Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Today has been an exciting day for me! First of all, although Steven Pinker had to decline my invitation to speak at UM (during the Neuroscience Spring Symposium), he did agree to do an interview here on Retrospectacle. So, similar to the Q’s and A’s I posted for review for Irene Pepperberg, I will post some for Pinker in the next few days to get feedback.

And speaking of Dr. Pepperberg, guess who WILL be speaking at the Spring Symposium? That’s right, my favorite parrot researcher, Irene herself! I can’t wait to meet her and (hopefully) Alex.

As for the interview with Dr. Pepperberg, it might be a bit delayed due to Irene breaking her finger, making typing difficult. So our interview will be conducted over the phone, when she feels up to it.

Stay tuned for famous people galore!


  1. #1 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    November 20, 2006

    As for the interview with Dr. Pepperberg

    Why don’t you interview Alex in the meantime?

  2. #2 razib
    November 20, 2006


  3. #3 coturnix
    November 20, 2006

    Irene is a most engaging person. You are going to love chatting with her!

  4. #4 CCP
    November 20, 2006

    Why don’t you interview Alex in the meantime?

    S.B.: Detractors of animal language and comprehension research often point out that while Greys may make word-object associations, they can not comprehend or use grammatical structure. Why is this an important distinction?

    Alex: Wood.

  5. #5 R343L
    November 21, 2006

    Actually, Alex would be more like: “want nut”. 🙂

  6. #6 Alon Levy
    November 22, 2006

    Are you going to ask Pinker hardball questions about the validity of evolutionary psychology?

  7. #7 Shelley Batts
    November 22, 2006

    Hmm, I was thinking about it. I’m trying to go back through The Language Instict to refresh my mind as to his stances on issues. How would you phrase a question?

  8. #8 Alon Levy
    November 24, 2006

    I would grill him about women in science – for example, ask him about the stereotype threat, or about neurological evidence that men are better at math than women. More abstractly, I might ask something like, “Which falsifiable predictions does the theory that the human mind is biologically hardwired make?”.

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