Steven Pinker - Author

About the Author

Steven Pinker has made a glittering career for himself since he left Montreal as a young man; studying and then teaching at Harvard, Stanford and finally the Michigan Institute of Technology. He has won a number of prizes and awards, including being made a Doctor of Science honoris causa, McGill University, 1999 and the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement in the same year. He is acknowledged as the natural successor to Noam Chomsky in linguistics and a leading authority on the science of the mind.

Featured books by Steven Pinker

The Better Angels of Our Nature A History of Violence and Humanity

The Better Angels of Our Nature A History of Violence and Humanity

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/10/2012

This title was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2012. This acclaimed book by Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct and The Blank Slate , argues that, contrary to popular belief, humankind has become progressively less violent, over millenia and decades. Can violence really have declined? The images of conflict we see daily on our screens from around the world suggest this is an almost obscene claim to be making. Extraordinarily, however, Steven Pinker shows violence within and between societies - both murder and warfare - really has declined from prehistory to today. We are much less likely to die at someone else's hands than ever before. Even the horrific carnage of the last century, when compared to the dangers of pre-state societies, is part of this trend. Debunking both the idea of the 'noble savage' and an over-simplistic Hobbesian notion of a 'nasty, brutish and short' life, Steven Pinker argues that modernity and its cultural institutions are actually making us better people. One of the most important books I've read - not just this year, but ever...For me, what's most important about The Better Angels of Our Nature are its insights into how to help achieve positive outcomes. How can we encourage a less violent, more just society, particularly for the poor? Steven Pinker shows us ways we can make those positive trajectories a little more likely.   Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Until 2003, he taught in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as The New York Times , Time and Slate , and is the author of six books, including The Language Instinct , How the Mind Works , The Blank Slate and The Stuff of Thought .

Other books by Steven Pinker

Enlightenment Now

Enlightenment Now

Author: Steven Pinker Format: eBook Release Date: 13/02/2018

Penguin Presents the audiobook edition of Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker, read by Arthur Morey. Includes a bonus PDF of graphs. Is modernity really failing? Or have we failed to appreciate progress and the ideals that make it possible? If you follow the headlines, the world in the 21st century appears to be sinking into chaos, hatred and irrationality. Yet, as Steven Pinker shows, if you follow the trendlines, you discover that our lives have become longer, healthier, safer and more prosperous - not just in the West, but worldwide. Such progress is no accident: its the gift of a coherent value system that many of us embrace without even realizing it. These are the values of the Enlightenment: of reason, science, humanism and progress. The challenges we face today are formidable. But the way to deal with them is not to sink into despair or try to lurch back to a mythical idyllic past; its to treat them as problems we can solve, as we have solved other problems in the past. This is the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century.

Enlightenment Now

Enlightenment Now

Author: Steven Pinker Format: eBook Release Date: 13/02/2018

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER"e;My new favorite book of all time."e; --Bill Gates If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.Far from being a nave hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature--tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking--which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation. With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.

Enlightenment Now The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Enlightenment Now The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/02/2018

'My new favourite book of all time' Bill Gates TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER Is modernity really failing? Or have we failed to appreciate progress and the ideals that make it possible? If you follow the headlines, the world in the 21st century appears to be sinking into chaos, hatred, and irrationality. Yet Steven Pinker shows that this is an illusion - a symptom of historical amnesia and statistical fallacies. If you follow the trendlines rather than the headlines, you discover that our lives have become longer, healthier, safer, happier, more peaceful, more stimulating and more prosperous - not just in the West, but worldwide. Such progress is no accident: it's the gift of a coherent and inspiring value system that many of us embrace without even realizing it. These are the values of the Enlightenment: of reason, science, humanism and progress. The challenges we face today are formidable, including inequality, climate change, Artificial Intelligence and nuclear weapons. But the way to deal with them is not to sink into despair or try to lurch back to a mythical idyllic past; it's to treat them as problems we can solve, as we have solved other problems in the past. In making the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century, Pinker shows how we can use our faculties of reason and sympathy to solve the problems that inevitably come with being products of evolution in an indifferent universe. We will never have a perfect world, but - defying the chorus of fatalism and reaction - we can continue to make it a better one.

Enlightenment Now The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Enlightenment Now The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/02/2018

Oneof the world's greatest contemporary thinkers and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature (described by Bill Gates as 'the most inspiring book I have ever read') shows how to think afresh about the human condition and to meet the challenges that confront us Is modernity really failing? Or have we failed to appreciate progress and the ideals that make it possible? If you follow the headlines, the world in the 21st century appears to be sinking intochaos, hatred, and irrationality. Yet Steven Pinker shows that this is an illusion - a symptom of historical amnesia and statistical fallacies. If you follow the trendlines rather than the headlines, you discover that our lives have become longer, healthier, safer, happier, morepeaceful, more stimulating and more prosperous - not just in the West, but worldwide. Such progress is no accident: it's the gift of a coherent and inspiring value system that many of us embrace without even realizing it. These are the values of the Enlightenment: of reason, science, humanism and progress. The challenges we face today are formidable, including inequality, climate change, Artificial Intelligence and nuclear weapons. Butthe way to deal with them is not to sink into despair or try to lurch back to a mythical idyllic past; it's to treat them as problems we can solve, as we have solved otherproblems in the past. In making the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century, Pinker shows how we can use our faculties of reason and sympathy to solve the problems that inevitablycome with being products of evolution in an indifferent universe. We will never have a perfect world, but - defying the chorus of fatalism and reaction - we can continue to make it a better one.

Do Humankind's Best Days Lie Ahead?

Do Humankind's Best Days Lie Ahead?

Author: Steven Pinker, Matt Ridley, Alain de Botton, Malcolm Gladwell Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/11/2016

`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.' -Steven Pinker `The idea that because things have gotten better in the past they will continue to do so in the future is a fallacy I would have thought confined to the lower reaches of Wall Street.' -Malcolm Gladwell In a world driven by technology and globalization, is humanity approaching a Golden Age or is the notion of progress a Western delusion? Four of the world's most renowned thinkers take on one of the biggest debates of the modern era...

Language, Cognition, and Human Nature

Language, Cognition, and Human Nature

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/12/2015

Language, Cognition, and Human Nature collects together for the first time much of Steven Pinker's most influential scholarly work on language and cognition. Pinker's seminal research explores the workings of language and its connections to cognition, perception, social relationships, child development, human evolution, and theories of human nature. This eclectic collection spans Pinker's thirty-year career, exploring his favorite themes in greater depth and scientific detail. It includes thirteen of Pinker's classic articles, ranging over topics such as language development in children, mental imagery, the recognition of shapes, the computational architecture of the mind, the meaning and uses of verbs, the evolution of language and cognition, the nature-nurture debate, and the logic of innuendo and euphemism. Each outlines a major theory or takes up an argument with another prominent scholar, such as Stephen Jay Gould, Noam Chomsky, or Richard Dawkins. Featuring a new introduction by Pinker that discusses his books and scholarly work, this collection reflects essential contributions to cognitive science by one of our leading thinkers and public intellectuals.

The Sense of Style The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

The Sense of Style The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2015

Steven Pinker, the bestselling author of The Language Instinct, deploys his gift for explaining big ideas in The Sense of Style - an entertaining writing guide for the 21st century What is the secret of good prose? Does writing well even matter in an age of instant communication? Should we care? In this funny, thoughtful book about the modern art of writing, Steven Pinker shows us why we all need a sense of style. More than ever before, the currency of our social and cultural lives is the written word, from Twitter and texting to blogs, e-readers and old-fashioned books. But most style guides fail to prepare people for the challenges of writing in the 21st century, portraying it as a minefield of grievous errors rather than a form of pleasurable mastery. They fail to deal with an inescapable fact about language: it changes over time, adapted by millions of writers and speakers to their needs. Confusing changes in the world with moral decline, every generation believes the kids today are degrading society and taking language with it. A guide for the new millennium, writes Steven Pinker, has to be different. Drawing on the latest research in linguistics and cognitive science, Steven Pinker replaces the recycled dogma of previous style guides with reason and evidence. This thinking person's guide to good writing shows why style still matters: in communicating effectively, in enhancing the spread of ideas, in earning a reader's trust and, not least, in adding beauty to the world. Eye-opening, mind-expanding and cheerful, The Sense of Style shows that good style is part of what it means to be human.

Words and Rules

Words and Rules

Author: Steven Pinker Format: eBook Release Date: 14/07/2015

"e;If you are not already a Steven Pinker addict, this book will make you one."e; --Jared DiamondIn Words and Rules, Steven Pinker explores profound mysteries of language by picking a deceptively simple phenomenon--regular and irregular verbs--and examining it from every angle. With humor and verve, he covers an astonishing array of topics in the sciences and humanities, from the history of languages to how to simulate languages on computers to major ideas in the history of Western philosophy. Through it all, Pinker presents 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.

How the Mind Works

How the Mind Works

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/04/2015

Why do we laugh? What makes memories fade? Why do people believe in ghosts? How the Mind Works explores every aspect of mental life, showing that our minds are not a mystery, but a system of organs of computation designed by natural selection.

The Language Instinct How the Mind Creates Language

The Language Instinct How the Mind Creates Language

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/04/2015

How do babies learn to speak? Why are there so many languages? Do we think in our mother tongue? Who decides what's correct English? How did language evolve? In this landmark book, Pinker explains the mysteries of language within a coherent theory- that language is an adaptation for communication. 'Dazzling . . . Pinker's big idea is that language is as innate to us as flying is to geese . . . Words can hardly do justice to the superlative range and liveliness of Pinker's investigations.' Independent 'Reading Steven Pinker's book is one of the biggest favours I've ever done my brain . . . exhilaratingly brilliant.' Richard Dawkins 'An extremely valuable book.' Noam Chomsky 'Brilliant.' Observer Now with a new afterword

Sense of Style

Sense of Style

Author: Steven Pinker Format: eBook Release Date: 30/09/2014

A short and entertaining audiobook on the modern art of writing well by New York Times bestselling author Steven PinkerWhy is so much writing so bad, and how can we make it better? Is the English language being corrupted by texting and social media? Do the kids today even care about good writing? Why should any of us care?In The Sense of Style, the bestselling linguist and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker answers these questions and more. Rethinking the usage guide for the twenty-first century, Pinker doesn't carp about the decline of language or recycle pet peeves from the rulebooks of a century ago. Instead, he applies insights from the sciences of language and mind to the challenge of crafting clear, coherent, and stylish prose.In this short, cheerful, and eminently practical book, Pinker shows how writing depends on imagination, empathy, coherence, grammatical knowhow, and an ability to savor and reverse engineer the good prose of others. He replaces dogma about usage with reason and evidence, allowing writers and editors to apply the guidelines judiciously, rather than robotically, being mindful of what they are designed to accomplish.Filled with examples of great and gruesome prose, Pinker shows us how the art of writing can be a form of pleasurable mastery and a fascinating intellectual topic in its own right. Includes a PDF of the Glossary and Grammar Trees.

Language, Cognition, and Human Nature

Language, Cognition, and Human Nature

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/12/2013

Language, Cognition, and Human Nature collects together for the first time Steven Pinker's most influential scholarly work on language and cognition. Pinker is a highly eminent cognitive scientist, and his research emphasizes the importance of language and its connections to cognition, social relationships, child development, human evolution, and theories of human nature. The thirteen essays in this eclectic collection span Pinker's thirty-year career, ranging over topics such as language acquisitions, visual cognition, the meaning and syntax of verbs, regular and irregular phenomena in language and their implications for the mechanisms of cognition, and the social psychology of direct and indirect speech. Each outlines a major theory - such as evolution, or nature vs. nurture - or takes up an argument with other prominent scholars such as Stephen Jay Gould, Noam Chomsky, or Richard Dawkins. Featuring a new introduction by Pinker that discusses his books and scholarly work, this book represents a major contribution to the field of cognitive science, by one of the field's leading thinkers.

Learnability and Cognition The Acquisition of Argument Structure

Learnability and Cognition The Acquisition of Argument Structure

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/05/2013

A classic book about language acquisition and conceptual structure, with a new preface by the author, The Secret Life of Verbs. Before Steven Pinker wrote bestsellers on language and human nature, he wrote several technical monographs on language acquisition that have become classics in cognitive science. Learnability and Cognition, first published in 1989, brought together two big topics: how do children learn their mother tongue, and how does the mind represent basic categories of meaning such as space, time, causality, agency, and goals? The stage for this synthesis was set by the fact that when children learn a language, they come to make surprisingly subtle distinctions: pour water into the glass and fill the glass with water sound natural, but pour the glass with water and fill water into the glass sound odd. How can this happen, given that children are not reliably corrected for uttering odd sentences, and they don't just parrot back the correct ones they hear from their parents? Pinker resolves this paradox with a theory of how children acquire the meaning and uses of verbs, and explores that theory's implications for language, thought, and the relationship between them. As Pinker writes in a new preface, The Secret Life of Verbs, the phenomena and ideas he explored in this book inspired his 2007 bestseller The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature. These technical discussions, he notes, provide insight not just into language acquisition but into literary metaphor, scientific understanding, political discourse, and even the conceptions of sexuality that go into obscenity.

The Better Angels of Our Nature A History of Violence and Humanity

The Better Angels of Our Nature A History of Violence and Humanity

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/10/2012

This title was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2012. This acclaimed book by Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct and The Blank Slate , argues that, contrary to popular belief, humankind has become progressively less violent, over millenia and decades. Can violence really have declined? The images of conflict we see daily on our screens from around the world suggest this is an almost obscene claim to be making. Extraordinarily, however, Steven Pinker shows violence within and between societies - both murder and warfare - really has declined from prehistory to today. We are much less likely to die at someone else's hands than ever before. Even the horrific carnage of the last century, when compared to the dangers of pre-state societies, is part of this trend. Debunking both the idea of the 'noble savage' and an over-simplistic Hobbesian notion of a 'nasty, brutish and short' life, Steven Pinker argues that modernity and its cultural institutions are actually making us better people. One of the most important books I've read - not just this year, but ever...For me, what's most important about The Better Angels of Our Nature are its insights into how to help achieve positive outcomes. How can we encourage a less violent, more just society, particularly for the poor? Steven Pinker shows us ways we can make those positive trajectories a little more likely.   Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Until 2003, he taught in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as The New York Times , Time and Slate , and is the author of six books, including The Language Instinct , How the Mind Works , The Blank Slate and The Stuff of Thought .

How the Mind Works

How the Mind Works

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/06/2009

In this Pulitzer Prize finalist and national bestseller, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational-and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness? How the Mind Works synthesizes the most satisfying explanations of our mental life from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and other fields to explain what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and contemplate the mysteries of life. This edition of Pinker's bold and buoyant classic is updated with a new foreword by the author.

Stuff of Thought

Stuff of Thought

Author: Steven Pinker Format: eBook Release Date: 11/09/2007

This New York Times bestseller is an exciting and fearless investigation of language Bestselling author Steven Pinker possesses that rare combination of scientific aptitude and verbal eloquence that enables him to provide lucid explanations of deep and powerful ideas. His previous books?including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Blank Slate?have catapulted him into the limelight as one of today?s most important popular science writers. In The Stuff of Thought, Pinker presents a fascinating look at how our words explain our nature. Considering scientific questions with examples from everyday life, The Stuff of Thought is a brilliantly crafted and highly readable work that will appeal to fans of everything from The Selfish Gene and Blink to Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

The Stuff of Thought Language as a Window into Human Nature

The Stuff of Thought Language as a Window into Human Nature

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/10/2005

In The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, Steven Pinker looks at how the relationship between words and thoughts can help us understand who we are. Why do so many swear words involve topics like sex, bodily functions or the divine? Why do some children's names thrive while others fall out of favour? Why do we threaten and bribe and seduce in such elaborate, often comical ways? How can a choice of metaphor damn a politician or start a war? And why do we rarely say what we actually mean? Language, as Steven Pinker shows, is at the heart of our lives, and through the way we use it - whether to inform, persuade, entertain or manipulate - we can glimpse the very essence of what makes us human. 'Awesome' Daily Mail 'Highly entertaining ... funny and thought-provoking' The Times 'Anyone interested in language should read The Stuff of Thought ... moments of genuine revelation and some very good jokes' Mark Haddon, Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year 'No one writes about language as clearly as Steven Pinker, and this is his best book yet' David Crystal, Financial Times Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Until 2003, he taught in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as The New York Times, Time and Slate, and is the author of six books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate.

The Blank Slate The Modern Denial of Human Nature

The Blank Slate The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/06/2003

From bestselling author Stephen Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature shatters the myths surrounding human behaviour and 'nature versus nurture'. Recently many people have assumed that we are shaped by our environment: a blank slate waiting to be inscribed by upbringing and culture, with innate abilities playing little part. The Blank Slate shows that this view denies the heart of our being: human nature. Violence is not just a product of society; male and female minds are different; the genes we give our children shape the more than our parenting practices. To acknowledge our nature, Pinker shows, is not to condone inequality, but to understand the very foundations of humanity. 'Magnificent and timely' Sunday Telegraph 'A passionate defence of the enduring power of human nature ... both life-affirming and deeply satisfying' Tim Lott, Daily Telegraph Books of the Year 'Brilliant ... enjoyable, informative, clear, humane' New Scientist Steven Pinker is a best-selling author and Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for cognitive Neuroscience at MIT. Pinker has been awarded research prizes from the National Academy of Sciences and the American Psychological Association, graduate and undergraduate teaching prizes from MIT, and book prizes from the American Psychological Association, the Linguistics Society of America and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Language Instinct.

Words and Rules The Ingredients Of Language

Words and Rules The Ingredients Of Language

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/11/2000

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 book shares the wit and style of his classic, The Language Instinct , but explores language in a completely different way. In Words and Rules , Pinker explains the profound mysteries of language by picking a deceptively simple 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.

Words And Rules

Words And Rules

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/10/2000

One of the world's science superstars presents a brilliantly illuminating, entertaining and cutting-edge account of how language actually works. How does language work? How do children learn their mother tongue? Why do languages change over time, making Chaucer's English almost incomprehensible? Steven Pinker explains the profound mysteries of language by picking a deceptively simple single phenomenon and examining it from every angle. That phenomenon - the existence of regular and irregular verbs - connects an astonishing array of topics in the sciences and humanities: the history of languages; the illuminating errors of children as they begin to speak; the sources of the major themes 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.

Connections and Symbols

Connections and Symbols

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/1988

Does intelligence result from the manipulation of structured symbolic expressions? Or is it the result of the activation of large networks of densely interconnected simple units? Connections and Symbols provides the first systematic analysis of the explosive new field of Connectionism that is challenging the basic tenets of cognitive science.These lively discussions by Jerry A. Fodor, Zenon W. Pylyshyn, Steven Pinker, Alan Prince, Joel Lechter, and Thomas G. Bever raise issues that lie at the core of our understanding of how the mind works: Does connectionism offer it truly new scientific model or does it merely cloak the old notion of associationism as a central doctrine of learning and mental functioning? Which of the new empirical generalizations are sound and which are false? And which of the many ideas such as massively parallel processing, distributed representation, constraint satisfaction, and subsymbolic or microfeatural analyses belong together, and which are logically independent?Now that connectionism has arrived with full-blown models of psychological processes as diverse as Pavlovian conditioning, visual recognition, and language acquisition, the debate is on. Common themes emerge from all the contributors to Connections and Symbols: criticism of connectionist models applied to language or the parts of cognition employing language like operations; and a focus on what it is about human cognition that supports the traditional physical symbol system hypothesis. While criticizing many aspects of connectionist models, the authors also identify aspects of cognition that could he explained by the connectionist models. Connections and Symbols is included in the Cognition Special Issue series, edited by Jacques Mehler.

Visual Cognition

Visual Cognition

Author: Steven Pinker Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/01/1986

These essays tackle some of the central issues in visual cognition, presenting experimental techniques from cognitive psychology, new ways of modeling cognitive processes on computers from artificial intelligence, and new ways of studying brain organization from neuropsychology, to address such questions as: How do we recognize objects in front of us? How do we reason about objects when they are absent and only in memory? How do we conceptualize the three dimensions of space? Do different people do these things in different ways? And where are these abilities located in the brain? While this research, which appeared as a special issue of the journal Cognition, is at the cutting edge of cognitive science, it does not assume a highly technical background on the part of readers. The book begins with a tutorial introduction by the editor, making it suitable for specialists and nonspecialists alike.

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