Simon Cohen Zero Degrees of Empathy 6/14/2011

Professor of both psychiatry and psychology at Cambridge.

What strikes me is his motivation– he begins by caring about people, and then moves to trying to understand what is going on in the mind.

Two kinds of zero empathy– negative (hurts self & others), this is psychopathy. Positive (do not intentionally hurt others) autism, which has the bonus of attention to detail.

Empathy has a genetic component. So it should be present in other animals. Best monkey example is an experiment from the 60’s. Train monkeys to pull a chain to get a food reward. They learn fast. Then change it, so when they pull the chain, they get the food AND they see a fellow monkey receive an electric shock. They soon stop pulling the chain. One monkey even starved itself for 12 days rather than hurt a fellow monkey.


Posted on July 26, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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