pinker, S., Cash, S. S., Schomer, D., & Halgren, E. (2009). Sequential Processing of Lexical, Grammatical, and Phonological Information Within Broca’s Area. Science, 326, , 326 (5951), 445-449.Abstract

Words, grammar, and phonology are linguistically distinct, yet their neural substrates are difficult to distinguish in macroscopic brain regions. We investigated whether they can be separated in time and space at the circuit level using intracranial electrophysiology (ICE), namely by recording local field potentials from populations of neurons using electrodes implanted in language-related brain regions while people read words verbatim or grammatically inflected them (present/past or singular/plural). Neighboring probes within Broca’s area revealed distinct neuronal activity for lexical (~200 milliseconds), grammatical (~320 milliseconds), and phonological (~450 milliseconds) processing, identically for nouns and verbs, in a region activated in the same patients and task in functional magnetic resonance imaging. This suggests that a linguistic processing sequence predicted on computational grounds is implemented in the brain in fine-grained spatiotemporally patterned activity.

PDF

Pages