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Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker, cognitive psychologist and writer, is interviewed by Kirsty Young.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker.

An author and Harvard professor he's been named by Time Magazine as one of the world's 100 most influential scientists and thinkers.

The psychology of violence and where language comes from are just two of his specialist subjects. Bill Gates is officially a fan, the man who sends him hate mail related to his work on irregular verbs is not. It would seem that whenever he publishes yet another best-selling book controversy is never far behind - his recent contention that we live in an "unusually peaceful time" drew opprobrium from many quarters.

Born and brought up in Montreal his parents encouraged vigorous debate around the dinner table - indeed it was his mother's interest in the psychology of language and linguistics that sparked his own.

He says "I appreciate what my parents did for me beyond words. Not in making me what I am, but in my view of what's important in life, what I think about and cherish."

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 5 Jul 2013 09:00

Music Played

  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Eric Clapton

      Further On Up the Road (Concert Version)

      • The Last Waltz.
      • Rhino.
  • The Andy Statman Klezmer Orchestra with Itzhak Perlman

    Der Alter Bulgar

    • Itzhak Perlman: In the Fiddler's House.
    • EMI Classics.
  • Elvis Costello

    God’s Comic

    • Spike.
    • Rhino.
  • John Coltrane


    • John Coltrane Ole'.
    • Atlantic Jazz.
  • The Neville Brothers

    Yellow Moon

    • Essential Guide to New Orleans.
    • Union Square.
  • Leonard Cohen

    I’m Your Man

    • The Essential Leonard Cohen.
    • Columbia.
  • Jimi Hendrix

    Machine Gun

    • The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
    • Polydor.
  • Sarah Vaughan

    Lullaby of Birdland

    • Lullaby of Birdland.
    • Mercury.
  • Book Choice

    • The Oxford English Dictionary

  • Luxury Choice

    • Carbon fibre bicycle


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Steven Pinker
Producer Cathy Drysdale


  • Sun 30 Jun 2013 11:15
  • Fri 5 Jul 2013 09:00

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