Borderline personality disorder, autism, narcissism, psychosis, Asperger's: 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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Simon Baron-Cohen is a Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge. A recipient of the McAndless Award from the American Psychological Association, he lives in the United Kingdom.Review:
Paul Harris, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
“Simon Baron-Cohen displays once again his ability to bring science to bear on troubling and controversial issues. Arguing that we explain nothing by describing acts of wanton cruelty as evil, he explores the simple but powerful hypothesis that such acts can be traced to a distinct psychological state - a lack of empathy. He backs up his claim with a wealth of research - from developmental psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience and genetics. Those who have to deal with the aftermath of cruelty may not agree with Baron-Cohen’s analysis but they will surely be informed and provoked by his boldness and originality.”
Boston Globe“The Science of Evil contains a huge amount of useful information for a rather short read...it’s an important early step in building a more robust understanding of our species at its most horrific.” Psychology Today“Rigorously researched...[Baron-Cohen’s] discussion of how parents can instill lifelong empathy in their children is particularly useful.” Terry Eagleton, Financial Times“Attractively humane...fascinating information about the relation between degrees of empathy and the state of our brains.” Richard Holloway, Literary Review“Ground-breaking and important...This humane and immensely sympathetic book calls us to the task of reinterpreting aberrant human behaviour so that we might find ways of changing it for the better...The effect...is not to diminish the concept of human evil, but to demystify it.” The Spectator (UK)“Short, clear, and highly readable. Baron-Cohen guides you through his complex material as if you were a student attending a course of lectures. He’s an excellent teacher; there’s no excuse for not understanding anything he says.” Times Higher Education Supplement (UK) “Engaging and informative.”
“Clearly written and succinct, this book will enrich but not overwhelm interested readers...provides a useful perspective for understanding human pathology, including events like Columbine and the Holocaust.”
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