Cognitive Scientist George Lakoff to Discuss Politics and the Mind at UC Merced
MERCED - The University of California, Merced,will host an evening with cognitive scientist George Lakoffon Sept. 23. Lakoff, a UC Berkeley professor and senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute, will speak at 6 p.m. in the university's Lakireddy Auditorium.The event is free and open to the public.
"George Lakoff is one of the greatest cognitive scientistsof our time," said UC Merced Professor Teenie Matlock, who coordinates the university's Mind, Technology and Societytalk 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."
George Lakoff on YouTube