Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

How the Mind Works

  • Andrew FranksEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2412-1



A 1997 book by Steven Pinker.


Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language (1994) played a vital role in refuting many myths regarding the development of language abilities. Pinker argued against the behaviorist perspective that language acquisition was primarily or entirely the result of operant conditioning process and presented substantial evidence to attest to the fact that, despite its complexity, understanding and using spoken language is a relatively easy accomplishment for most children. Language acquisition is largely dependent on evolved psychological mechanisms, which result in a predictable developmental sequence of language abilities.

In How the Mind Works (1997), Pinker extends his work on language from The Language Instinctwhile simultaneously broadening the focus to include myriad other areas of psychology and cognitive science: vision and the...

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  1. Pinker, S. (1997). How the mind works. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lake Superior State UniversitySault Ste. MarieUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Carey Fitzgerald
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South Carolina - BeaufortBlufftonUSA