What Simon Baron Cohen has been saying for ages

If you often sit on a train pondering how the rail networks are coordinated then you are more likely to be male, new research suggests.

Likewise if friends often come to you with their problems, then chances are you’re a woman.

In the biggest ever study examining differences between the sexes, scientists have concluded that women really are more empathetic while men are more analytical and logical.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge tested more than 680,000 people and found that on average women have a greater ability to recognise what another person is thinking intuitively and respond appropriately.

On the other hand men have a stronger drive to view the world through ‘rule-based systems’,…

On the other hand, given that this is Cambridge, it might actually be Baron Cohen.

22 comments on “What Simon Baron Cohen has been saying for ages

  1. Quelle bullshit. Everyone knows that there are no differences, cognitive or biological, between those at different loci of the gender spectrum. [ -snark ]

  2. My favourite one of those pictures of a couple in bed with the woman worrying that the chap is thinking of other women etc, has his thought bubble saying
    “I wonder how flies land upside down ?”

  3. This may explain the greater percentage of males in STEM subjects. Programming, for instance, is highly rules-based; compilers don’t really care much about your feelings.

  4. Just don’t quote this peer reviewed research from a world class university if you happen to work in IT, for the government or in a large corporation, you’ll be fired.

  5. “Likewise if friends often come to you with their problems, then chances are you’re a woman.”

    And God help’em if they do. Years of experience have taught me that women are remarkably bad at seeing things from any point of view, other than their own. So ask advice from a woman & you’re likely to be told what is good for her & not you.

    And I can even think of a reason for this. Humans evolved as hunter gathers. With division of labour. Males hunting, females gathering. There’s enormous advantage to a hunter, being able to see the hunt both from the perspective of the prey & the perspective of other hunters he’s cooperating with. Getting into the mind of a plant, not so much. On the contrary, a degree of solipsism is an advantage for a woman. Her life centres around herself & her offspring.

    So maybe we have an explanation why fewer woman climb the greasy corporate pole. Which is modern man’s version of the hunt. They’re simply not good team players.

  6. “…found that on average women have a greater ability to recognise what another person is thinking intuitively…”.

    Which might explain my rate of success with the ladies.

  7. “And I can even think of a reason for this. Humans evolved as hunter gathers. With division of labour. Males hunting, females gathering. There’s enormous advantage to a hunter, being able to see the hunt both from the perspective of the prey & the perspective of other hunters he’s cooperating with. Getting into the mind of a plant, not so much. On the contrary, a degree of solipsism is an advantage for a woman. Her life centres around herself & her offspring.”

    It also explains why women are terrible poor at co-operating with each other (in a real sense, not a superficial one) and men are pretty good at creating a functioning group to achieve goals. In order to successfully hunt a mammoth (or whatever) everyone has to work together, even if some of them can’t stand others, because if you don’t you all go hungry. Whereas the women gathering plants etc can a) operate alone, and b) if you find a good source its better to keep it to yourself – there’s every advantage to not let others (especially if you don’t like them) know where the good stuff is.

  8. ‘… scientists have concluded that women really are more empathetic.’

    Which is why 95% of nurses are female. Or maybe it proves discrimination against males

  9. Shouldn’t it be Simon, Lord Cohen? I thought the actual class was only given for higher peerages (Clarence, Earl of Emsworth, but Alfred, Lord Tennyson).

  10. Can anyone put a date to the strange replacement of “sympathy” by “empathy”? Is it the sort of thing google could teach?

  11. Likewise if friends often come to you with their problems, then chances are you’re a woman.

    This doesn’t necessarily prove that women are more empathic (they may well be so); it could equally indicate that their friends tend to be more likely to whine to them about their problems.

  12. It could also indicate that women are generally more interested in emotional problems. They find them more entertaining and worthy of their attention. Men, on the other hand, well, it’s not that they’re uninterested in emotional problems, it’s rather that they’re not interested in them as much as women are.

  13. Emotional problems are interesting because there is no end of the opportunity to natter about them. Women like that. OTOH if you like problems with a chance of a solution…

  14. djc

    As my missus used to say

    “No you bloody idiot, I want sympathy, not a solution…”

  15. ‘In the biggest ever study examining differences between the sexes, scientists have concluded that women really are more empathetic while men are more analytical and logical.’

    ‘Biggest’ being important because why?

    ‘tested more than 680,000 people’

    If the theory is true, 100 people should suffice.
    The fact that they ‘tested’ 680,000 tells me it was a game, not real research.

  16. @ Gamecock
    Threy knew that the “equalities” industry would denounce their result and try to rubbish their research so they made it an outsize sample so that they could say “this is the biggest ever experiment and carries more weight than any made-uop stories”.
    Of course they knew the answer before they started because it’s been statring everyone in the face for thousands of years.

  17. Ah, now we know that it *was* Simon Baron-Cohen

    https://theconversation.com/extreme-male-brain-theory-of-autism-confirmed-in-large-new-study-and=no-it-doesn't-mean-autistic-people-lack-empathy-or-are-more-male-106800?utm_medium-email&utm_campaign=Latest from The Conversation for November 14 2018 – 1161010501&utm_content=Latest from The Conversation for November 14 2018 – 116101010501+CID_de3cb7fabec2d7b40abc84083c67d56&utm_source=
    No, just go to “The Conversation” and look for stuff dated 14th November.

    Anyhow the reason for the vast numbers was to get an adequate sample of people on the various chunks of the autistic spectrum.

  18. If you are sitting on a train and you KNOW how the rail networks are coordinated, then you are 100% likely to be male!

    (And you’ll be thinking of something else, like will that woman in a short skirt sitting opposite and fidgetting just ….

  19. @ Excavator Man
    Not if you’re autistic: you will be calculating whether the delay due to points failure will make you miss your connection.

  20. Sounds to me like the usual mistake of trying to make something out of a couple of factors in a system has multiple factors.
    And I be fascinated to know how they’re defining “empathy” in a concept has such a wide range of applications.
    I’d go along with women generally having a greater ability to appreciate the emotional state of others, than men do. But women tend to value emotions higher than men. So they’re more interested. But that doesn’t imply any understanding of the reasons behind those emotions. What’s causing them.
    On the ability to model another person’s thinking, I’d give you one word. Poker. The cards dealt only provide the terrain the poker battle’s played out on. The important thing is how a player “reads” his opponents. His. You can count the top women poker players on the fingers of one foot.
    How did they research over half a million subjects, anyway? Ask them to self score themselves for “empathy”. Any woman will tell you she “understands” other people better than a man because they spend all their time telling each other they can. “But I know he really loves me” she said, as they carried her to the ambulance.

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