Steven Pinker

It’s just a brute fact that we don't throw virgins into volcanoes any more. We don't execute people for shoplifting a cabbage. And we used to.
Named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Steven Pinker helps non-specialists understand the science behind human thought and action. A pioneering cognitive scientist, Pinker has written for The New York Times and Nature, and is the author of bestselling books, including The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, as well as the landmark study on human progress The Better Angels of Our Nature, which garnered a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year award and was chosen for Mark Zuckerberg’s book club. The Blank Slate and How the Mind Works were both finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. His acclaimed “language” series includes The Language Instinct, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature and The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.

A native of Montreal, Pinker is Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard, and has also taught at Stanford and at MIT. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has won a number of teaching prizes and was named among Newsweek’s “100 Americans for the Next Century.” His research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has received numerous awards, including the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences.