Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University
Charles M. and Martha Hitchcock LecturesFebruary 4, 2014 — 4:10 PM
International House, Chevron Auditorium — 2299 Piedmont Avenue, UC Berkeley Campus
About the Lecture Believe it or not, violence has been in decline for long stretches of time, and we may be living in the most peaceful era in our species existence. In his first lecture, Steven Pinker presents the data … ContinuedInternational House, Chevron Auditorium - 2299 Piedmont Avenue, UC Berkeley Campus Berkeley Graduate Lectures email@example.com false MM/DD/YYYY
About the Lecture
Believe it or not, violence has been in decline for long stretches of time, and we may be living in the most peaceful era in our species existence. In his first lecture, Steven Pinker presents the data supporting this surprising conclusion, and explains the trends by showing how changing historical circumstances have engaged different components of human nature.
About Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. He is well known for his contributions to the fields of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. Pinker’s has conducted extensive experimental and theoretical research on the acquisition, processing, history, and neural bases of language. Pinker has also conducted research in the filed of visual cognition, investigating phenomena such as the mind’s ability to imagine shapes and recognize faces. His most recent research investigates the phenomenon of common knowledge and how it can explain cooperation, nonverbal communication, and the rationales, innuendo, euphemism, and other forms of indirect speech. Pinker’s 2011 book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, advances the bold thesis that violence as a whole has declined over the course of world history. Drawing from a wide range of empirical data, Pinker argues that a combination of historical forces has shifted the psychological balance between motives for violence, particularly exploitation, revenge, dominance, and sadism, and motives for avoiding violence, particularly empathy, self-control, moral norms, and reason.