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Zero Degrees of Empathy af Simon Baron-Cohen
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Zero Degrees of Empathy (original 2011; udgave 2012)

af Simon Baron-Cohen (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4332043,314 (3.45)6
A groundbreaking and challenging examination of the social, cognitive, neurological, and biological roots of psychopathy, cruelty, and evil Borderline personality disorder, autism, narcissism, psychosis: All of these syndromes have one thing in common--lack of empathy. In some cases, this absence can be dangerous, but in others it can simply mean a different way of seeing the world.In The Science of Evil Simon Baron-Cohen, an award-winning British researcher who has investigated psychology and autism for decades, develops a new brain-based theory of human cruelty. A true psychologist, however, he examines social and environmental factors that can erode empathy, including neglect and abuse. Based largely on Baron-Cohen's own research, The Science of Evil will change the way we understand and treat human cruelty.… (mere)
Medlem:phildixon1
Titel:Zero Degrees of Empathy
Forfattere:Simon Baron-Cohen (Forfatter)
Info:Penguin (2012), 208 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty af Simon Baron-Cohen (2011)

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Engelsk (18)  Hollandsk (2)  Alle sprog (20)
Viser 1-5 af 20 (næste | vis alle)
A easy and logical read on the role of empathy in inducing crimes (mostly involving murder/holocaust cases). The author Simon suggests that factors such as environment (parental care, threat), genes, intentions and religious beliefs affect empathy circuit. Using neuroscience and psychology in explaining the different parts of the empathy circuit, Simon draws a negative relationship between level of empathy and inactive parts of empathy circuit. He went on to elaborate the 3 different types of Zero-Negative (borderline, psychopath, and narcissistic). He argues that these 3 different types of zero-negative share a commonality in terms of how they each account for individuals' zero degrees of empathy.

What I particular enjoyed about this book is the author's approach towards punishment for individuals who suffered from Zero-Negative and Zero-Positive. He posits that victims who do not cause harm to society should be given compassionate treatment, rather than put into prisons (which put more stress on them due to their inability to relate to people or street-smart prisoners). He also argues that death sentence is a cruel punishment as it deprives victims of the chance to change for the better.

However, Simon unnecessarily repeats his content throughout the same chapter and this makes it tedious to read.

Overall, it's an insightful book about the importance of empathy as a solution to resolving conflicts than alternative (such as guns, laws, or religions). ( )
  octobereleven | Sep 12, 2018 |
This book is like a catch 22 on empathy and I say that after mulling it over for a few weeks. I wasn't keen to read it, because I am not keen on the phrase - "extreme male brain theory of autism".
I am even less keen now, and think it is pejorative and should not be used.
This book has only male examples of autism, plus an additional general group of female anorexics. It was enough to make me throw the book at the wall, but that would probably be enough to have me defined as bpd - where all subjects were female.
That said, I think this is an interesting topic and the discussion makes you question your own thoughts on empathy. If I could draw,I could explain it in a model, which would use his idea (?) of a light bulb, but be considerably more complicated.
However, empathy is also the tool and lever of psychopaths, sexual predators and con artists. Its what gets the old lady to hand over her pension book, the young girl to worry about hurting the feelings of her abuser and/or family and possibly befriend the dangerous loner.
Empathy feels like a skill that you can develop, although people will start with biological (dis)advantages and also different society expectations.
It is a talent - in his words a pot of gold that you carry with you in life, that can also make you more vulnerable to attack. I think the zero positive would be more usefully applied to the individual instance of empathy and the result is produced. ( )
  kk1 | Nov 17, 2017 |
A very interesting book with a controversial claim that when people commit acts of cruelty, a specific circuit in the brain ("the empathy circuit") goes down. When we try to explain acts of human cruelty, there is no scientific value in the term 'evil' but there is scientific value in using the term 'empathy erosion'.

Some Key Points:
- The book proposes a simple but persuasive hypothesis for a new way to think about evil.
- The main goal of the writer according to him is to understand human cruelty, replacing the unscientific term ‘evil’ with the scientific term ‘empathy,’
- absence of empathy due to negative environmental factors and genetic component.
- Zero-Negative Personality ( Zero Type P [psychopathology], Zero Type B [borderline disorder], Zero Type N [narcissism])
- Viewing personality disorders in terms of empathy has a very different treatment implications
- People with low degree of empathy can be taught empathy!
- The empathy circuit in the brain
- Zero empathy is not necessarily negative!
- People with Asperger’s syndrome also fall on the zero end of the scale, but they are Zero Positive. Zero Positive is almost always accompanied by high scores on the systemizing scale (and can lead to genius)
- What is the nature of cruelty? ( )
  eknowledger | Feb 29, 2016 |
Baron-Cohen begins with a couple of grappling chapters on the concept of evil, calling for the more appropriate and less abstract phrase "empathy erosion". He admits that though we are all capable of being momentarily void of empathy, there are biological, environmental and societal factors that enables certain people to "be more evil" than others.

The book argues that a lack of empathy is found in a broad range of personality disorders, ranging from borderline personality to autism, opening the reader's eyes to the positive aspects that a low level of empathy can bring. This appears to contradict his concluding arguments that empathy is what makes us humane, and is what could ultimately resolve the current conflicts occurring across the globe. I found this to be an overly simplified, and idealistic position to say the least, and that is what this book is at its core: an overly optimistic work that lacks the appropriate amount of scientific data and information to back its conclusions up.

The writing was, in my opinion, redundant and lacking in quality as a result of the author's intent on being accessible to as many kinds of people as possible. For those who are interested in the subject of evil, the book does not deliver ground-breaking knowledge, and could even be a disappointment. The fact that Baron-Cohen enters the discussion of evil by merely breaking it down into psychological disorders was an ineffective and shallow approach. For example, an integral part of the discussion on "evil" is entirely dismissed: to what extent can the trait be learned by all who are part of a systematized evil? The book lacked examples of experiments which, in my opinion, could have enriched this short read (the bibliography took up a considerable number of pages).

There were also far too many instances where I nervously cringed at the book's probing into sex differences in relation to biological traits such as aggression and empathy circuits. The author's frequent one-liners marking the differences between male and female brains was, I found, out of place because such a subject deserves large amounts of research and delicate exploration, which he clearly failed to provide.

The book's strength most certainly lies in its clarity and humane, sensitive approach to psychiatry, though there is not much else that makes this book stand unique or memorable.

If you want to read more of my reviews, check out my book blog! ( )
  themythbookshelf | Aug 8, 2015 |
Before building a house, one should always make sure the ground is strong enough to support it.

That is the deep and fundamental difficulty of Simon Baron-Cohen's examination on the relationship between empathy and cruelty. It is well-researched -- it should be, since he did a lot of the research in his own lab! It is easy to read and understand. And the argument is fascinating and provocative: That a failure of empathy makes it easier to be cruel, and hence that those who lack empathy are more likely to do vile things.

This, on its face, makes brilliant sense, and it explains such mysteries as why young people (usually but not always men) go out and become jihadis or suicide bombers. Since they don't understand others' pain or viewpoint, they can easily and deliberately set out to harm them.

But much of Baron-Cohen's argument is built on sand. For example, he identifies three sorts of people with poor empathy, and hence (by implication) a greater open-ness to vile behavior. These three are psychopaths, borderlines, and narcissists. His identification of these three has some pretty strong firepower behind it: The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition (DSM-IV), identifies Antisocial Personality Disorder (a group containing psychopaths), Borderline Personality Disorder, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The problem is, these groups are essentially made up. A committee assembled, tried to define "Personality Disorders," and published what they had. The DSM-IV identifies ten such in all. But... they're just guessing. Even at the time the DSM-IV was written, there were dramatic doubts about the validity of the ten personality disorders: "If one can predict anything with any confidence, it is that future classifications [of personality disorders]... will look very different" [W. John Livesley, "Past Achievements and Future Directions," being chapter 25 of Livesley, editor, The DSM-IV Personality Disorders, Guilford Press, 1995, p. 504]. That prediction seems to be coming true; when the American Psychiatric Association voted on the changes proposed for the next revision of the DSM, they voted down the section on personality disorders. Baron-Cohen's three types may exist (they probably do) -- but they may not, and if they do exist, they may not be quite what Baron-Cohen thinks they are.

Baron-Cohen's other contention, that people with autism don't have empathy, has also come under pretty strong criticism. (This one strikes home, since I'm autistic myself.) His description of people with Asperger's Syndrome (a syndrome which was eliminated from the latest DSM, by the way) is accurate for some, but no two people with autism are alike, and some do have empathy. And some are much more human and compassionate than those he describes.

What this boils down to is that much of Baron-Cohen's science is unproved or incomplete. This badly weakens his argument. What he is left with is a highly logical suggestion that is worthy of further investigation. But the science he brings to it is a very feeble support indeed. It's not a building I'd want to be in should there be even a slight earthquake. ( )
2 stem waltzmn | Mar 25, 2015 |
Viser 1-5 af 20 (næste | vis alle)
“The Science of Evil,” by Simon Baron-Cohen, seems likely to antagonize the victims of evil, the parents of children with autism spectrum disorder, at least a few of the dozens of researchers whose work he cites — not to mention critics of his views on evolutionary psychology or of his claims about the neurobiology of the sexes. “The Science of Evil” proposes a simple but persuasive hypothesis for a new way to think about evil.

 
Understanding our simultaneous capacity for great compassion and cruelty is no easy feat. We should take Baron-Cohen's accessible book as an invitation to leave the comforts of our smaller, more tractable problems in a genuine attempt to address larger social issues.

tilføjet af jlelliott | RedigerNature, Stephanie Preston (Apr 28, 2011)
 
My big sister was unaware of what effect her words and actions had on other people. One day when we were middle-aged I was driving her across the snow-covered Yorkshire moors. She was telling me about how her husband had been depressed. In tones of great incredulity, she said: "His psychiatrist wanted to see me. And do you know what he told me? He said that other people have feelings."
tilføjet af atbradley | RedigerThe Guardian, Dorothy Rowe (Apr 15, 2011)
 
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IN MEMORY OF
 
Peter Lipton (1950-2007),
professor of philosophy of science,
Cambridge University, who combined precision
in explanation with humor and compassion; and
 
Judy Ruth Baron Cohen (née Greenblatt) (1933-2008),
who gave her five children and five grandchildren
their internal pot of gold
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
 
This book isn't for people with a sensitive dispostion.
1
Explaining "Evil" and Human Cruelty
 
When I was seven years old, my father told me the Nazis had turned Jews into lampshades.
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A groundbreaking and challenging examination of the social, cognitive, neurological, and biological roots of psychopathy, cruelty, and evil Borderline personality disorder, autism, narcissism, psychosis: All of these syndromes have one thing in common--lack of empathy. In some cases, this absence can be dangerous, but in others it can simply mean a different way of seeing the world.In The Science of Evil Simon Baron-Cohen, an award-winning British researcher who has investigated psychology and autism for decades, develops a new brain-based theory of human cruelty. A true psychologist, however, he examines social and environmental factors that can erode empathy, including neglect and abuse. Based largely on Baron-Cohen's own research, The Science of Evil will change the way we understand and treat human cruelty.

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