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MEDIA ADVISORY: World-Renowned Psychologist to Speak at MU on “History of Violence” at 7th Annual Life Sciences Symposium

Time recognizes Pinker as “Top 100 Influential People”

March 19th, 2011

Story Contact: MU News Bureau, 573-882-6211,

WHAT: Contrary to the popular belief that these are extraordinarily violent times, rates of violence have been in decline over the course of history. Steven Pinker, an evolutionary psychologist at Harvard University, will discuss how this decline happened, and why people systematically misjudge the historical trend. Pinker’s presentation, “A History of Violence” is the keynote speech of the 7th annual Life Sciences & Society Symposium, “Ethics & the Brain.”

Pinker is a renowned psychology expert and has written several New York Times best- selling books. His research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has won awards from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and the American Psychological Association. In 2004, Time named Pinker to its list of the top 100 most influential people.

The “Ethics and the Brain” symposium will feature experts in neuroscience, law, psychology, philosophy, anthropology and theology. Experts will discuss what medical images, such as fMRIs, could reveal about human identity, free will, moral decisions and honesty, and how such information should, or should not, be used. The symposium begins the morning of Saturday, March 19.  A full listing of events is available at:

The event is sponsored by the Mizzou Advantage program, along with several campus departments. Mizzou Advantage has been instrumental in creating opportunities for the most prominent scholars around the world to network and discuss important global issues.

WHO: Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

For a complete list of all speakers at the symposium, please visit:             

WHERE: Pinker’s speech takes place at the Missouri Theater, 203 S. Ninth Street.

Saturday morning events will take place in the Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building on MU’s campus.  Saturday afternoon and Sunday events will take place at the Bond Life Sciences Center on MU’s campus.

WHEN: Pinker’s speech takes place at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 19.

The Life Sciences Symposium starts at 10 a.m. on March 19 and runs through March 20.

NOTE: Pinker’s speech and the Life Sciences Symposium are free and open to the public.