NY Times Science: From Hitler to Mother Teresa: 6 Degrees of Empathy

Posted on June 14, 2011


Dr. Baron-Cohen, a professor of developmental psychology at the University of Cambridge and director of the university’s Autism Research Center, proposes that evil is more scientifically defined as an absence of empathy, exacerbated by negative environmental factors (usually parental, sometimes societal) and a genetic component. When these three exist in tandem they result in what he calls a Zero-Negative personality. Zero-Negative takes at least three forms (and possibly more), borrowing from terms used in psychiatry: Zero Type P (psychopathology), Zero Type B (borderline disorder) and Zero Type N (narcissism).

Whereas psychiatry groups these three loosely under the term personality disorders, Dr. Baron-Cohen proposes that they all share the characteristic of zero degrees of empathy. (His empathy quotient scale is available in the book or online, with an instant numerical score that is translated into degrees of empathy from zero to six, or super empathy.)

Check out this website I found at nytimes.com

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