Gomer Lecture with Katie Kinzler - Thursday, February 29

February 01, 2024

Please join us on Thursday, February 29 for the Winter Quarter Gomer lecture.

This is a special Robert and Anne Gomer Lecture. Lunch and a book will be provided to attendees. Please RSVP by February 21 if you plan to attend.

How you say it: The development of language as a social category

Beyond the literal content it provides, language conveys social meaning. Drawing on my own research in developmental psychology, and also on broader themes from linguistics, anthropology, economics, and the law I provide evidence that language provides a critical, and potentially primary, way in which people divide their social worlds.  People judge others based on their speech, and children’s attention to a speaker’s language and accent influences their social preferences, essentialist reasoning, and learning from others. Yet, while linguistic diversity may cause social divisions, it can also facilitate social understanding.

Katherine D. Kinzler is Vice Provost and Professor Psychology at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on the origins of prejudice and ingroup/outgroup thinking, with an emphasis on understanding how language and accent mark social groups. She completed her Ph.D. at Harvard in Psychology and her B.A. at Yale in Cognitive Science. Her work has appeared regularly in The New York Times and other outlets, and she was named a “Young Scientist” by the World Economic Forum.  Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Her book How You Say It exposes linguistic prejudice.

The Gomer lecture will be in person at the Emeriti Center, located at Alumni House, 5555 S. Woodlawn Ave.