Steven Pinker can really draw…

By skepticlawyer

… Along with lots of other cool stuff.

Please take a look; it’s funny ‘cos it’s TRUE!


  1. kvd
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Just an oblique comment on this. I found the audio very interesting, and the artist is great – but the one detracts from the other in my brain. Does anyone else have this sort of problem? I mean, I much prefer to absorb ideas from a single source. This blending of mediums detracts from the message.

    I don’t like to be ‘lead’. I suppose that’s why I have always preferred the written word (on paper or screen) to audio or video – I can control the pace better; I can rethink or simply savour the interesting/provocative bits more effectively.

    Anyone else with my ‘problem’? Or is it better to just sit back and say “wasn’t that great?” – even if it wasn’t actually all that message-effective. Genuine enquiry.

  2. Posted July 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    kvd, you’ve raised a fantastic point. I’m a ‘flowchart’ or ‘mindmap’ person (a visual learner, basically), so I really like this… but I can see why other people wouldn’t. We don’t all learn the same way.

  3. Posted July 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I like more variation in cognitive “hooks’. That people respond differently to similar methods when taking information in is why our presentations attempt to be multi-sensory: we are dealing with 20+ kids at a time, so different preferred cognitive intake methods all at once.

    Also, they are the IT generation kids: switching modes keeps their short attention spans better focused.

  4. kvd
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Just so’s I don’t get totally typecast, I would add that last year I purchased for my (Naval Officer) brother in law a vinyl record set of Churchill’s collected speeches, from UK eBay, only to find it available via iTunes for less than 5% of the cost – complete with ‘scratches’ and all.

    The point being, I don’t think WC’s words would ever be as impressive if absorbed without the voice. So, that’s a flaw in my earlier statement.

  5. TerjeP
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I find that I comprehend much better when I get the same input in multiple ways. The ideal is video, audio and subtitles. And I like to be able to turn the concept over, bang on it a bit, play what if, ask ten questions and then repeat. I also have trouble knowing my thoughts unless I articulate them. I literally think aloud.

  6. Posted July 10, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    St Augustine reported as a remarkable feature of his teacher and mentor St Ambrose that he read silently!. Writing really was “a prompt for speech” for most of its history.

  7. Posted July 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Although I have never had any problem visualizing Romans doing their version of literary salons, where people would be invited around to listen to a noted author read from a work in progress (this sort of thing is common to many cultures), I have always had to work very hard to imagine Cicero or Ulpian reading – even when in private – like a Daily Mail aficionado, with their lips moving. It’s very well documented, though, and was apparently a cue not to bug the person reading by themselves.

    Another thing: during my time on the literary circuit, I discovered that people still love to be read to, and that I like to be read to as well. I always thought that going to readings was just a bit of back-scratching, but it’s not. It’s very enjoyable, especially with a favored author.

  8. kvd
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    @Lorenzo, I’m talking about my own perceptions, rather than students. Context of comment is: what’s your own most effective method of learning/absorption?

    “At first Antony thought their house was bare and uninteresting, but came over time to appreciate its pale apricot walls, seeing details in the sandstone for the first time.”

    “There were crowd noises all around, and the clip clop of horses walking by, and we could speak quietly as in an oasis of private space without being overheard.”

    I read those words, and (imperfectly) translate them into ‘pictures’ – I guess influenced by my earlier life – then I somehow remember them for later recollection, because they are ‘effective teachers’.

    But the words are the point of entry to my brain, I think.

  9. Davo
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    oops, have to pop the periscope up again, skimming.

    “cognitive hooks”? Ah, perhaps there is a difference between ‘law’, ‘legalities’ and ‘justice’.

    Any ‘pop psychologist/polititian/media baron/internet hacker .. et al can tap into that concept

  10. Davo
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    oops, wrong post .. but hey .. whatever happened to ” boots on ground”, “pressing the flesh”. Anyone with some sort of ‘marketed’ technology “knows’ .. yes?

  11. Davo
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I live with a dog, canine. She is instinctive and intelligent. Is fascinating to how she copes with situations. A fascinating watch.

  12. Davo
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    “cognitive dissonance” . once upon a long time ago, was involved in the “theatre”. Um, yes, there is a concept somewhere …. methinks it’s called ..

    ‘willing suspension of disbelief’

  13. Posted July 11, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    [email protected] Interaction. Whether it is reading and talking, reading and discussing, reading and (preferably) writing out my own take.

  14. kvd
    Posted July 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Lorenzo. I forgot about the importance of interaction – which I’d probably call feedback, be it reinforcing or modifying.

    That video, I found myself admiring the presentation but losing track of the content. And I’m fascinated by SL’s approach because it just wouldn’t work for me – in fact actively distract. But, as she said, different methods work for different brains.

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