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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 21, 2003

Psychologist Steven Pinker To Deliver Ida Beam Lecture

Renowned psychologist, linguist and author Steven Pinker will discuss his belief that human nature has been hard-wired through evolution when he delivers an Ida Beam Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. in 100 Phillips Hall at the University of Iowa.

The speech, "The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature," is free and open to the public.

Pinker is a professor of psychology at Harvard University whose research has focused on visual cognition and the psychology of language. He is the author of 2002's "The Blank Slate," a critically acclaimed book in which he argues that the brain, rather than being a blank slate, has a structure that is defined by generations of built-in evolutionary instincts that help form our personalities. He is also the author of The Language Instinct and How the Mind Works, two other acclaimed popular science books. How the Mind Works was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998.

He is an associate editor of Cognition and serves on many professional panels, including the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, the Scientific Advisory Panel of the Evolution series on NOVA and the Endangered Language Fund. Pinker also writes frequently in the popular press, including The New York Times, Time, The New Yorker and Technology Review.

Pinker's appearance is sponsored by the UI College of Law and the Departments of Linguistics, Neurology, Psychology and Speech Pathology.

People with disabilities are encouraged to attend University of Iowa events. Those who require special accommodations should call 319-335-5707 to make arrangements.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,