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Author Baron-Cohen, Simon.

Title Zero degrees of empathy : a new theory of human cruelty / Simon Baron-Cohen
Published London : Allen Lane, 2011


Location Call no. Vol. Availability
Description xi, 190 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
regular print
Contents Explaining "evil" and cruelty -- The empathy mechanism: the bell curve -- When zero degrees is negative -- When zero degrees is positive -- The empathy gene -- Reflections on human cruelty
Summary Simon Baron-Cohen, expert in autism and developmental psychopathology, has always wanted to isolate and understand the factors that cause people to treat others as if they were mere objects. In this book he proposes a radical shift, turning the focus away from evil and on to the central factor, empathy. Unlike the concept of evil, he argues, empathy has real explanatory power. Putting empathy under the microscope he explores four new ideas: firstly, that we all lie somewhere on an empathy spectrum, from high to low, from six degrees to zero degrees. Secondly, that deep within the brain lies the 'empathy circuit'. How this circuit functions determines where we lie on the empathy spectrum. Thirdly, that empathy is not only something we learn but that there are also genes associated with empathy. And fourthly, while a lack of empathy leads to mostly negative results, is it always negative? Full of original research, Zero Degrees of Empathy presents a new way of understanding what it is that leads individuals down negative paths, and challenges all of us to consider replacing the idea of evil with the idea of empathy-erosion
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Subject Cruelty.
ISBN 9780713997910 (hbk.)