Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Science of Evil by Simon Baron-Cohen

Simon Baron-Cohen is a top autism researcher, and the author of numerous publications and several books. I find that his ease with explaining complex topics makes him especially easy to understand. (And, his publications are available on his webpage, which means those of us not connected to universities have access to his information. Thank you!)
Dr. Baron-Cohen’s famous book,The Essential Difference: Male And Female Brains And The Truth About Autism discusses the differences between male and female brains and the idea that autism is an extreme male brain. In his new book, The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty Baron Cohen discusses his theory that evil results from a lack of empathy. I haven’t read the book yet, however I listen to a fascinating interview with Dr. Baron-Cohen on NPR’s Science Friday, entitled, "Could a Lack of Empathy Explain Cruelty?"  Baron Cohen discussed how a lack of empathy could lead to evil acts in some individuals as well as a withdrawal from socializing in other individuals, such as those with autism. The book is well reviewed and the interview is available on NPR.