Saturday, May 29, 2010

mad world news

College Students Are Less Empathic Than Generations Past: Scientific American Podcast: "a study of 14,000 college students found that today’s young people are 40 percent less empathetic than college kids from 30 years ago."

Observations: People with Asperger's less likely to see purpose behind the events in their lives


  1. I keep reading that as "teleological nonsense" instead of "teleological response". Must be my atheistic roots showing.

  2. I totally get that.

    I found the article fascinating 'cause I come out half-aspie on Asperger tests, and my religious views are so odd that I could be called a Christian atheist. (I think Christian agnostic is better, 'cause I accept the possibility that there might be something after death, but if there is, I don't think it looks anything like what conservative Christians describe, and if I'm wrong, no big. It's this life that matters.)

  3. It is an interesting article.

    I suspect the difference in response actually has to do with the way Aspies are interpreting the questions. If you think of "Why?" as being essentially "What caused this specific event to happen?", responding with the proximate cause (e.g. I caught a virus, I lost my balance, the bolt rusted) is logical. On the other hand, if you think of "Why?" as being essentially "What was the overarching reason for this specific event to happen?" responding with some purpose that it may have served is logical (e.g. God hates me, I was supposed to be in front of that train, the government needed a collapsed bridge to scare people into obedience). For relative values of "logical", of course.

    It's quite possible that rewording the questions would result in more teleological responses from Aspies. Especially the religious ones.

  4. Excellent point about rewording questions. I often wonder about how questions are weighted, but I hadn't thought about how that could be especially true in a case like this.