Steven Pinker Explains the Neuroscience of Swearing (NSFW)

Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. Currently at Harvard, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT, and his research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the American Psychological Association.

This video (find part 1 above, part 2 below, and the transcript here) is taken from a talk given on September 10, 2008 at Warwick’s Bookstore in La Jolla, California. Here, we find Pinker talking about his then new book, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, and doing what he does best: combining psychology and neuroscience with linguistics. The result is as entertaining (and not safe for work) as it is insightful.

Related content:

Stephen Fry, Language Enthusiast, Defends The “Unnecessary” Art Of Swearing

George Carlin Performs His “Seven Dirty Words” Routine: Historic and Completely NSFW

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.


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  • david collier

    Only angry people curse and swear.

  • J Chayes

    Righteousness, what a f#&@$*!# curse!

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