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Cognitive Scientist George Lakoff to Discuss Politics and the Mind at UC Merced

September 15, 2008

George Lakoff MERCED -
The University of California,
will host an evening with cognitive scientist
on Sept. 23. Lakoff, a UC Berkeley professor and senior
fellow at the Rockridge Institute, will speak at 6 p.m. in the

Lakireddy Auditorium.
The event is free and open to the public.

“George Lakoff is one of the greatest
of our time,” said UC Merced

Professor Teenie Matlock
, who coordinates the university’s
Mind, Technology
and Society
talk series. “He has a huge following and has had a
tremendous impact for about four decades now, starting with his
early work on generative semantics and transitioning to his
pioneering research in cognitive linguistics. It’s really no
surprise that he’s still forging new areas of study, including what
is appropriately termed ‘cognitive political science.’”

Lakoff is the author of numerous books on linguistics and
cognitive science, in addition to more recent books that merge
cognitive and political sciences. His latest book takes a bold
stand on how the intricate workings of the mind affect the
political beliefs and values of Americans. His latest book, “The
Political Mind: Why You Can’t Understand 21st-Century Politics with
an 18th-Century Brain,” uses insights from cognitive science to
explain how conservatives and liberals frame issues.

Since frames shape our modes of thinking, Lakoff believes they
can readily transform our political views and make for a complex
tapestry of political values. Lakoff’s approach to framing can
explain why a typical Midwestern conservative feels threatened or
put off by the actions of San Francisco Bay Area liberals and vice versa.

“Framing is the most natural thing we do,” Lakoff says, adding
that all frames are made up of elements and scenarios and make up
the reason behind why humans think the way they do.

Matlock and several other cognitive science faculty at UC Merced
will honor Lakoff with the campus’ first-ever Distinguished
Cognitive Scientist Award on the night of his presentation. The
award is made possible by a generous gift from the

Glushko-Samuelson Foundation
, which also funds the Mind,
Technology and Society series on the campus.

“This is a unique and timely opportunity for students and the
community to hear a presentation about ground-breaking, provocative
research at the intersection of politics and cognition science.”
Matlock said. “Some of Lakoff’s claims about the cognitive
mechanisms that underlie everyday political reasoning will inspire
and arouse.”

See also:

George Lakoff
on YouTube


Tonya Luiz

UC Merced Office of

Office: 209-228-4408

Cell: 209-658-9101