Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable
April 9th, 2009
Spark Blog: Video - Dr. Steven Pinker: Language Makes Us Human

As we traveled the world investigating what makes us human, we always were sure to ask our interviewees just what they think the human spark is. While there was plenty of overlap, there were also a lot of different ideas put forward. And people tended to approach the question differently depending on what their own fields of expertise were.

Alan Alda recently chatted with Steven Pinker in his office in the Psychology Department at Harvard University. Much of Pinker’s research has focused on language – and not surprisingly language is central to his conception of what makes us human.

Watch this video clip to learn more about three big things Pinker thinks set us apart from other animals.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.
  • Jason

    Gotta love Pinker – he’s a natural teacher, and clearly enjoys making difficult, complex topics enjoyable and comprehensible.

  • Pingback: The Human Spark . The Language Spark ~ Video Segments | PBS

  • guvenlik kamerasi

    thank you nice sharing has been very useful

  • Kaminari

    Dr. Steven Pinker seems to show up in my internet browsings with surprising regularity these days.

    He’s obviously smart as a a whip and I like the way he says language, co-operation and tool are mutually dependent.

    On the other hand the list of tools he uses are revealing to say the least.

    What’s so good about poison; weapons; traps as opposed to shelter; storage containers; lamps; cooking pots and clothes?

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2015 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.