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  #1  
Old 06-20-2011, 09:47 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Default Empathy test

I was reading the New York Times recently and they had a book review about the "Science of Evil" by Simon Baron-Cohen. He argues that evil can be defined by the degree of lack of empathy. Anyway, I've often thought evil can be defined as the absence of empathy. The review is interesting: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/sc....html?emc=eta1

More interesting, however, was the empathy quotient online test. Here's the link: http://glennrowe.net/BaronCohen/Empa...yQuotient.aspx

I'll go first. My results were:

Your Score = 38. Below average for empathy for women.

33 - 52 = average (most women score about 47; most men score about 42)
53 - 63 is above average
64 - 80 is very high 80 is maximum
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:50 AM
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I got a 35. There's no way that's right. I cry watching Extreme Home Makeover all the time.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:51 PM
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Default My empathy score

Your score: 63
0 - 32 = low (most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 20)
33 - 52 = average (most women score about 47 and most men score about 42)
53 - 63 is above average
64 - 80 is very high
80 is maximum
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:45 PM
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Your score: 42
0 - 32 = low (most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 20)
33 - 52 = average (most women score about 47 and most men score about 42)
53 - 63 is above average
64 - 80 is very high
80 is maximum
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:59 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Default Questions answered!

I found this test helped me begin to figure out some things I had about people's behavior that I just couldn't understand before.

Many women, on this board and elsewhere, say that they usually or always put the needs and feelings of others before their own. They put the pain or hurt or need of others ahead of their own feelings, pain, needs, and so on.

This has never made sense to me. I understand putting first the welfare of a child, or the immediate needs of others in a crisis or an emergency. And I understand the need for compromise between adults on getting needs understood and met. But I've never been able to really comprehend why many women (and it's mostly women in my experience who do this) would do this so consistently and at such a high cost (at least from my perspective) to themselves. I've never understood why knowing, communicating about and getting one's needs met was seen by many woman as behaving selfishly.

However, the test helped me realize, first, that I was lucky enough to have parents who adored me AND who helped me create strong boundaries of self. This may seem obvious but I know some people, again usually women, who struggle with boundaries of self - knowing where one begins and ends, what is oneself and what is someone else.

Second, I'm fairly low on empathy for a woman. I'm empathetic but it often starts intellectually, rather than a bone deep knowing what someone else is feeling. I've learned this, rather than just know it the way many of my friends, including Beloved, seem to.

Finally, if I was highly empathetic, then I would feel others pain as my own. And I would certainly do what I had to ease or erase that pain, to ease my pain as well as to help someone else. I've never understood that about people who are very empathetic before. It's been really helpful to me!
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:42 AM
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My score: 52

Hmm, somewhat interesting. However, I think many of the questions about social situations are not necessarily an indicator of empathy. Every situation is unique and I'm comfortable in some more than others. I also think I won't always include or invite people to be part of something if I sense that they really want to be left alone. And comforting someone, I've learned, is sometimes detrimental to their ability to process feelings unfettered and undistracted by someone's "comforting" touch. Sometimes ya gotta let people feel what they feel and cry it all out without trying to make them feel better. So I wonder how such nuances would affect an empathy score.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:37 PM
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Eek. I got 32. That's weird, I'd always thought of myself as rather empathetic. I mean, I don't cry about other people's problems unless they're very close to me and they're hurting a lot, but... I care, damn it!
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Old 06-22-2011, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vixtresses View Post
Eek. I got 32. That's weird, I'd always thought of myself as rather empathetic. I mean, I don't cry about other people's problems unless they're very close to me and they're hurting a lot, but... I care, damn it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
. . . I'm fairly low on empathy for a woman. I'm empathetic but it often starts intellectually, rather than a bone deep knowing what someone else is feeling. I've learned this, rather than just know it the way many of my friends, including Beloved, seem to.

Finally, if I was highly empathetic, then I would feel others pain as my own. And I would certainly do what I had to ease or erase that pain, to ease my pain as well as to help someone else. I've never understood that about people who are very empathetic before.
Not being very empathetic does not mean not caring. It just means the ability to identify with someone else's feelings. In other words, if you are highly empathetic, you can easily imagine what they're going through as if you are "in their shoes."

If you've experienced numerous emotional states yourself, or a wide range of feelings, you can have a gut sense about someone else's. Basically, you can understand their point of view and/or their state of being from your own emotional storehouse in a way that evokes a sense of camaraderie or oneness. When people are younger and perhaps haven't had a lot of similar experiences, or haven't (for whatever reason) felt the same depth of emotions as someone else has, it is not as easy to empathize.

We all have the ability to quickly remember events or instances in our lives and we form emotional associations to them as a form of survival, so that we can recognize and handle similar future situations. By "reliving" the feelings again, we can adjust our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. So, if you've been disrespected in a certain way, or achieved a certain kind of success, then it is very easy to relate to another person else who has also been disrespected in the same or a similar way, or achieved success similarly -- because our brains have stored the experience as a way to be on the lookout for such things in the future (our survival) .

So, awareness of our own feelings and sensitivity is part of empathy, too. But I think empathy also has to do with how much we protect ourselves from letting others in. Even if we have allowed ourselves to deeply experience lots of emotions, and even if we're very sensitive, if we guard ourselves against pain or being vulnerable, that would also create a bit of a barrier that makes it harder to empathize. To be very empathetic means that one is willing and open to experience his or her own emotions without distracting or numbing ourselves to them. Certain situations might be easier to empathize with than others. One can still be extremely caring and nurturing without a high level of empathy. And, naturally, our ability to empathize increases as we gain experiences and let ourselves feel more.

None of these things, by the way are bad or good or more/less evolved. They just are. We all protect ourselves in the ways we feel we must.

I doubt that anyone is really a zero on the empathy scale, unless there's some imbalance or damage in the brain.
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Last edited by nycindie; 06-22-2011 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:20 PM
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That makes sense. I know I am empathetic in certain situations. A situation a friend of mine was in recently made me feel almost as though I really were in that situation. I hurt for her, wished I could ease her pain and lighten her load, and thought of her often. But that doesn't happen with everybody, and it doesn't happen in all situations. I think you're right; it depends what I've experienced in life and what emotions I've felt.

On a more intellectual side, I can fairly easily listen to what someone is saying and try to see things more or less from their point of view, but that's not so much an emotional process or gut feeling for me as a mental exercise.
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:58 PM
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There is an awesome website called differencebetween.net where there are all kinds of articles that simply explain the differences between things. They have an article there about the difference between sympathy and empathy. I just thought people interested in this thread might also find it interesting:

Difference Between Sympathy and Empathy
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