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A Genetic Marker for Empathy?
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The Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). Credit: Wikimedia Commons. 
The more you empathize with the world, the more you feel its joy and pain, but too much can lead to overload.
The Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). Credit: Wikimedia Commons. The more you empathize with the world, the more you feel its joy and pain, but too much can lead to overload.
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One of my interests is affective empathy, the involuntary desire not only to understand another person’s emotional state but also to make it one’s own—in short, to feel the pain and joy of other people. This mental trait has a heritability of 68% and is normally distributed along a bell curve within any one population (Chakrabarti and Baron-Cohen, 2013). Does it also vary statistically among human populations? This is possible. Different cultures give varying importance to affective empathy, and humans have adapted much more to their cultural environments than to their natural environments. This is why human genetic evolution accelerated over 100-fold about 10,000 years ago when humans began to abandon hunting and gathering for farming, which in turn led to increasingly diverse forms of social organization (Hawks et al., 2007).

I have argued previously that Europeans to the north and west of the Hajnal Line (an imaginary line running from Trieste to Saint-Petersburg) have adapted to a cultural environment of weaker kinship and, conversely, greater individualism. In such an environment, the reciprocal obligations of kinship are insufficient to ensure compliance with social rules. This isn’t a new situation. Weak kinship is inherent to the Western European Marriage Pattern, which goes back to at least the 12th century, if not earlier.

This cultural environment has selected for a package of mental adaptations:

  • capacity to internalize punishment for disobedience of social rules (guilt proneness)
  • capacity to simulate and then transfer to oneself the emotional states of people who may be affected by rule-breaking (affective empathy)
  • desire to seek out and expel rule-breakers from the moral community (ideological intolerance).

The above mental package has enabled Northwest Europeans to free themselves from the limitations of kinship and organize their societies along other lines, notably the market economy, the modern State, and political ideology. They have thus managed to meet the threefold challenge of creating larger societies, ensuring greater compliance with social rules, and making possible a higher level of personal autonomy.

So much for the theory. What direct evidence do we have that affective empathy is stronger on average in Northwest Europeans? We know that a higher capacity for affective empathy is associated with a larger amygdala, which seems to control our response to facial expressions of fear and other signs of emotional distress (Marsh et al., 2014). Two studies, one American and one English, have found that “conservatives” tend to have a larger right amygdala (Kanai et al., 2011; Schreiber et al., 2013). In both cases, my hunch is that “conservatives” are disproportionately drawn from populations that have, on average, a higher capacity for affective empathy.

But testing this kind of hunch would require a large-scale comparative study, which in turn would require cutting up a lot of cadavers or doing a lot of MRIs. It would be nicer to have a genetic marker that shows up on a simple test. It would also be cheaper.

We may now have that marker: a deletion variant of the ADRA2bgene. Carriers remember emotionally arousing images more vividly and for a longer time, and they also show more activation of the amygdala when viewing such images (Todd and Anderson, 2009;Todd et al., 2015). This is not to say that the ADRA2b deletion variant is the sole reason or even the major reason why some people have increased capacity for affective empathy. As with intelligence, an increase in capacity seems to have come about through changes of small effect at many genes.

Nor can we say that “emotional memory” is equivalent to affective empathy. Instead, it seems to be one component, albeit a critical one: the capacity to imagine an emotional state based on visual information (a picture of a person’s face, a puppy dog, etc.) and then keep it as part of one’s current emotional experience. Emotional memory may be upstream to affective empathy, being perhaps closer to cognitive empathy—the ability to imagine how another person feels without involuntarily making that feeling one’s own.

Does its incidence differ among human populations?

This variant was first studied in the United States. Small et al. (2001) found a higher incidence in Caucasians (31%) than in African Americans (12%). Belfer et al. (2005) likewise found a higher incidence in Caucasians (37%) than in African Americans (21%).

In a press release, the authors of the latest study noted that this variant is not equally common in all humans:

The ADRA2b deletion variant appears in varying degrees across different ethnicities. Although roughly 50 per cent of the Caucasian population studied by these researchers in Canada carry the genetic variation, it has been found to be prevalent in other ethnicities. For example, one study found that just 10 per cent of Rwandans carried the ADRA2b gene variant. (UBC News, 2015)

Curiously, its incidence seems higher among “Canadian Caucasians” (50%) than among “American Caucasians” (31-37%). This may reflect differences in participant recruitment or in ethnic mix between the two countries. Indeed, the “Caucasian” category may prove to be problematic because it includes people from both sides of the Hajnal Line. If the average incidence is 31% to 50%, there may be populations that score much higher.

I have found only three studies on specific European ethnicities. The first study found an incidence of 50% in Swiss participants (de Quervain, 2007). The second one found an incidence of 56% in Dutch participants (Cousijn et al., 2010). The third one had two groups of participants: Israeli Holocaust survivors and a control group of European-born Israelis who had emigrated with their parents to the British Mandate of Palestine. The incidence was 48% in the Holocaust survivors and 63% in the controls (Fridman et al., 2012).

From East Asia, a study on Chinese participants reported an incidence of 68% (Zhang et al., 2005). This is surprising because Chinese seem less likely to distinguish between cognitive empathy and affective empathy (Siu and Shek,2005). Japanese participants had an incidence of 56% in one study (Suzuki et al., 2003) and 71% in another (Ishii et al., 2015). Among the Shors, a Turkic people of Siberia, the incidence was 73%. Curiously, the incidence was higher in men (79%) than in women (69%). It may be that male non-carriers had a higher death rate, since the incidence increased with age (Mulerova et al., 2015).

Conclusion

The picture is still incomplete but the incidence of the ADRA2bdeletion variant seems to range from a low of 10% in some sub-Saharan African groups to a high of 50-65% in some European groups and 55-75% in some East Asian groups. Given the high values for East Asians, I suspect this variant is not a marker for affective empathy per se but rather for empathy in general (cognitive and affective).

It may be significant that a high incidence was found among the Shors, who were largely hunter-gatherers until recent times. This suggests that empathy reached high levels in Eurasia long before the advent of complex societies, or even farming. The example of the Shors also suggests that non-carriers of the deletion variant suffer from higher mortality—a somewhat surprising finding, given the evidence that carriers have a higher risk of heart disease.

More research is needed on how this variant interacts with variants at other genes. For instance, it has been found that people with at least one copy of the short allele of 5-HTTLPR tend to be too sensitive to negative emotional information. This effect seems to be attenuated by the deletion variant of ADRA2b, which either keeps one from dwelling too much on a bad emotional experience or helps one anticipate and prevent repeat experiences (Naudts et al., 2012). Nonetheless, too much affective empathy may lead to an overload where one ends up helping others to the detriment of oneself and one’s family and kin.

References

Belfer, I., B. Buzas, H. Hipp, G. Phillips, J. Taubman, I. Lorincz, C. Evans, R.H. Lipsky, M.-A. Enoch, M.B. Max, and D. Goldman. (2005). Haplotype-based analysis of alpha 2A, 2B, and 2C adrenergic receptor genes captures information on common functional loci at each gene. Journal of Human Genetics, 50, 12-20.
http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mary_Anne_Enoch/publication/8134892_Haplotype-based_analysis_of_alpha_2A_2B_and_2C_adrenergic_receptor_genes_captures_information_on_common_functional_loci_at_each_gene/links/02e7e53559c67a2c02000000.pdf

Chakrabarti, B. and S. Baron-Cohen. (2013). Understanding the genetics of empathy and the autistic spectrum, in S. Baron-Cohen, H. Tager-Flusberg, M. Lombardo. (eds). Understanding Other Minds: Perspectives from Developmental Social Neuroscience. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
http://books.google.ca/books?hl=fr&lr=&id=eTdLAAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA326&ots=fHpygaxaMQ&sig=_sJsVgdoe0hc-fFbzaW3GMEslZU#v=onepage&q&f=false

Cousijn, H., M. Rijpkema, S. Qin, H.J.F. van Marle, B. Franke, E.J. Herman, G. van Wingen, and G. Fernández. (2010). Acute stress modulates genotype effects on amygdala processing in humans.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., 107, 9867-9872.
http://www.pnas.org/content/107/21/9867.full.pdf

de Quervain, D.J. F., I.-T. Kolassa, V. Ertl, L.P. Onyut, F. Neuner, T. Elbert, and A. Papassotiropoulos. (2007). A deletion variant of the alpha2b-adrenoceptor is related to emotional memory in Europeans and Africans. Nature Neuroscience, 10, 1137-1139.
http://kops.uni-konstanz.de/handle/123456789/10686

Fridman, A., M.H. van IJzendoorn, A. Sagi-Schwartz, and M.J. Bakermans-Kranenburg. (2012). Genetic moderation of cortisol secretion in Holocaust survivors: A pilot study on the role of ADRA2B. International Journal of Behavioral Development. 36, 79
http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Abraham_Sagi-Schwartz/publication/230887396_Genetic_moderation_of_cortisol_secretion_in_Holocaust_survivors__A_pilot_study_on_the_role_of_ADRA2B/links/0912f505c75bb4a01d000000.pdf

Hawks, J., E.T. Wang, G.M. Cochran, H.C. Harpending, and R.K. Moyzis. (2007). Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 104, 20753-20758.
http://harpending.humanevo.utah.edu/Documents/accel_pnas_submit.pdf

Ishii, M., H. Katoh, T. Kurihara, and S. Shimizu. (2015). Catechol-O-methyl transferase gene polymorphisms in Japanese patients with medication overuse headaches. JSM Genetics and Genomics, 2(1), 1-4.
http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Masakazu_Ishii/publication/273587694_Catechol-O-methyl_transferase_gene_polymorphisms_in_Japanese_patients_with_medication_overuse_headaches/links/5507e87a0cf26ff55f7f719d.pdf

Kanai, R., T. Feilden, C. Firth, and G. Rees. (2011). Political orientations are correlated with brain structure in young adults.Current Biology, 21, 677 – 680.
http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(11)00289-2

Marsh, A.A., S.A. Stoycos, K.M. Brethel-Haurwitz, P. Robinson, J.W. VanMeter, and E.M. Cardinale. (2014). Neural and cognitive characteristics of extraordinary altruists. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111, 15036-15041.
http://www.pnas.org/content/111/42/15036.short

Mulerova, T.A., A.Y. Yankin, Y.V. Rubtsova, A.A. Kuzmina, P.S. Orlov, N.P. Tatarnikova, V.N. Maksimov, M.I. Voevoda, and M.Y. Ogarkov. (2015). Association of ADRA2B polymorphism with risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in native population of mountain Shoria. Bulletin of Siberian Medicine, 14, 29-34.
http://bulletin.tomsk.ru/index.php/bsm/article/viewFile/244/197

Naudts, K.H., R.T. Azevedo, A.S. David, K. van Heeringen, and A.A. Gibbs. (2012). Epistasis between 5-HTTLPR and ADRA2B polymorphisms influences attentional bias for emotional information in healthy volunteers. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 15, 1027-1036.
http://ijnp.oxfordjournals.org/content/15/8/1027.abstract

Schreiber, D., Fonzo, G., Simmons, A.N., Dawes, C.T., Flagan, T., et al. (2013). Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans. PLoS ONE, 8(2): e52970.
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0052970

Siu, A.M.H. and D.T. L. Shek. (2005). Validation of the Interpersonal Reactivity Index in a Chinese Context. Research on Social Work Practice, 15, 118-126.
http://rsw.sagepub.com/content/15/2/118.short

Small, K.M., and S.B. Liggett. (2001) Identification and functional characterization of alpha(2)-adrenoceptor polymorphisms. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 22, 471-477.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165614700017582

Suzuki N, Matsunaga T, Nagasumi K, Yamamura T, Shihara N, Moritani T, et al. (2003). a2B adrenergic receptor deletion polymorphism associates with autonomic nervous system activity in young healthy Japanese. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 88, 1184-1187.
http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tetsuro_Matsunaga/publication/10863380_Alpha(2B)-adrenergic_receptor_deletion_polymorphism_associates_with_autonomic_nervous_system_activity_in_young_healthy_Japanese/links/00b7d530379a0f06bf000000.pdf

Todd, R.M. and A.K. Anderson. (2009). The neurogenetics of remembering emotions past. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., 106, 18881-18882
http://www.pnas.org/content/106/45/18881.short

Todd, R.M., M.R. Ehlers, D. J. Muller, A. Robertson, D.J. Palombo, N. Freeman, B. Levine, and A.K. Anderson (2015). Neurogenetic Variations in norepinephrine availability enhance perceptual vividness. The Journal of Neuroscience, 35, 6506-6516.
http://www.jneurosci.org/content/35/16/6506.short

UBC News. (2015). How your brain reacts to emotional information is influenced by your genes, May 6
http://news.ubc.ca/2015/05/06/how-your-brain-reacts-to-emotional-information-is-influenced-by-your-genes/

Zhang, H., X. Li, J. Huang, Y. Li, L. Thijs, Z. Wang, X. Lu, K. Cao, S. Xie, J.A. Staessen, J-G. Wang. (2005). Cardiovascular and metabolic phenotypes in relation to the ADRA2B insertion/deletion polymorphism in a Chinese population. Journal of Hypertension,23, 2201-2207.
http://www.staessen.net/publications/2001-2005/05-30-P.pdf

(Republished from Evo and Proud by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Ron Unz says:

    Well, I’m absolutely no expert on this, but is there any solid evidence that East Asians have a lower innate tendency toward “affective empathy” than Northwest Europeans?

    Offhand, “affective empathy” seems to me like one of those fuzzy psychological traits that is difficult to objectively measure and is also subject to considerable cultural influence…

    Read More
    • Agree: Wizard of Oz
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    East Asians tend to regard themselves as being more empathic than Westerners, including Northwest Europeans, the Westerners they most often encounter, in much the same way that Westerners tend to regard themselves as being more empathic than East Asians.

    https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2015/06/162_180778.html

    My church friend, Rachel, who has lived in Korea for almost six years told me that Koreans don't express their thoughts clearly sometimes. Consequently, she doesn't know evidently what they want. For instance, her husband, Jonathan, asked me to go out for dinner with church members several days ago.

    Although I had my own schedule that day, I had to accept his proposal because I didn't want to disappoint and hurt him. Hence, I can say that Koreans are emotional and considerate. We tend to sacrifice our time to help our friends. However, my observations tell me that westerners are individualistic. They prefer keeping their own space and never do what they don't want to do.
     
    https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2015/07/162_183210.html

    In Korea, seniors generally pay the money for juniors when they go out together for dinner and go to the bar to hang out. I definitely say that Koreans have an immaculate virtue, which foreigners cannot think of. A senior feels the responsibility for taking care of juniors by treating them to some food using his money. The juniors meanwhile feel happier to know that their seniors are willing to care them. Later, they will show more sincerity to their seniors. I think the unilateral trade from the seniors is the steppingstone to progressing favorable friendship with the juniors.

    In a nutshell, Koreans are so generous and benevolent. I wonder if this character originates from a "collective society," in which people prefer "we" to "I."

    I think that Koreans are more polite and respectful to the old. I also think foreigners should learn from Koreans about how they treat the aged with courtesy. A British friend of mine alleged that he could punch an elderly person if he is lazy and an alcoholic, while I said that we should embrace them whatever they do.

    Westerners are even reluctant to give special favor for an old lady. For instance, when I was in Brisbane, Australia, I saw a vacant seat on the bus stop. As I was a conventional Korean man, I was supposed to yield it to the old lady who stood right next to me. At the moment I found a young lady staring at me so unkindly and sharply. She seemed to be extremely upset with me. She wanted to take the seat for herself. She never cared about the person who was at least 70.

    I think that Westerners hardly regard the elderly as important and trustworthy. Worse, they make light of them, because they are physically weak. What I am saying is that ''All men are equal" does not make sense in this regard. We should be more attentive to the old who have devoted their life to the community. They are worthy of being loved and revered whatever they are.

    On the other hand, I saw a Canadian friend in a bus who has lived in Gwangju for over 10 years. He was willing to give his seat to the old lady after finding that she was standing right behind his seat. I thought that Korean society has taught him how to respect the old and that a desirable tradition in Korea has affected him in a more positive way.
     
    , @AnonymousCoward
    Ron Unz, here's how Chakrabarti and Baron-Cohen have psychometricized empathy:

    https://psychology-tools.com/empathy-quotient/
    http://personality-testing.info/tests/EQSQ.php
    http://isik.zrc-sazu.si/doc2009/kpms/Baron-Cohen_empathy_quotient_2004.pdf

    You're right that it's fuzzy, ultimately it's a self-report thing.
    , @PandaAtWar
    Absolutely!

    I am not an expert on this either, but see Panda's intuitive response on this "effective empathy" here last year:

    http://evoandproud.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/affective-empathy-evolutionary-mistake.html
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  2. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Ron Unz
    Well, I'm absolutely no expert on this, but is there any solid evidence that East Asians have a lower innate tendency toward "affective empathy" than Northwest Europeans?

    Offhand, "affective empathy" seems to me like one of those fuzzy psychological traits that is difficult to objectively measure and is also subject to considerable cultural influence...

    East Asians tend to regard themselves as being more empathic than Westerners, including Northwest Europeans, the Westerners they most often encounter, in much the same way that Westerners tend to regard themselves as being more empathic than East Asians.

    https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2015/06/162_180778.html

    My church friend, Rachel, who has lived in Korea for almost six years told me that Koreans don’t express their thoughts clearly sometimes. Consequently, she doesn’t know evidently what they want. For instance, her husband, Jonathan, asked me to go out for dinner with church members several days ago.

    Although I had my own schedule that day, I had to accept his proposal because I didn’t want to disappoint and hurt him. Hence, I can say that Koreans are emotional and considerate. We tend to sacrifice our time to help our friends. However, my observations tell me that westerners are individualistic. They prefer keeping their own space and never do what they don’t want to do.

    https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2015/07/162_183210.html

    In Korea, seniors generally pay the money for juniors when they go out together for dinner and go to the bar to hang out. I definitely say that Koreans have an immaculate virtue, which foreigners cannot think of. A senior feels the responsibility for taking care of juniors by treating them to some food using his money. The juniors meanwhile feel happier to know that their seniors are willing to care them. Later, they will show more sincerity to their seniors. I think the unilateral trade from the seniors is the steppingstone to progressing favorable friendship with the juniors.

    In a nutshell, Koreans are so generous and benevolent. I wonder if this character originates from a “collective society,” in which people prefer “we” to “I.”

    I think that Koreans are more polite and respectful to the old. I also think foreigners should learn from Koreans about how they treat the aged with courtesy. A British friend of mine alleged that he could punch an elderly person if he is lazy and an alcoholic, while I said that we should embrace them whatever they do.

    Westerners are even reluctant to give special favor for an old lady. For instance, when I was in Brisbane, Australia, I saw a vacant seat on the bus stop. As I was a conventional Korean man, I was supposed to yield it to the old lady who stood right next to me. At the moment I found a young lady staring at me so unkindly and sharply. She seemed to be extremely upset with me. She wanted to take the seat for herself. She never cared about the person who was at least 70.

    I think that Westerners hardly regard the elderly as important and trustworthy. Worse, they make light of them, because they are physically weak. What I am saying is that ”All men are equal” does not make sense in this regard. We should be more attentive to the old who have devoted their life to the community. They are worthy of being loved and revered whatever they are.

    On the other hand, I saw a Canadian friend in a bus who has lived in Gwangju for over 10 years. He was willing to give his seat to the old lady after finding that she was standing right behind his seat. I thought that Korean society has taught him how to respect the old and that a desirable tradition in Korea has affected him in a more positive way.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art
    “I think that Koreans are more polite and respectful to the old. I also think foreigners should learn from Koreans about how they treat the aged with courtesy.”

    The idea that genetics rules all of human behavior is bogus. God gave us brains that takes in information ---- we can use that information in a logical fashion and create knowledge. That knowledge can override our biological instincts. The process leads to philosophical cultures.

    Korean respect for the aged is because of its culture - not its genetics – Koreans are Confucians – Confucian philosophy venerates the old and one’s ancestors.

    When a Korean immigrates to America his successive generations lose his Confucian philosophy. They adapted to Western philosophy. Hmm – how can this be - two thousand years of genetics are changed in two generations. Of course, it was never genetics in the first place.

    Animals have empathy – 98% of everybody has some capacity to be empathic. It is ones culture that determines how it is expressed and to what degree.
  3. I know I’m fighting against the tide here, but the word “empathy” is being misused in this article, as it very often is in general.

    The article defines empathy thus: “the involuntary desire not only to understand another person’s emotional state but also to make it one’s own—in short, to feel the pain and joy of other people.”

    The correct English word for this is “sympathy”.

    Empathy, if it is to be a useful and not entirely redundant word, is the cognizance of the feelings of others, as distinct from the sharing of those feelings.

    The word was introduced to the English language in the early 20th century by Titchener (who invented it), but its current popularity owes to the work of the post-Freudian psychotherapist, Heinz Kohut.

    Heinz Kohut explained the distinction with reference to torture and punishment: the torturer uses empathy (the ability to imagine and recognize the feelings of the other) to know how to maximize the victim’s pain, but the torturer feels little or no sympathy for the victim. Sympathy would stand in the way of the torturer’s goals.

    Empathy and sympathy don’t always go together. Besides the example of the torturer, there’s also the case of the person who feels misplaced sympathy, because they incorrectly conceive how another person feels.

    So empathy can exist without sympathy, and sympathy without real empathy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I too have long been irritated by "empathy" taking over from "sympathy" though not entirely confident in my right to pedantry. But sympathy is I think what you have "with" someone as the Greek etymology would suggest. It is about "fellow feeling".

    Empathy I seem to recall being originally encouraged to use only for projecting yourself into someone else's state of mind.

    Maybe it would be better in the current context to start with a question about what reaction(s) to others' manifestations of emotions would be likely to change people's relations with others in productive or adverse ways and to contrast this with both the presumed hunter gatherer relations over tens of thousands of years and the patriarchal authoritarian mode that was surely not uncommon amongst Middle Eastern farmers. A related question would be to try and trace a change in behaviour from the time and culture of Abraham to the settled farming days of a few hundred years later.
    , @iffen

    the torturer uses empathy (the ability to imagine and recognize the feelings of the other)
     
    This does not seem to have a lot emotional content.

    I think of sympathy has having a great deal of emotion involved.

    I can't see real connection between the two.

    It is comparing an empirical observation with a gut emotion.
  4. Bill P says:

    Peter, I recently thought of a good way to test for for affective empathy. I wrote something on Steve’s blog about an incident when a black ex-con tried to have his way with me, and described how weird I felt after he took a hit of crack in front of me. I felt physically very unsettled, despite the fact that I couldn’t have inhaled more than an inconsequential fraction of the cocaine he did.

    So I described it as a “contact high,” which is a well-known, if ambiguous, phenomenon. One reader mistook this as suggesting that I was smoking crack, too, but I surmised that he simply didn’t understand the concept of a contact high. In fact, I’ve had contact highs on several occasions, not all of which involved fight or flight type scenarios with dangerous people.

    It occurred to me that the elusive contact high is actually affective empathy in action. People who feel psychologically different around those who are under the influence of drugs probably have affective empathy. It makes perfect sense.

    So if you want to test for affective empathy, it seems to me that testing those around psychotropically altered individuals for a similar response would clue you in to who has it and who doesn’t.

    Perhaps this could put to rest the notion that affective empathy is a “fuzzy” trait. Personally, I think it might be a sexual trait. If, for example, you can “feel” when a woman’s in the mood, it gives you a much better idea of when you’ve got a shot. Maybe it evolved as a mutual arousal mechanism, which puts Nordic women’s “open” behavior in perspective (i.e. they expect you to know when they’re in the mood and when they aren’t without relying on traditional cues like clothing).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pat Casey
    I was thinking along the same two lines as I was reading this, and your experience with the black guy evokes much. Eight years year-round basketball and over three years incarcerated, we've had plenty close contact. I was going to say a contact high depends on them more than you entirely, them high you sober, and what I think about blacks is that they have more spirit, defined as something that can be exuded and received, so I'm no wise surprised you got high. (I'm a literary guy, not science, but whats vague is not nothing, and what can't be measured can still be felt, so forgive my "spirit" and trust my individual empiricism.) IQ Tests are perfectly fair to blacks; I don't believe for a second these emotional tests can be, though I know not how they are administered at all. But I know a lot of gangster rap, and I know what fisticuffs from Africa feel like, and I've known three salt u da earth women well enough, and a bunch of other stuff, and their emotions are just better called spirit. To say that they have precious little affective empathy means nothing. Functionally speaking, their societies reflect the fact that spirit has a spectrum that spans a kind of empathy to raw aggression, I would say. Peter Frost is brilliant, but this paper is perfectly innocent racism qua ignorance. I take the r word back but you know what I mean.

    Gotta run but the second thing was I believe its got to be a sex trait too.
  5. @Ron Unz
    Well, I'm absolutely no expert on this, but is there any solid evidence that East Asians have a lower innate tendency toward "affective empathy" than Northwest Europeans?

    Offhand, "affective empathy" seems to me like one of those fuzzy psychological traits that is difficult to objectively measure and is also subject to considerable cultural influence...

    Ron Unz, here’s how Chakrabarti and Baron-Cohen have psychometricized empathy:

    https://psychology-tools.com/empathy-quotient/

    http://personality-testing.info/tests/EQSQ.php

    http://isik.zrc-sazu.si/doc2009/kpms/Baron-Cohen_empathy_quotient_2004.pdf

    You’re right that it’s fuzzy, ultimately it’s a self-report thing.

    Read More
  6. A fascinating early step perhaps. Without retracting agreement from Ron’s points I would be keen to learn of a lot of follow up studies, including other genes and their prevalence, distribution and sometimes multiple effects, but especially wrt just-so stories as hypotheses to be tested. Leaping out to be assessed is some reason why Africans wouldn’t have evolved the same variants as Asian hunter gatherers or the NW European people if the latter are found by testing ancient DNA to have had the variant for more than the last 8000 years or so. Come to think of it the time frame for selection for the variant is going to be critical for following up PF’s line of speculation.

    I was trying to add this as a separate comment. I may be missing something through lack of the attention I would give to something I know a lot about but do I correctly infer that the old kinship emphasis to the SE – but weren’t they farmers anyway? – is consistent with families not really caring much what other members feel as long as they do as they are told or otherwise conform?

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  7. When Siu and Shek (2005) studied empathy in a Chinese sample ranging from 18 to 29 years of age, they found that the participants made little distinction between cognitive empathy and affective (emotional) empathy. These two components seemed to be weakly differentiated from each other. In short, the Chinese participants could see things from another person’s perspective and understand how that person felt. There is much less indication, however, that they involuntarily experienced the feelings of other people, especially feelings of distress.

    This is consistent with other research, going back to Ruth Benedict’s study on the Japanese, that East Asian societies rely much more on shame than on guilt to regulate social behavior.

    Guilt proneness and affective empathy are closely related, so much so that some authors use the term “empathic guilt.” In both cases, one’s behavior is submitted to an “internal judge” — a mental representation of oneself and others — and this “judge” metes out appropriate emotional incentives, including “punishment”, to ensure correct behavior.

    Offhand, “affective empathy” seems to me like one of those fuzzy psychological traits that is difficult to objectively measure and is also subject to considerable cultural influence…

    ‘No’ on both counts. Affective empathy has been extensively studied and shows a heritability of 68%. There have been several twin studies, including some that have looked for age effects. Affective empathy is a mental construct that is distinct from cognitive empathy and prosocial behavior. See the review of the subject by Chakrabarti and Baron-Cohen. (2013).

    The sequence of mental events that gives rise to affective empathy has been studied by Carr et al. (2003).

    Carr, L., M. Iacoboni, M-C. Dubeau, J.C. Mazziotta, and G.L. Lenzi. (2003). Neural mechanisms of empathy in humans: A relay from neural systems for imitation to limbic areas, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 100, 5497-5502.

    http://www.ucp.pt/site/resources/documents/ICS/GNC/ArtigosGNC/AlexandreCastroCaldas/7_CaIaDuMaLe03.pdf

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  8. Almost all the most virtuous psychological traits, are idealized by psychology and applied in a politically skewed cultural context. Empathy is an extremely idealized feature. The vast majority of people, and most hbd’ers, as it should not be otherwise, are only partially empathic. That is, most tend to project on the other, putting in its place. But they tend to do it mirrored way, and if it was me **

    Most do not try to understand what the other is feeling, why this feeling, the causes and circumstances. Clinical psychology is based on this error, psychologists stand in the place of his patients, but mirrored way, and if it were me ** He never tries to see the side of the patient, because it is always self-projecting and imagining in context social. I’m like that, and that’s fine, if I try, he may also be, like me.

    Family problems are also based on self-projection. The father wants his son to be like him. Often this will be a reality when there is similarity in personality and (+) cognition (intelligence). But when there is no similarity, it will be a torment for the child because the father will make the partially empathic approach.

    East Asians do not seem more empathetic than Europeans, but differently. Empathy (or partial empathy) Asian, it tends to give based on their greater collective civility, although to be very emotionally apathetic, they can also be modulated for the cold behavior, as has happened in China.

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  9. jeppo says:

    If the Chinese, Japanese, Siberians and Israelis have a higher average incidence of the “empathy gene” than the Swiss, Dutch, Canadians and Americans, then the Hajnal Line and the Western European Marriage Pattern don’t really tell us much about the evolution of affective empathy.

    On the other hand, in the real world Northwest Europeans seem to be far more empathetic on average than East Asians or Jews. The former suffer from a pathological altruism–particularly with regards to outgroup immigration–that seems to be mostly absent from the latter, so maybe the deletion variant of the ADRA2b gene isn’t the most reliable marker of an empathetic mindset.

    The Hajnal Line divides Europe into a Roman-German west and a mostly-Slavic east, based on lower and later marriage rates and lower fertility in the west. This pattern probably started in the Frankish heartland between the Rhine and the Seine along with manorialism, then spread to areas conquered by the Carolingians (France, the Low Countries, most of Germany, Northern Italy), and then finally to neighbouring areas under Frankish influence (Northern Iberia, Britain, Scandinavia, the eastern German lands).

    The parts of Eastern Europe west of the Hajnal Line (Czech Republic, western and northern Poland, coastal areas of the Baltic States) were heavily Germanized from the Middle Ages right up until 1945. The parts of Western Europe with higher and earlier marriage rates and higher fertility, were generally the ethnic outliers: non-Indo-European Finland, Celtic Ireland, and the areas of Southern Iberia and Southern Italy that were long under Moorish and/or Byzantine rule.

    So the Western European Marriage Pattern was essentially an ethnic marker: from a Frankish core it expanded to include all the Latin and Germanic lands, but no further. Did this pattern lead to the traits (individualism, guilt proneness, empathy, trustworthiness) that we find in Northwest Europeans today? Maybe, partially. But I think there are three main problems in using the Hajnal Line to define the boundaries of Northwest Europe:

    1) The exclusion of Austria

    For some reason the Hajnal Line is shown as beginning well to the south of Trieste, then jogging to the northwest before turning northeast towards St Petersburg. By doing this it excludes the bulk of Austria, including Vienna. Are we to believe that Vienna–for many centuries the largest city as well as the political, economic and cultural hub of Germany–had a completely different pattern of marriage and fertility than all the other German-speaking lands?

    That seems very unlikely, to say the least. But even if were true at some point in the Middle Ages, Austria today clearly clusters with the rest of Northwest Europe in every measurement you could possibly name. Austria is just as ‘German’ as Bavaria or Saxony, so if it is excluded from Northwest Europe because it (allegedly) falls to the east of the Hajnal Line, then you might as well exclude Germany, and Switzerland too. And that makes no sense at all.

    2) The exclusion of Finland and Ireland

    I don’t dispute that these two countries did in fact have historically different patterns of marriage and fertility from the rest of Northwest Europe. But I would argue that both countries have so thoroughly assimilated to Scandinavian and Anglo-American cultural norms respectively, that their falling outside the Hajnal Line is basically irrelevant today, and that both should definitely be considered integral parts of Northwest Europe.

    Finland was under Swedish rule for nearly 700 years, and even when it was transferred to Russian control Swedish remained the sole official language of Finland for the next 50 years. Swedish is still a co-official language in Finland, and Swedish-Finns have played a hugely outsized role in all aspects of Finnish life: politics, the military, industry, trade, art, architecture, literature, science, music, and on and on, arguably even more so than Finnish-Finns have. And Finland since independence, especially since 1945, has aligned itself ever more closely with the rest of Scandinavia, so much so that it has at least partially subsumed its sovereignty to the Nordic Council, along with Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

    Ireland has been partially or wholly under British control from 1169 AD right up to the present day. There has been so much mixing between British and Irish that the British Isles as a whole are generally considered to be a single genetic cluster. When Southern Ireland achieved independence after WWI, they tried to assert their Celticness and Catholicism to differentiate themselves from the Brits. But linguistically this has been a total failure: 100% of the Irish speak English, and Gaelic has been reduced to a folkloric language, almost completely unused in daily life. Religiously, this worked for a while, but this year’s gay marriage referendum (62% said yes) put the final nail in the coffin of Ireland’s once-rigid Catholicism. And since the rise of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ beginning in the 1980s, Ireland has been basically indistinguishable economically, politically and culturally with the rest of the English-speaking world.

    3) The inclusion of the Latin nations

    France and most of Italy, Spain and Portugal fall within the Hajnal Line. But these four nations don’t really cluster with Northwest Europe in terms of language, religion, culture, politics, economics, or even basic geography. Instead, I believe they form their own distinct Mediterranean-Latin-Catholic sub-civilization in Southwest Europe, as opposed to the Nordic-Germanic-Protestant leitkultur in the Northwest and the Alpine-Slavic-Orthodox one in the East.

    The division of Europe into three parts is apparent in something as basic (and culturally important) as each region’s tipple of choice: in the Northwest it’s beer, in the Southwest wine, and in the East vodka. We can see the same pattern in any international measurement of living standards, with the Northwest European nations all clustering near the top, followed by the Southwest and then the East. Some of the East’s lagging is no doubt due to the lingering after effects of communism, but I think the same Northwest-Southwest-East order ranking can be found in the psychological traits listed above (individualism, guilt proneness, empathy and trustworthiness).

    So basically what I’m arguing is that the Hajnal Line shouldn’t be used to define Northwest Europe. Instead, a linguistic definition makes a lot more sense. The 18 Germanic nations of Europe and their overseas offshoots, including Austria, Finland and Ireland, but not France, Italy, Spain or Portugal, make up the Northwest European sub-civilization.

    English: UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
    German: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein
    Scandinavian: Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland
    Dutch: Netherlands, Belgium

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    It would be very interesting to see if there was any significant correlation between those three groups and the prevalence of any possibly important alleles.
    , @szopen
    Austria is founded on previous Slavic lands and its "Slavic" character was often commented upon by others; today, also genetically Austria shares a lot with Slavic people. I'd say you are trying to include Austria not because of any scientific reason, but simply because you WANT reality to conform to your petty theory.

    Not to mention Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia are not orthodox countries; historically there were times when they were either beer or wine cultures; and nowadays those countries are again more and more beer-oriented.

    Time for personal anecdote: Frankly from my interaction wih English, French, German and Slavic, I always had the best time spent together with other Slavs AND Germans (to my surprise, because in my youth my stereotype of Germans were arrogant, cruel, boring and uncreative). I often couldn't find common tongue with English and French, but in every conference I went to I had fun time with Germans.
  10. Conservatives have higher affective empathy? I would’ve expected the exact opposite: liberals experience more (at least for non-family members).

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  11. Biff says:

    In both cases, my hunch is that “conservatives” are disproportionately drawn from populations that have, on average, a higher capacity for affective empathy.

    My hunch is the opposite – for whatever that’s worth…

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  12. Biff says:

    In both cases, my hunch is that “conservatives” are disproportionately drawn from populations that have, on average, a higher capacity for affective empathy.

    Love the fetus, hate the baby..

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  13. @Hobbesian Meliorist
    I know I'm fighting against the tide here, but the word "empathy" is being misused in this article, as it very often is in general.

    The article defines empathy thus: "the involuntary desire not only to understand another person’s emotional state but also to make it one’s own—in short, to feel the pain and joy of other people."

    The correct English word for this is "sympathy".

    Empathy, if it is to be a useful and not entirely redundant word, is the cognizance of the feelings of others, as distinct from the sharing of those feelings.

    The word was introduced to the English language in the early 20th century by Titchener (who invented it), but its current popularity owes to the work of the post-Freudian psychotherapist, Heinz Kohut.

    Heinz Kohut explained the distinction with reference to torture and punishment: the torturer uses empathy (the ability to imagine and recognize the feelings of the other) to know how to maximize the victim's pain, but the torturer feels little or no sympathy for the victim. Sympathy would stand in the way of the torturer's goals.

    Empathy and sympathy don't always go together. Besides the example of the torturer, there's also the case of the person who feels misplaced sympathy, because they incorrectly conceive how another person feels.

    So empathy can exist without sympathy, and sympathy without real empathy.

    I too have long been irritated by “empathy” taking over from “sympathy” though not entirely confident in my right to pedantry. But sympathy is I think what you have “with” someone as the Greek etymology would suggest. It is about “fellow feeling”.

    Empathy I seem to recall being originally encouraged to use only for projecting yourself into someone else’s state of mind.

    Maybe it would be better in the current context to start with a question about what reaction(s) to others’ manifestations of emotions would be likely to change people’s relations with others in productive or adverse ways and to contrast this with both the presumed hunter gatherer relations over tens of thousands of years and the patriarchal authoritarian mode that was surely not uncommon amongst Middle Eastern farmers. A related question would be to try and trace a change in behaviour from the time and culture of Abraham to the settled farming days of a few hundred years later.

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  14. This isn’t my field so I’m only competent to observe but it seems that the marker under study is not strongly sex-linked.

    I have spent a lot of time in East Asia and my conclusion is that the women have considerable “cognitive empathy” whereas the males do not. Certainly one would anticipate that cognitive empathy on the part of women (but not of men) in a sexist society would be a survival imperative whereas, perhaps,”affective empathy” would be a waste of time! East Asian women frequently complain that their men lack “sensitivity to their feelings” and are often drawn to Westerners: particularly northwest Europeans – your Hajnal Liners – who, they claim, have more “understanding”. Nevertheless, affective empathy doesn’t appear to be strongly marked in East Asian women.

    There is a general tendency among East Asians to bottle up emotions – it’s unseemly to display them: this has given rise, I suppose, to the Western stereotype of oriental inscrutability.

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  15. @jeppo
    If the Chinese, Japanese, Siberians and Israelis have a higher average incidence of the "empathy gene" than the Swiss, Dutch, Canadians and Americans, then the Hajnal Line and the Western European Marriage Pattern don't really tell us much about the evolution of affective empathy.

    On the other hand, in the real world Northwest Europeans seem to be far more empathetic on average than East Asians or Jews. The former suffer from a pathological altruism--particularly with regards to outgroup immigration--that seems to be mostly absent from the latter, so maybe the deletion variant of the ADRA2b gene isn't the most reliable marker of an empathetic mindset.

    The Hajnal Line divides Europe into a Roman-German west and a mostly-Slavic east, based on lower and later marriage rates and lower fertility in the west. This pattern probably started in the Frankish heartland between the Rhine and the Seine along with manorialism, then spread to areas conquered by the Carolingians (France, the Low Countries, most of Germany, Northern Italy), and then finally to neighbouring areas under Frankish influence (Northern Iberia, Britain, Scandinavia, the eastern German lands).

    The parts of Eastern Europe west of the Hajnal Line (Czech Republic, western and northern Poland, coastal areas of the Baltic States) were heavily Germanized from the Middle Ages right up until 1945. The parts of Western Europe with higher and earlier marriage rates and higher fertility, were generally the ethnic outliers: non-Indo-European Finland, Celtic Ireland, and the areas of Southern Iberia and Southern Italy that were long under Moorish and/or Byzantine rule.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/Hajnal_line.JPG

    So the Western European Marriage Pattern was essentially an ethnic marker: from a Frankish core it expanded to include all the Latin and Germanic lands, but no further. Did this pattern lead to the traits (individualism, guilt proneness, empathy, trustworthiness) that we find in Northwest Europeans today? Maybe, partially. But I think there are three main problems in using the Hajnal Line to define the boundaries of Northwest Europe:

    1) The exclusion of Austria

    For some reason the Hajnal Line is shown as beginning well to the south of Trieste, then jogging to the northwest before turning northeast towards St Petersburg. By doing this it excludes the bulk of Austria, including Vienna. Are we to believe that Vienna--for many centuries the largest city as well as the political, economic and cultural hub of Germany--had a completely different pattern of marriage and fertility than all the other German-speaking lands?

    That seems very unlikely, to say the least. But even if were true at some point in the Middle Ages, Austria today clearly clusters with the rest of Northwest Europe in every measurement you could possibly name. Austria is just as 'German' as Bavaria or Saxony, so if it is excluded from Northwest Europe because it (allegedly) falls to the east of the Hajnal Line, then you might as well exclude Germany, and Switzerland too. And that makes no sense at all.

    2) The exclusion of Finland and Ireland

    I don't dispute that these two countries did in fact have historically different patterns of marriage and fertility from the rest of Northwest Europe. But I would argue that both countries have so thoroughly assimilated to Scandinavian and Anglo-American cultural norms respectively, that their falling outside the Hajnal Line is basically irrelevant today, and that both should definitely be considered integral parts of Northwest Europe.

    Finland was under Swedish rule for nearly 700 years, and even when it was transferred to Russian control Swedish remained the sole official language of Finland for the next 50 years. Swedish is still a co-official language in Finland, and Swedish-Finns have played a hugely outsized role in all aspects of Finnish life: politics, the military, industry, trade, art, architecture, literature, science, music, and on and on, arguably even more so than Finnish-Finns have. And Finland since independence, especially since 1945, has aligned itself ever more closely with the rest of Scandinavia, so much so that it has at least partially subsumed its sovereignty to the Nordic Council, along with Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

    Ireland has been partially or wholly under British control from 1169 AD right up to the present day. There has been so much mixing between British and Irish that the British Isles as a whole are generally considered to be a single genetic cluster. When Southern Ireland achieved independence after WWI, they tried to assert their Celticness and Catholicism to differentiate themselves from the Brits. But linguistically this has been a total failure: 100% of the Irish speak English, and Gaelic has been reduced to a folkloric language, almost completely unused in daily life. Religiously, this worked for a while, but this year's gay marriage referendum (62% said yes) put the final nail in the coffin of Ireland's once-rigid Catholicism. And since the rise of the 'Celtic Tiger' beginning in the 1980s, Ireland has been basically indistinguishable economically, politically and culturally with the rest of the English-speaking world.

    3) The inclusion of the Latin nations

    France and most of Italy, Spain and Portugal fall within the Hajnal Line. But these four nations don't really cluster with Northwest Europe in terms of language, religion, culture, politics, economics, or even basic geography. Instead, I believe they form their own distinct Mediterranean-Latin-Catholic sub-civilization in Southwest Europe, as opposed to the Nordic-Germanic-Protestant leitkultur in the Northwest and the Alpine-Slavic-Orthodox one in the East.

    The division of Europe into three parts is apparent in something as basic (and culturally important) as each region's tipple of choice: in the Northwest it's beer, in the Southwest wine, and in the East vodka. We can see the same pattern in any international measurement of living standards, with the Northwest European nations all clustering near the top, followed by the Southwest and then the East. Some of the East's lagging is no doubt due to the lingering after effects of communism, but I think the same Northwest-Southwest-East order ranking can be found in the psychological traits listed above (individualism, guilt proneness, empathy and trustworthiness).

    So basically what I'm arguing is that the Hajnal Line shouldn't be used to define Northwest Europe. Instead, a linguistic definition makes a lot more sense. The 18 Germanic nations of Europe and their overseas offshoots, including Austria, Finland and Ireland, but not France, Italy, Spain or Portugal, make up the Northwest European sub-civilization.

    English: UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
    German: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein
    Scandinavian: Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland
    Dutch: Netherlands, Belgium

    It would be very interesting to see if there was any significant correlation between those three groups and the prevalence of any possibly important alleles.

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  16. Pat Casey says:
    @Bill P
    Peter, I recently thought of a good way to test for for affective empathy. I wrote something on Steve's blog about an incident when a black ex-con tried to have his way with me, and described how weird I felt after he took a hit of crack in front of me. I felt physically very unsettled, despite the fact that I couldn't have inhaled more than an inconsequential fraction of the cocaine he did.

    So I described it as a "contact high," which is a well-known, if ambiguous, phenomenon. One reader mistook this as suggesting that I was smoking crack, too, but I surmised that he simply didn't understand the concept of a contact high. In fact, I've had contact highs on several occasions, not all of which involved fight or flight type scenarios with dangerous people.

    It occurred to me that the elusive contact high is actually affective empathy in action. People who feel psychologically different around those who are under the influence of drugs probably have affective empathy. It makes perfect sense.

    So if you want to test for affective empathy, it seems to me that testing those around psychotropically altered individuals for a similar response would clue you in to who has it and who doesn't.

    Perhaps this could put to rest the notion that affective empathy is a "fuzzy" trait. Personally, I think it might be a sexual trait. If, for example, you can "feel" when a woman's in the mood, it gives you a much better idea of when you've got a shot. Maybe it evolved as a mutual arousal mechanism, which puts Nordic women's "open" behavior in perspective (i.e. they expect you to know when they're in the mood and when they aren't without relying on traditional cues like clothing).

    I was thinking along the same two lines as I was reading this, and your experience with the black guy evokes much. Eight years year-round basketball and over three years incarcerated, we’ve had plenty close contact. I was going to say a contact high depends on them more than you entirely, them high you sober, and what I think about blacks is that they have more spirit, defined as something that can be exuded and received, so I’m no wise surprised you got high. (I’m a literary guy, not science, but whats vague is not nothing, and what can’t be measured can still be felt, so forgive my “spirit” and trust my individual empiricism.) IQ Tests are perfectly fair to blacks; I don’t believe for a second these emotional tests can be, though I know not how they are administered at all. But I know a lot of gangster rap, and I know what fisticuffs from Africa feel like, and I’ve known three salt u da earth women well enough, and a bunch of other stuff, and their emotions are just better called spirit. To say that they have precious little affective empathy means nothing. Functionally speaking, their societies reflect the fact that spirit has a spectrum that spans a kind of empathy to raw aggression, I would say. Peter Frost is brilliant, but this paper is perfectly innocent racism qua ignorance. I take the r word back but you know what I mean.

    Gotta run but the second thing was I believe its got to be a sex trait too.

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  17. Sean says:

    “In both cases, my hunch is that “conservatives” are disproportionately drawn from populations that have, on average, a higher capacity for affective empathy” [...] “The third one had two groups of participants: Israeli Holocaust survivors and a control group of European-born Israelis who had emigrated with their parents to the British Mandate of Palestine. The incidence was 48% in the Holocaust survivors and 63% in the controls (Fridman et al., 2012).”

    Interesting, that might explain the difference between wingnut Jewish Israel politicians and moonbat Western Jewish radicals.

    Remember that dopamine receptor study “a culture/gene interaction in the carriers, whereas the noncarriers show no difference, regardless of ethnic originn:” The minority with high dopamine variants seems to be responsible for all the peculiarities of a population. The high dopamine increases the effect of reward seeing as it is associated with alcoholism, gambling, sexual infidelity and migration (mixed ancestry). The same adaptation increases the extent to which people internalise their culture. That has to be susceptibility to reward orientation (approbation). The adaptation we know about that is associated with being attuned to others and responsible for major cultural differences works by sensitizing us to others approbation, for good or ill.

    Two Paths:

    They argued that although a short allele of 5-HTTLPR is linked to anxiety and depression, especially under traumatic life conditions (Caspi et al., 2003), this genetic risk might be mitigated by cultural collectivism, which involves more caring social relations and support networks. Cultural collectivism might therefore “buffer genetically susceptible populations from increased prevalence of affective disorders” (p. 529), which in turn might lead to a relatively high prevalence of the short allele of 5-HTTLPR. (Kitayama et al., 2014)

    This post:

    For instance, it has been found that people with at least one copy of the short allele of 5-HTTLPR tend to be too sensitive to negative emotional information. This effect seems to be attenuated by the deletion variant of ADRA2b, which either keeps one from dwelling too much on a bad emotional experience or helps one anticipate and prevent repeat experiences (Naudts et al., 2012).

    As I read this, the ADRA2 deletion stops people from being depressed by making them susceptible to social support (ie cultural collectivism).

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  18. szopen says:
    @jeppo
    If the Chinese, Japanese, Siberians and Israelis have a higher average incidence of the "empathy gene" than the Swiss, Dutch, Canadians and Americans, then the Hajnal Line and the Western European Marriage Pattern don't really tell us much about the evolution of affective empathy.

    On the other hand, in the real world Northwest Europeans seem to be far more empathetic on average than East Asians or Jews. The former suffer from a pathological altruism--particularly with regards to outgroup immigration--that seems to be mostly absent from the latter, so maybe the deletion variant of the ADRA2b gene isn't the most reliable marker of an empathetic mindset.

    The Hajnal Line divides Europe into a Roman-German west and a mostly-Slavic east, based on lower and later marriage rates and lower fertility in the west. This pattern probably started in the Frankish heartland between the Rhine and the Seine along with manorialism, then spread to areas conquered by the Carolingians (France, the Low Countries, most of Germany, Northern Italy), and then finally to neighbouring areas under Frankish influence (Northern Iberia, Britain, Scandinavia, the eastern German lands).

    The parts of Eastern Europe west of the Hajnal Line (Czech Republic, western and northern Poland, coastal areas of the Baltic States) were heavily Germanized from the Middle Ages right up until 1945. The parts of Western Europe with higher and earlier marriage rates and higher fertility, were generally the ethnic outliers: non-Indo-European Finland, Celtic Ireland, and the areas of Southern Iberia and Southern Italy that were long under Moorish and/or Byzantine rule.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/Hajnal_line.JPG

    So the Western European Marriage Pattern was essentially an ethnic marker: from a Frankish core it expanded to include all the Latin and Germanic lands, but no further. Did this pattern lead to the traits (individualism, guilt proneness, empathy, trustworthiness) that we find in Northwest Europeans today? Maybe, partially. But I think there are three main problems in using the Hajnal Line to define the boundaries of Northwest Europe:

    1) The exclusion of Austria

    For some reason the Hajnal Line is shown as beginning well to the south of Trieste, then jogging to the northwest before turning northeast towards St Petersburg. By doing this it excludes the bulk of Austria, including Vienna. Are we to believe that Vienna--for many centuries the largest city as well as the political, economic and cultural hub of Germany--had a completely different pattern of marriage and fertility than all the other German-speaking lands?

    That seems very unlikely, to say the least. But even if were true at some point in the Middle Ages, Austria today clearly clusters with the rest of Northwest Europe in every measurement you could possibly name. Austria is just as 'German' as Bavaria or Saxony, so if it is excluded from Northwest Europe because it (allegedly) falls to the east of the Hajnal Line, then you might as well exclude Germany, and Switzerland too. And that makes no sense at all.

    2) The exclusion of Finland and Ireland

    I don't dispute that these two countries did in fact have historically different patterns of marriage and fertility from the rest of Northwest Europe. But I would argue that both countries have so thoroughly assimilated to Scandinavian and Anglo-American cultural norms respectively, that their falling outside the Hajnal Line is basically irrelevant today, and that both should definitely be considered integral parts of Northwest Europe.

    Finland was under Swedish rule for nearly 700 years, and even when it was transferred to Russian control Swedish remained the sole official language of Finland for the next 50 years. Swedish is still a co-official language in Finland, and Swedish-Finns have played a hugely outsized role in all aspects of Finnish life: politics, the military, industry, trade, art, architecture, literature, science, music, and on and on, arguably even more so than Finnish-Finns have. And Finland since independence, especially since 1945, has aligned itself ever more closely with the rest of Scandinavia, so much so that it has at least partially subsumed its sovereignty to the Nordic Council, along with Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

    Ireland has been partially or wholly under British control from 1169 AD right up to the present day. There has been so much mixing between British and Irish that the British Isles as a whole are generally considered to be a single genetic cluster. When Southern Ireland achieved independence after WWI, they tried to assert their Celticness and Catholicism to differentiate themselves from the Brits. But linguistically this has been a total failure: 100% of the Irish speak English, and Gaelic has been reduced to a folkloric language, almost completely unused in daily life. Religiously, this worked for a while, but this year's gay marriage referendum (62% said yes) put the final nail in the coffin of Ireland's once-rigid Catholicism. And since the rise of the 'Celtic Tiger' beginning in the 1980s, Ireland has been basically indistinguishable economically, politically and culturally with the rest of the English-speaking world.

    3) The inclusion of the Latin nations

    France and most of Italy, Spain and Portugal fall within the Hajnal Line. But these four nations don't really cluster with Northwest Europe in terms of language, religion, culture, politics, economics, or even basic geography. Instead, I believe they form their own distinct Mediterranean-Latin-Catholic sub-civilization in Southwest Europe, as opposed to the Nordic-Germanic-Protestant leitkultur in the Northwest and the Alpine-Slavic-Orthodox one in the East.

    The division of Europe into three parts is apparent in something as basic (and culturally important) as each region's tipple of choice: in the Northwest it's beer, in the Southwest wine, and in the East vodka. We can see the same pattern in any international measurement of living standards, with the Northwest European nations all clustering near the top, followed by the Southwest and then the East. Some of the East's lagging is no doubt due to the lingering after effects of communism, but I think the same Northwest-Southwest-East order ranking can be found in the psychological traits listed above (individualism, guilt proneness, empathy and trustworthiness).

    So basically what I'm arguing is that the Hajnal Line shouldn't be used to define Northwest Europe. Instead, a linguistic definition makes a lot more sense. The 18 Germanic nations of Europe and their overseas offshoots, including Austria, Finland and Ireland, but not France, Italy, Spain or Portugal, make up the Northwest European sub-civilization.

    English: UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
    German: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein
    Scandinavian: Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland
    Dutch: Netherlands, Belgium

    Austria is founded on previous Slavic lands and its “Slavic” character was often commented upon by others; today, also genetically Austria shares a lot with Slavic people. I’d say you are trying to include Austria not because of any scientific reason, but simply because you WANT reality to conform to your petty theory.

    Not to mention Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia are not orthodox countries; historically there were times when they were either beer or wine cultures; and nowadays those countries are again more and more beer-oriented.

    Time for personal anecdote: Frankly from my interaction wih English, French, German and Slavic, I always had the best time spent together with other Slavs AND Germans (to my surprise, because in my youth my stereotype of Germans were arrogant, cruel, boring and uncreative). I often couldn’t find common tongue with English and French, but in every conference I went to I had fun time with Germans.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jeppo
    I included Austria with the other German-speaking countries because ... wait for it ... it's a German-speaking country. That's the "scientific reason" behind my "petty theory."

    I never said all Eastern European countries are Orthodox or prefer vodka, but most are and do. The drink of choice in the countries you named are:

    Poland: beer
    Czech: beer
    Slovakia: spirits
    Slovenia: wine
    Croatia: wine

    http://chartsbin.com/view/1017
  19. jeppo says:
    @szopen
    Austria is founded on previous Slavic lands and its "Slavic" character was often commented upon by others; today, also genetically Austria shares a lot with Slavic people. I'd say you are trying to include Austria not because of any scientific reason, but simply because you WANT reality to conform to your petty theory.

    Not to mention Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia are not orthodox countries; historically there were times when they were either beer or wine cultures; and nowadays those countries are again more and more beer-oriented.

    Time for personal anecdote: Frankly from my interaction wih English, French, German and Slavic, I always had the best time spent together with other Slavs AND Germans (to my surprise, because in my youth my stereotype of Germans were arrogant, cruel, boring and uncreative). I often couldn't find common tongue with English and French, but in every conference I went to I had fun time with Germans.

    I included Austria with the other German-speaking countries because … wait for it … it’s a German-speaking country. That’s the “scientific reason” behind my “petty theory.”

    I never said all Eastern European countries are Orthodox or prefer vodka, but most are and do. The drink of choice in the countries you named are:

    Poland: beer
    Czech: beer
    Slovakia: spirits
    Slovenia: wine
    Croatia: wine

    http://chartsbin.com/view/1017

    Read More
    • Replies: @szopen
    Sure, it's German speaking, but genetically it has a lot of Slavic admixture. Meaning you can't assume it's all innate.
    , @szopen
    One more thing:

    List of Slavic countries

    West Slavic:
    Poland, Czech, Slovakia (not a single orthodox, 2 not vodka)
    Southern Slavic:

    SLovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, BUlgaria (1 Muslim, 3 orthodox, 2 catholic, only 1 Vodka)

    Eastern Slavic:
    Belarus, Ukraine, RUssia (orthodox, vodka)

    So you have 12 Slavic countries (not counting small MOntenegro), of which 6 is orthodox and 5 are VODKA. THis is not "MOST".

    If you are going by the population, then it's different for one reason: Russia, which alone counts for almost half of Slavic population. Once exlude Russiam, by population again you won't have "MOST" Slavs.

    In summary, you took "Russia" for granted as standing for "Most slavic countries". This is very annoying for most of us non-Russians.
  20. East Asians tend to regard themselves as being more empathic than Westerners, including Northwest Europeans,

    All humans display some affective empathy. In the ancestral state, affective empathy seems to have been confined to relationships within the family, particularly between a mother and her children. Beyond that limited range, affective empathy has to be learned, and even then it’s not really “affective” empathy. It’s pro-social behavior.

    This is the situation in East Asia. East Asians are taught to show respect for the elderly but this is a learned pro-social behavior. It’s not empathy, and I question whether your Korean hosts were using that word.

    I know I’m fighting against the tide here, but the word “empathy” is being misused in this article, as it very often is in general.

    I’m using the terms “affective empathy” and “cognitive empathy” as they have been defined in the literature. These concepts seem to correspond to your use of the terms “empathy” and “sympathy.”

    Peter, I recently thought of a good way to test for for affective empathy.

    There is no shortage of psychometric tests for affective empathy. The challenge now is to measure the genetic component of affective empathy not only in different individuals but also in different populations.

    Come to think of it the time frame for selection for the variant is going to be critical for following up PF’s line of speculation.

    The time frame would be critical only if the alleles favoring affective empathy were completely absent in ancestral humans. If we take the deletion variant for ADRA2b as an example, we find it in all human populations. It’s just that the incidence varies from one to the next. So you don’t have to wait a long time for that mutation to arise. It’s already there. You just need a selection pressure to push the incidence in one direction or another.

    My “speculation” is that all humans feel affective empathy to some extent. It was originally confined, however, to immediate family members, particularly to the relationships between a mother and her young children. In some human populations, affective empathy has become extended to a much broader range of social relationships.

    East Asians do not seem more empathetic than Europeans, but differently

    It looks like East Asians have a higher level of cognitive empathy and a lower level of affective empathy.

    If the Chinese, Japanese, Siberians and Israelis have a higher average incidence of the “empathy gene” than the Swiss, Dutch, Canadians and Americans, then the Hajnal Line and the Western European Marriage Pattern don’t really tell us much about the evolution of affective empathy.

    Some of the Israelis but not others. More to the point, the “empathy allele” seems to be a marker for empathy in general, i.e., cognitive and affective empathy. We still don’t have a genetic marker for affective empathy.

    There are different maps of the Hajnal Line, and all of them are arbitrary to some extent., i.e., it’s not a sharp line but rather a series of clines. I prefer this map:

    I don’t understand why some maps show Finland on the other side of the line.

    Conservatives have higher affective empathy? I would’ve expected the exact opposite: liberals experience more (at least for non-family members).

    The studies in question didn’t control for ethnic background. One was conducted in California and the other in England. In both cases, “conservatives” tend to be drawn from a different ethnic mix.

    If we control for ethnic background, I’m not sure whether “conservatives” would show more affective empathy than “liberals.” When I go to Vermont, I’m struck by the degree to which Vermonters help the needy. I’m not talking about the government. I’m talking about a spontaneous desire to help, as seen in a multitude of volunteer groups of all sorts. I’m told the same is true for Minnesota. Yet both states are very “liberal.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @helena
    " These concepts seem to correspond to your use of the terms “empathy” and “sympathy.”"

    Could we say that empathy is a peception, an ability to perceive, whereas sympathy is an expression, a willingness to express?

    I don't quite understand why hbd*chick prefers an approximate line to the detailed line http://demoblography.blogspot.co.uk/2008/01/hajnal-line.html because the differences seem significant :-

    - round Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania rather than through the middle of them
    - through Slovakia and Hungary rather than through Czech and Austria
    - across the top of Croatia (Slovenia inside) rather than across the top of Italy (Slovenia outside)

    (that's if I've compared correctly).

    , @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    If we control for ethnic background, I’m not sure whether “conservatives” would show more affective empathy than “liberals.” When I go to Vermont, I’m struck by the degree to which Vermonters help the needy. I’m not talking about the government. I’m talking about a spontaneous desire to help, as seen in a multitude of volunteer groups of all sorts. I’m told the same is true for Minnesota. Yet both states are very “liberal.”

    What I've noticed when comparing both conservatives whites and East Asians to liberal whites is that the former group (conservative whites and East Asians) tend to be more concerned with politeness, courtesy, and orderliness, while liberal whites tend to be more concerned with more abstract concerns like social justice and community volunteering. I'm sure others have noticed this if they've been around these three groups. Hasn't the psychologist Jonathan Haidt delved into this in his research?
    , @Bill P

    There is no shortage of psychometric tests for affective empathy. The challenge now is to measure the genetic component of affective empathy not only in different individuals but also in different populations.
     
    But you haven't thought of the newsbite affective empathy test. I know - it isn't your style and I have more respect for you for that - but this is how you get the message across:

    "But I Didn't Inhale: How our Genes Could Explain the Elusive Contact High"

    Pop science is all about how you spin it. Sure, it's easy to look down on it, but you can't discount how immensely influential it is, even in the hands of mediocrities like Bill Nye.
    , @Art
    "The challenge now is to measure the genetic component of affective empathy not only in different individuals but also in different populations."

    Why - what for ---- culture trumps genetics - why not just build a caring empathic culture?

    As far as the universe is concerned "genetics" is old tech - new tech is brains and culture.

    Are you trying to take us backwards?
  21. My idea about non-kin empathy would that people with less genetic similarity than their parents and relatives, in personality and cognition, specially, will be more predisposed to be more universalistic-goal.

    More mutational load, less exclusive kin-”empathy”.

    Liberals seems have more mutations than conservatives, tend to look differently than their parents or than ethno-national phenotype. American conservatives tend to be more anglo while liberals tend to be less Wasp (urban liberal versus countryland conservative).

    Less endogamy but without excess of mixing race, tend to produce the biological individual, self-sense of individuality.

    Liberals tend to born by moderate conservative families and tend to be like ”the black sheep” of family.

    http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/first-born-children-likely-grow-conservatives-81925

    It also explain more creativity ability among liberals than conservatives (although I believe that the most creative tend to be independent thinkers)

    Read More
  22. helena says:
    @Peter Frost
    East Asians tend to regard themselves as being more empathic than Westerners, including Northwest Europeans,

    All humans display some affective empathy. In the ancestral state, affective empathy seems to have been confined to relationships within the family, particularly between a mother and her children. Beyond that limited range, affective empathy has to be learned, and even then it's not really "affective" empathy. It's pro-social behavior.

    This is the situation in East Asia. East Asians are taught to show respect for the elderly but this is a learned pro-social behavior. It's not empathy, and I question whether your Korean hosts were using that word.

    I know I’m fighting against the tide here, but the word “empathy” is being misused in this article, as it very often is in general.

    I'm using the terms "affective empathy" and "cognitive empathy" as they have been defined in the literature. These concepts seem to correspond to your use of the terms "empathy" and "sympathy."

    Peter, I recently thought of a good way to test for for affective empathy.

    There is no shortage of psychometric tests for affective empathy. The challenge now is to measure the genetic component of affective empathy not only in different individuals but also in different populations.

    Come to think of it the time frame for selection for the variant is going to be critical for following up PF’s line of speculation.

    The time frame would be critical only if the alleles favoring affective empathy were completely absent in ancestral humans. If we take the deletion variant for ADRA2b as an example, we find it in all human populations. It's just that the incidence varies from one to the next. So you don't have to wait a long time for that mutation to arise. It's already there. You just need a selection pressure to push the incidence in one direction or another.

    My "speculation" is that all humans feel affective empathy to some extent. It was originally confined, however, to immediate family members, particularly to the relationships between a mother and her young children. In some human populations, affective empathy has become extended to a much broader range of social relationships.

    East Asians do not seem more empathetic than Europeans, but differently

    It looks like East Asians have a higher level of cognitive empathy and a lower level of affective empathy.

    If the Chinese, Japanese, Siberians and Israelis have a higher average incidence of the “empathy gene” than the Swiss, Dutch, Canadians and Americans, then the Hajnal Line and the Western European Marriage Pattern don’t really tell us much about the evolution of affective empathy.

    Some of the Israelis but not others. More to the point, the "empathy allele" seems to be a marker for empathy in general, i.e., cognitive and affective empathy. We still don't have a genetic marker for affective empathy.

    There are different maps of the Hajnal Line, and all of them are arbitrary to some extent., i.e., it's not a sharp line but rather a series of clines. I prefer this map:

    https://hbdchick.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/individualism-map-2-hajnal-line.jpg

    I don't understand why some maps show Finland on the other side of the line.

    Conservatives have higher affective empathy? I would’ve expected the exact opposite: liberals experience more (at least for non-family members).

    The studies in question didn't control for ethnic background. One was conducted in California and the other in England. In both cases, "conservatives" tend to be drawn from a different ethnic mix.

    If we control for ethnic background, I'm not sure whether "conservatives" would show more affective empathy than "liberals." When I go to Vermont, I'm struck by the degree to which Vermonters help the needy. I'm not talking about the government. I'm talking about a spontaneous desire to help, as seen in a multitude of volunteer groups of all sorts. I'm told the same is true for Minnesota. Yet both states are very "liberal."

    ” These concepts seem to correspond to your use of the terms “empathy” and “sympathy.””

    Could we say that empathy is a peception, an ability to perceive, whereas sympathy is an expression, a willingness to express?

    I don’t quite understand why hbd*chick prefers an approximate line to the detailed line http://demoblography.blogspot.co.uk/2008/01/hajnal-line.html because the differences seem significant :-

    - round Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania rather than through the middle of them
    - through Slovakia and Hungary rather than through Czech and Austria
    - across the top of Croatia (Slovenia inside) rather than across the top of Italy (Slovenia outside)

    (that’s if I’ve compared correctly).

    Read More
  23. Sean says:

    “Nonetheless, too much affective empathy may lead to an overload where one ends up helping others to the detriment of oneself and one’s family and kin.”

    One could almost put it the other way about: when it doesn’t really matter, people let go of their affective empathy and start extending it to everyone and everything. The average girl nowadays is all upset about animals farmed for meat but nothing like that could have arisen when people were poor farmers. Vermonters nowadays don’t have to deal with Indians on the warpath, but when that was a concern the Vermonters would have been offering big money for scalps of Indians, any Indians (which they in fact did). That said, it is difficult to imagine an Audie Murphy or a Chris Kyle from Vermont; they enjoyed hunting as boys and killing humans as adults. Re Finns, you would never get a Danish Simo Häyhä.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-imprinted-brain/201502/hyper-mentalism-hyper-empathizing-and-supernatural-belief

    The results imply that individuals with high self-reported empathy and interest in people, coupled with poor self-reported understanding of physical causality and low interest in technical, motor, abstract, and organizable systems, had more supernatural beliefs than others.

    Read More
  24. Art says:
    @Anonymous
    East Asians tend to regard themselves as being more empathic than Westerners, including Northwest Europeans, the Westerners they most often encounter, in much the same way that Westerners tend to regard themselves as being more empathic than East Asians.

    https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2015/06/162_180778.html

    My church friend, Rachel, who has lived in Korea for almost six years told me that Koreans don't express their thoughts clearly sometimes. Consequently, she doesn't know evidently what they want. For instance, her husband, Jonathan, asked me to go out for dinner with church members several days ago.

    Although I had my own schedule that day, I had to accept his proposal because I didn't want to disappoint and hurt him. Hence, I can say that Koreans are emotional and considerate. We tend to sacrifice our time to help our friends. However, my observations tell me that westerners are individualistic. They prefer keeping their own space and never do what they don't want to do.
     
    https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2015/07/162_183210.html

    In Korea, seniors generally pay the money for juniors when they go out together for dinner and go to the bar to hang out. I definitely say that Koreans have an immaculate virtue, which foreigners cannot think of. A senior feels the responsibility for taking care of juniors by treating them to some food using his money. The juniors meanwhile feel happier to know that their seniors are willing to care them. Later, they will show more sincerity to their seniors. I think the unilateral trade from the seniors is the steppingstone to progressing favorable friendship with the juniors.

    In a nutshell, Koreans are so generous and benevolent. I wonder if this character originates from a "collective society," in which people prefer "we" to "I."

    I think that Koreans are more polite and respectful to the old. I also think foreigners should learn from Koreans about how they treat the aged with courtesy. A British friend of mine alleged that he could punch an elderly person if he is lazy and an alcoholic, while I said that we should embrace them whatever they do.

    Westerners are even reluctant to give special favor for an old lady. For instance, when I was in Brisbane, Australia, I saw a vacant seat on the bus stop. As I was a conventional Korean man, I was supposed to yield it to the old lady who stood right next to me. At the moment I found a young lady staring at me so unkindly and sharply. She seemed to be extremely upset with me. She wanted to take the seat for herself. She never cared about the person who was at least 70.

    I think that Westerners hardly regard the elderly as important and trustworthy. Worse, they make light of them, because they are physically weak. What I am saying is that ''All men are equal" does not make sense in this regard. We should be more attentive to the old who have devoted their life to the community. They are worthy of being loved and revered whatever they are.

    On the other hand, I saw a Canadian friend in a bus who has lived in Gwangju for over 10 years. He was willing to give his seat to the old lady after finding that she was standing right behind his seat. I thought that Korean society has taught him how to respect the old and that a desirable tradition in Korea has affected him in a more positive way.
     

    “I think that Koreans are more polite and respectful to the old. I also think foreigners should learn from Koreans about how they treat the aged with courtesy.”

    The idea that genetics rules all of human behavior is bogus. God gave us brains that takes in information —- we can use that information in a logical fashion and create knowledge. That knowledge can override our biological instincts. The process leads to philosophical cultures.

    Korean respect for the aged is because of its culture – not its genetics – Koreans are Confucians – Confucian philosophy venerates the old and one’s ancestors.

    When a Korean immigrates to America his successive generations lose his Confucian philosophy. They adapted to Western philosophy. Hmm – how can this be – two thousand years of genetics are changed in two generations. Of course, it was never genetics in the first place.

    Animals have empathy – 98% of everybody has some capacity to be empathic. It is ones culture that determines how it is expressed and to what degree.

    Read More
    • Replies: @PandaAtWar

    "Korean respect for the aged is because of its culture – not its genetics – Koreans are Confucians – Confucian philosophy venerates the old and one’s ancestors."

     

    What's your concrete proof that it's not in genetics?

    It's all too easy to claim that is "only culture". A culture doesn't grow and maintain itself in empty air, but is mostly, and firmly, supported via the genetics underneath - so called "gene-culture co-evolution", else why such a Confucius culture only exists within the East Asians, but not randomly in Romania or Morrocco or somewhere, eh?

    "When a Korean immigrates to America his successive generations lose his Confucian philosophy. They adapted to Western philosophy"
     
    Again, that's a very bold claim. They may dress, speak and act like, or even more than, their Western counterparts in the West on the surface, perhaps due to the social pressure of "blending-in". Panda doubts that they have lost their Confucian philosophy while at their homes.
  25. @Peter Frost
    East Asians tend to regard themselves as being more empathic than Westerners, including Northwest Europeans,

    All humans display some affective empathy. In the ancestral state, affective empathy seems to have been confined to relationships within the family, particularly between a mother and her children. Beyond that limited range, affective empathy has to be learned, and even then it's not really "affective" empathy. It's pro-social behavior.

    This is the situation in East Asia. East Asians are taught to show respect for the elderly but this is a learned pro-social behavior. It's not empathy, and I question whether your Korean hosts were using that word.

    I know I’m fighting against the tide here, but the word “empathy” is being misused in this article, as it very often is in general.

    I'm using the terms "affective empathy" and "cognitive empathy" as they have been defined in the literature. These concepts seem to correspond to your use of the terms "empathy" and "sympathy."

    Peter, I recently thought of a good way to test for for affective empathy.

    There is no shortage of psychometric tests for affective empathy. The challenge now is to measure the genetic component of affective empathy not only in different individuals but also in different populations.

    Come to think of it the time frame for selection for the variant is going to be critical for following up PF’s line of speculation.

    The time frame would be critical only if the alleles favoring affective empathy were completely absent in ancestral humans. If we take the deletion variant for ADRA2b as an example, we find it in all human populations. It's just that the incidence varies from one to the next. So you don't have to wait a long time for that mutation to arise. It's already there. You just need a selection pressure to push the incidence in one direction or another.

    My "speculation" is that all humans feel affective empathy to some extent. It was originally confined, however, to immediate family members, particularly to the relationships between a mother and her young children. In some human populations, affective empathy has become extended to a much broader range of social relationships.

    East Asians do not seem more empathetic than Europeans, but differently

    It looks like East Asians have a higher level of cognitive empathy and a lower level of affective empathy.

    If the Chinese, Japanese, Siberians and Israelis have a higher average incidence of the “empathy gene” than the Swiss, Dutch, Canadians and Americans, then the Hajnal Line and the Western European Marriage Pattern don’t really tell us much about the evolution of affective empathy.

    Some of the Israelis but not others. More to the point, the "empathy allele" seems to be a marker for empathy in general, i.e., cognitive and affective empathy. We still don't have a genetic marker for affective empathy.

    There are different maps of the Hajnal Line, and all of them are arbitrary to some extent., i.e., it's not a sharp line but rather a series of clines. I prefer this map:

    https://hbdchick.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/individualism-map-2-hajnal-line.jpg

    I don't understand why some maps show Finland on the other side of the line.

    Conservatives have higher affective empathy? I would’ve expected the exact opposite: liberals experience more (at least for non-family members).

    The studies in question didn't control for ethnic background. One was conducted in California and the other in England. In both cases, "conservatives" tend to be drawn from a different ethnic mix.

    If we control for ethnic background, I'm not sure whether "conservatives" would show more affective empathy than "liberals." When I go to Vermont, I'm struck by the degree to which Vermonters help the needy. I'm not talking about the government. I'm talking about a spontaneous desire to help, as seen in a multitude of volunteer groups of all sorts. I'm told the same is true for Minnesota. Yet both states are very "liberal."

    If we control for ethnic background, I’m not sure whether “conservatives” would show more affective empathy than “liberals.” When I go to Vermont, I’m struck by the degree to which Vermonters help the needy. I’m not talking about the government. I’m talking about a spontaneous desire to help, as seen in a multitude of volunteer groups of all sorts. I’m told the same is true for Minnesota. Yet both states are very “liberal.”

    What I’ve noticed when comparing both conservatives whites and East Asians to liberal whites is that the former group (conservative whites and East Asians) tend to be more concerned with politeness, courtesy, and orderliness, while liberal whites tend to be more concerned with more abstract concerns like social justice and community volunteering. I’m sure others have noticed this if they’ve been around these three groups. Hasn’t the psychologist Jonathan Haidt delved into this in his research?

    Read More
  26. It should be pointed out, though, that conservative whites do a lot of charity/volunteering through churches and religious organizations.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Santoculto
    The evolution of white conservative is exactly to be like the average east asian, less religious, more intelligent, more literal but also more apathetic with real empathy, because real empathy is not just or specially long term positive attitudes but very short term, help people (and non-human animals) all the time, when they are in need. Conservatives tend to think a lot a long term, because psychological gratification of capitalistic system, while liberals (in my opinion, a very diverse group) tend to think in short term.

    It explain why almost of brazilian leftists believe that ''bolsa família'' (money distribution for low classes) is a good way to reduce extreme poverty, despising the grotesque show of corruption of major''socialist'' brazilian party.

    Brazilian leftist mentality is ''all brazilian parties are corrupted, but ''worker party'' at least has achieved reduce extreme poverty'' while typical brazilian (conservative) mentality about this specific political context is that '' poor people aren't hard worker''.

    Leftists are naive to perceive that ''Worker party'' is not doing it just because by their bleeding hearts but to create a long term dependent and stupid class, the archetypical ''proles''. Dependence is slavery.
    , @Jay
    Data on charitable contributions as a percentage of income show that people in conservative states (presumably conservatives) are more generous than people in liberal states (presumably liberals). For 2014, the states with the highest percentage donation/income were Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia; the states with the lowest percentage donation/income were Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. Much of the conservative state giving is to churches, but much of churches' funds are spent on charity to the needy.
  27. Bill P says:
    @Peter Frost
    East Asians tend to regard themselves as being more empathic than Westerners, including Northwest Europeans,

    All humans display some affective empathy. In the ancestral state, affective empathy seems to have been confined to relationships within the family, particularly between a mother and her children. Beyond that limited range, affective empathy has to be learned, and even then it's not really "affective" empathy. It's pro-social behavior.

    This is the situation in East Asia. East Asians are taught to show respect for the elderly but this is a learned pro-social behavior. It's not empathy, and I question whether your Korean hosts were using that word.

    I know I’m fighting against the tide here, but the word “empathy” is being misused in this article, as it very often is in general.

    I'm using the terms "affective empathy" and "cognitive empathy" as they have been defined in the literature. These concepts seem to correspond to your use of the terms "empathy" and "sympathy."

    Peter, I recently thought of a good way to test for for affective empathy.

    There is no shortage of psychometric tests for affective empathy. The challenge now is to measure the genetic component of affective empathy not only in different individuals but also in different populations.

    Come to think of it the time frame for selection for the variant is going to be critical for following up PF’s line of speculation.

    The time frame would be critical only if the alleles favoring affective empathy were completely absent in ancestral humans. If we take the deletion variant for ADRA2b as an example, we find it in all human populations. It's just that the incidence varies from one to the next. So you don't have to wait a long time for that mutation to arise. It's already there. You just need a selection pressure to push the incidence in one direction or another.

    My "speculation" is that all humans feel affective empathy to some extent. It was originally confined, however, to immediate family members, particularly to the relationships between a mother and her young children. In some human populations, affective empathy has become extended to a much broader range of social relationships.

    East Asians do not seem more empathetic than Europeans, but differently

    It looks like East Asians have a higher level of cognitive empathy and a lower level of affective empathy.

    If the Chinese, Japanese, Siberians and Israelis have a higher average incidence of the “empathy gene” than the Swiss, Dutch, Canadians and Americans, then the Hajnal Line and the Western European Marriage Pattern don’t really tell us much about the evolution of affective empathy.

    Some of the Israelis but not others. More to the point, the "empathy allele" seems to be a marker for empathy in general, i.e., cognitive and affective empathy. We still don't have a genetic marker for affective empathy.

    There are different maps of the Hajnal Line, and all of them are arbitrary to some extent., i.e., it's not a sharp line but rather a series of clines. I prefer this map:

    https://hbdchick.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/individualism-map-2-hajnal-line.jpg

    I don't understand why some maps show Finland on the other side of the line.

    Conservatives have higher affective empathy? I would’ve expected the exact opposite: liberals experience more (at least for non-family members).

    The studies in question didn't control for ethnic background. One was conducted in California and the other in England. In both cases, "conservatives" tend to be drawn from a different ethnic mix.

    If we control for ethnic background, I'm not sure whether "conservatives" would show more affective empathy than "liberals." When I go to Vermont, I'm struck by the degree to which Vermonters help the needy. I'm not talking about the government. I'm talking about a spontaneous desire to help, as seen in a multitude of volunteer groups of all sorts. I'm told the same is true for Minnesota. Yet both states are very "liberal."

    There is no shortage of psychometric tests for affective empathy. The challenge now is to measure the genetic component of affective empathy not only in different individuals but also in different populations.

    But you haven’t thought of the newsbite affective empathy test. I know – it isn’t your style and I have more respect for you for that – but this is how you get the message across:

    “But I Didn’t Inhale: How our Genes Could Explain the Elusive Contact High”

    Pop science is all about how you spin it. Sure, it’s easy to look down on it, but you can’t discount how immensely influential it is, even in the hands of mediocrities like Bill Nye.

    Read More
  28. Art says:
    @Peter Frost
    East Asians tend to regard themselves as being more empathic than Westerners, including Northwest Europeans,

    All humans display some affective empathy. In the ancestral state, affective empathy seems to have been confined to relationships within the family, particularly between a mother and her children. Beyond that limited range, affective empathy has to be learned, and even then it's not really "affective" empathy. It's pro-social behavior.

    This is the situation in East Asia. East Asians are taught to show respect for the elderly but this is a learned pro-social behavior. It's not empathy, and I question whether your Korean hosts were using that word.

    I know I’m fighting against the tide here, but the word “empathy” is being misused in this article, as it very often is in general.

    I'm using the terms "affective empathy" and "cognitive empathy" as they have been defined in the literature. These concepts seem to correspond to your use of the terms "empathy" and "sympathy."

    Peter, I recently thought of a good way to test for for affective empathy.

    There is no shortage of psychometric tests for affective empathy. The challenge now is to measure the genetic component of affective empathy not only in different individuals but also in different populations.

    Come to think of it the time frame for selection for the variant is going to be critical for following up PF’s line of speculation.

    The time frame would be critical only if the alleles favoring affective empathy were completely absent in ancestral humans. If we take the deletion variant for ADRA2b as an example, we find it in all human populations. It's just that the incidence varies from one to the next. So you don't have to wait a long time for that mutation to arise. It's already there. You just need a selection pressure to push the incidence in one direction or another.

    My "speculation" is that all humans feel affective empathy to some extent. It was originally confined, however, to immediate family members, particularly to the relationships between a mother and her young children. In some human populations, affective empathy has become extended to a much broader range of social relationships.

    East Asians do not seem more empathetic than Europeans, but differently

    It looks like East Asians have a higher level of cognitive empathy and a lower level of affective empathy.

    If the Chinese, Japanese, Siberians and Israelis have a higher average incidence of the “empathy gene” than the Swiss, Dutch, Canadians and Americans, then the Hajnal Line and the Western European Marriage Pattern don’t really tell us much about the evolution of affective empathy.

    Some of the Israelis but not others. More to the point, the "empathy allele" seems to be a marker for empathy in general, i.e., cognitive and affective empathy. We still don't have a genetic marker for affective empathy.

    There are different maps of the Hajnal Line, and all of them are arbitrary to some extent., i.e., it's not a sharp line but rather a series of clines. I prefer this map:

    https://hbdchick.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/individualism-map-2-hajnal-line.jpg

    I don't understand why some maps show Finland on the other side of the line.

    Conservatives have higher affective empathy? I would’ve expected the exact opposite: liberals experience more (at least for non-family members).

    The studies in question didn't control for ethnic background. One was conducted in California and the other in England. In both cases, "conservatives" tend to be drawn from a different ethnic mix.

    If we control for ethnic background, I'm not sure whether "conservatives" would show more affective empathy than "liberals." When I go to Vermont, I'm struck by the degree to which Vermonters help the needy. I'm not talking about the government. I'm talking about a spontaneous desire to help, as seen in a multitude of volunteer groups of all sorts. I'm told the same is true for Minnesota. Yet both states are very "liberal."

    “The challenge now is to measure the genetic component of affective empathy not only in different individuals but also in different populations.”

    Why – what for —- culture trumps genetics – why not just build a caring empathic culture?

    As far as the universe is concerned “genetics” is old tech – new tech is brains and culture.

    Are you trying to take us backwards?

    Read More
  29. Liberals seems have more mutations than conservatives, tend to look differently than their parents or than ethno-national phenotype.

    I’m wary of using terms like “liberal” and “conservative” because their meanings have changed so much, even over the past sixty years. In the U.S., Eisenhower was an isolationist who mistrusted the “military-industrial complex,” and this sort of isolationism was typical among conservatives. Today, we have the opposite situation.

    Liberals from the New Deal era would be shocked by what is said today in the name of “liberalism.” For that matter, the same would be true for many socialists and communists of those days. You would have to go out to the far left to find people similar to mainstream liberals of today.

    Could we say that empathy is a peception, an ability to perceive, whereas sympathy is an expression, a willingness to express?

    “We” could. The problem is that “we” are just you and I. Neither of us is in a position to change usage. I publish under my own name, yet my power to change the language is very limited. Could an anonymous commenter do better?

    I don’t quite understand why hbd*chick prefers an approximate line to the detailed line http://demoblography.blogspot.co.uk/2008/01/hajnal-line.html because the differences seem significant :-

    It’s impossible to draw a single line. We’re looking at clinal variation. In other words, the incidence of affective empathy declines gradually as one moves south and east. Even if we look at people within a single family, there will be some variation, due to mutations or accidents during development. Sociopaths have very low affective empathy (but high cognitive empathy), and they can show up in the best of families.

    Vermonters nowadays don’t have to deal with Indians on the warpath, but when that was a concern the Vermonters would have been offering big money for scalps of Indians

    There is a certain amount of exaggeration in some of those stories, but I see your point. High-empathy individuals can do terrible things to their fellow humans if they are convinced that those humans are “moral outsiders” — people who pose an existential threat to the moral community.

    The idea that genetics rules all of human behavior is bogus. God gave us brains that takes in information —- we can use that information in a logical fashion and create knowledge. That knowledge can override our biological instincts.

    Yes, we can override our instincts, but the capacity to override them is itself genetic. In other words, some people are better at self-control than others.

    When a Korean immigrates to America his successive generations lose his Confucian philosophy. They adapted to Western philosophy. Hmm – how can this be – two thousand years of genetics are changed in two generations. Of course, it was never genetics in the first place.

    I agree. That was my argument. Pro-social behavior is learned and is not at all the same thing as affective empathy. The resemblance is superficial. East Asians take care of their elderly out of a sense of duty. It’s not a compulsive, involuntary behavior.

    Maybe you should read what I write before commenting.

    Animals have empathy – 98% of everybody has some capacity to be empathic

    Animals have very limited affective empathy, essentially between a mother and her young. Even cognitive empathy is very limited. This is the ancestral state of humans, and it is still the state of many humans on this planet.

    I’m not sure where you get the figure of 98%. I am saying that the capacity for empathy (both cognitive and affective) varies greatly among humans. If you think that most people are like you in this respect, or approximately so, you are dead wrong.

    Some mistakes don’t have serious consequences. This isn’t one of them.

    liberal whites tend to be more concerned with more abstract concerns like social justice and community volunteering.

    That hasn’t been my experience. I used to do a lot of volunteer work, and many of the other volunteers were practicing Christians from conservative churches. Again, words like “liberal” and “conservative” are very slippery. Is a libertarian conservative the same kind of person as a social conservative?

    Pop science is all about how you spin it.

    I agree it’s important to speak plainly and simply in language that people can understand. This is one of my shortcomings — I have to translate my thoughts into another language.

    There is only so much one person can do, and for now it’s better for me to do what I can best do.

    Why – what for —- culture trumps genetics – why not just build a caring empathic culture

    There are limits to that approach. It’s possible to override our inborn predispositions, but that capacity is itself under genetic control. Nor can we give ourselves capacities that we simply don’t have. Yes, there are workarounds of various sorts, and that’s pretty much what we’re doing now — stronger law enforcement, increased surveillance of people, “mandatory caring,” etc. Eventually, however, we’ll get to a point where there simply won’t be enough police to go around.

    It’s far better to have a high-trust/high-empathy/high-guilt society. That kind of society will operate on its own. You won’t need Big Brother.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Santoculto
    Peter,
    I know that this label tend to be ephemerous but people tend to aglomerate themselves in groups where happen sharing of similar ideas and attitudes. Leftism is a philosophical meme like traditional religions but some people fit perfectly with one of this memetic way of life, in other words, there are a prototypical leftist and conservative. Is like sports. Basketball is a cultural recreative meme but some people have the perfect biological profile toplay
    , @Art
    “Pro-social behavior is learned and is not at all the same thing as affective empathy.”


    So your “affective empathy” is not social behavior. To have empathy one has to observe another being. Don’t human observations of another being influence future actions? Doesn’t the use of the word “affective” imply future and action? Aren’t all actions involving humans - social behavior? Do your words logically add up to valued truth?

    It seems to me that you want to take “caring” out of the definition of empathy. “Caring” meaning the motivation behind looking out for our fellow humans. You want to make empathy into an exclusive none thoughtful none intellectual hard coded biological reaction. You want to strip social caring away from the idea of empathy. The problem for you is that we are social beings with emotions that steer behavior and with logical brains that steer behavior – we are hard coded to integrate the two. They work together – our lives are a product of both emotion and intellect. It is impossible to take social behavior out of the human empathy equation.

    I fear we are about to lose another long understood idealistic word to intellectual nonsense. Is “empathy” going to be corrupted like the words Liberal, and Marriage, and Investment are? Is human cultural goodness going to take another hit by intellectuals?
  30. @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    It should be pointed out, though, that conservative whites do a lot of charity/volunteering through churches and religious organizations.

    The evolution of white conservative is exactly to be like the average east asian, less religious, more intelligent, more literal but also more apathetic with real empathy, because real empathy is not just or specially long term positive attitudes but very short term, help people (and non-human animals) all the time, when they are in need. Conservatives tend to think a lot a long term, because psychological gratification of capitalistic system, while liberals (in my opinion, a very diverse group) tend to think in short term.

    It explain why almost of brazilian leftists believe that ”bolsa família” (money distribution for low classes) is a good way to reduce extreme poverty, despising the grotesque show of corruption of major”socialist” brazilian party.

    Brazilian leftist mentality is ”all brazilian parties are corrupted, but ”worker party” at least has achieved reduce extreme poverty” while typical brazilian (conservative) mentality about this specific political context is that ” poor people aren’t hard worker”.

    Leftists are naive to perceive that ”Worker party” is not doing it just because by their bleeding hearts but to create a long term dependent and stupid class, the archetypical ”proles”. Dependence is slavery.

    Read More
  31. Jay says:
    @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    It should be pointed out, though, that conservative whites do a lot of charity/volunteering through churches and religious organizations.

    Data on charitable contributions as a percentage of income show that people in conservative states (presumably conservatives) are more generous than people in liberal states (presumably liberals). For 2014, the states with the highest percentage donation/income were Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia; the states with the lowest percentage donation/income were Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. Much of the conservative state giving is to churches, but much of churches’ funds are spent on charity to the needy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    Data on charitable contributions as a percentage of income show that people in conservative states (presumably conservatives) are more generous than people in liberal states (presumably liberals)

    I'm not surprised by that at all. Conservatives, I bet, care about charity/volunteering in the context of religion. A lot of them compelled to do so because of what their church requires. Even Muslims, the prototype of clannish, non-commonweal oriented people, give tons of money through religious organizations because of the inclusion of "alms" as one the Five Pillars of Islam. But I'm guessing that liberals feel more actual internal reward in giving to the poor, independent of any outside entity telling them to do so. Also, liberals are more likely to live in places where they expect the government to provide for the poor.
  32. @Peter Frost
    Liberals seems have more mutations than conservatives, tend to look differently than their parents or than ethno-national phenotype.

    I'm wary of using terms like "liberal" and "conservative" because their meanings have changed so much, even over the past sixty years. In the U.S., Eisenhower was an isolationist who mistrusted the "military-industrial complex," and this sort of isolationism was typical among conservatives. Today, we have the opposite situation.

    Liberals from the New Deal era would be shocked by what is said today in the name of "liberalism." For that matter, the same would be true for many socialists and communists of those days. You would have to go out to the far left to find people similar to mainstream liberals of today.

    Could we say that empathy is a peception, an ability to perceive, whereas sympathy is an expression, a willingness to express?

    "We" could. The problem is that "we" are just you and I. Neither of us is in a position to change usage. I publish under my own name, yet my power to change the language is very limited. Could an anonymous commenter do better?

    I don’t quite understand why hbd*chick prefers an approximate line to the detailed line http://demoblography.blogspot.co.uk/2008/01/hajnal-line.html because the differences seem significant :-

    It's impossible to draw a single line. We're looking at clinal variation. In other words, the incidence of affective empathy declines gradually as one moves south and east. Even if we look at people within a single family, there will be some variation, due to mutations or accidents during development. Sociopaths have very low affective empathy (but high cognitive empathy), and they can show up in the best of families.

    Vermonters nowadays don’t have to deal with Indians on the warpath, but when that was a concern the Vermonters would have been offering big money for scalps of Indians

    There is a certain amount of exaggeration in some of those stories, but I see your point. High-empathy individuals can do terrible things to their fellow humans if they are convinced that those humans are "moral outsiders" -- people who pose an existential threat to the moral community.

    The idea that genetics rules all of human behavior is bogus. God gave us brains that takes in information —- we can use that information in a logical fashion and create knowledge. That knowledge can override our biological instincts.

    Yes, we can override our instincts, but the capacity to override them is itself genetic. In other words, some people are better at self-control than others.

    When a Korean immigrates to America his successive generations lose his Confucian philosophy. They adapted to Western philosophy. Hmm – how can this be – two thousand years of genetics are changed in two generations. Of course, it was never genetics in the first place.

    I agree. That was my argument. Pro-social behavior is learned and is not at all the same thing as affective empathy. The resemblance is superficial. East Asians take care of their elderly out of a sense of duty. It's not a compulsive, involuntary behavior.

    Maybe you should read what I write before commenting.

    Animals have empathy – 98% of everybody has some capacity to be empathic

    Animals have very limited affective empathy, essentially between a mother and her young. Even cognitive empathy is very limited. This is the ancestral state of humans, and it is still the state of many humans on this planet.

    I'm not sure where you get the figure of 98%. I am saying that the capacity for empathy (both cognitive and affective) varies greatly among humans. If you think that most people are like you in this respect, or approximately so, you are dead wrong.

    Some mistakes don't have serious consequences. This isn't one of them.

    liberal whites tend to be more concerned with more abstract concerns like social justice and community volunteering.

    That hasn't been my experience. I used to do a lot of volunteer work, and many of the other volunteers were practicing Christians from conservative churches. Again, words like "liberal" and "conservative" are very slippery. Is a libertarian conservative the same kind of person as a social conservative?

    Pop science is all about how you spin it.

    I agree it's important to speak plainly and simply in language that people can understand. This is one of my shortcomings -- I have to translate my thoughts into another language.

    There is only so much one person can do, and for now it's better for me to do what I can best do.

    Why – what for —- culture trumps genetics – why not just build a caring empathic culture

    There are limits to that approach. It's possible to override our inborn predispositions, but that capacity is itself under genetic control. Nor can we give ourselves capacities that we simply don't have. Yes, there are workarounds of various sorts, and that's pretty much what we're doing now -- stronger law enforcement, increased surveillance of people, "mandatory caring," etc. Eventually, however, we'll get to a point where there simply won't be enough police to go around.

    It's far better to have a high-trust/high-empathy/high-guilt society. That kind of society will operate on its own. You won't need Big Brother.

    Peter,
    I know that this label tend to be ephemerous but people tend to aglomerate themselves in groups where happen sharing of similar ideas and attitudes. Leftism is a philosophical meme like traditional religions but some people fit perfectly with one of this memetic way of life, in other words, there are a prototypical leftist and conservative. Is like sports. Basketball is a cultural recreative meme but some people have the perfect biological profile toplay

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    http://mic.com/articles/105702/neuroscientists-may-have-discovered-how-our-brains-can-overcome-racial-prejudice

    But even known-to-be arbitrary groups (the coin came up heads so you are in the greens not the blues) invoke social identity processes. Brain scans revealed that people shown photos and told 'these are the others assigned to your group' switched on their theory of mind brain areas. This and other test showed that being assigned to a group understood to be completely arbitrary makes us see other members of the group as more human.

    There is always a relative outgroup. For Vermont it might be Alabama. This is the problem with theories like HBD chick's idea that some people see themselves as in a single delimited group with all humanity.

    , @Santoculto
    Problémy in my ''smart''phone..

    to play and not ''Toplay'', a nice bangladeshian guy, ;)
  33. Dutch Boy says:

    Mad magazine had a joke years ago satirizing the liberal version of empathy:
    “The liberal holiday: be kind to your inferiors day.”

    Read More
  34. Sean says:
    @Santoculto
    Peter,
    I know that this label tend to be ephemerous but people tend to aglomerate themselves in groups where happen sharing of similar ideas and attitudes. Leftism is a philosophical meme like traditional religions but some people fit perfectly with one of this memetic way of life, in other words, there are a prototypical leftist and conservative. Is like sports. Basketball is a cultural recreative meme but some people have the perfect biological profile toplay

    http://mic.com/articles/105702/neuroscientists-may-have-discovered-how-our-brains-can-overcome-racial-prejudice

    But even known-to-be arbitrary groups (the coin came up heads so you are in the greens not the blues) invoke social identity processes. Brain scans revealed that people shown photos and told ‘these are the others assigned to your group’ switched on their theory of mind brain areas. This and other test showed that being assigned to a group understood to be completely arbitrary makes us see other members of the group as more human.

    There is always a relative outgroup. For Vermont it might be Alabama. This is the problem with theories like HBD chick’s idea that some people see themselves as in a single delimited group with all humanity.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Santoculto
    I do not quite understand what you meant, Sean. Could you explain again * If you do not bother you!

    There is a large proportion of homosexuals who are leftists. But if the '' socialist '' (pseudo) were not superficially favorable to their cause, most of them would not be leftists.

    Liberalism brings together a large number of disparate groups that are opposed to social Darwinism.

    The example of basketball (sports in general) is instructive. There are no sports, as well as ideologies, out of the human world. But nothing that man do to entertain or to believe, is based on something totally unnatural.
  35. @Santoculto
    Peter,
    I know that this label tend to be ephemerous but people tend to aglomerate themselves in groups where happen sharing of similar ideas and attitudes. Leftism is a philosophical meme like traditional religions but some people fit perfectly with one of this memetic way of life, in other words, there are a prototypical leftist and conservative. Is like sports. Basketball is a cultural recreative meme but some people have the perfect biological profile toplay

    Problémy in my ”smart”phone..

    to play and not ”Toplay”, a nice bangladeshian guy, ;)

    Read More
  36. iffen says:

    There is always a relative outgroup. For Vermont it might be Alabama. This is the problem with theories like HBD chick’s idea that some people see themselves as in a single delimited group with all humanity.

    The out-group is composed of the people who refuse to accept the universalism. If you would otherwise be in the universalist group but you reject the rainbow vision by clinging to your white race, regional group, gender identity, religious group, etc., you are the out-group.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    Well the traditional groups like nation states, which are the crucial entity, actually exist. The Universalist group is just like the arbitrary group in the experiment in which the subject was shown photos of individuals and told those were fellow members of the same arbitrary group as the subject. The subject's theory of mind (ie cognitive empathy) brain circuits lit up when looking at the photos of the fellow arbitrary group members. The people pushing the Universalist idea are Liberals, who are not arbitrary, represent a coherent tradition, and are immensely powerful.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3209554/Is-baby-racist-Scientists-discover-way-reverse-racial-bias-young-children.html

  37. iffen says:
    @Hobbesian Meliorist
    I know I'm fighting against the tide here, but the word "empathy" is being misused in this article, as it very often is in general.

    The article defines empathy thus: "the involuntary desire not only to understand another person’s emotional state but also to make it one’s own—in short, to feel the pain and joy of other people."

    The correct English word for this is "sympathy".

    Empathy, if it is to be a useful and not entirely redundant word, is the cognizance of the feelings of others, as distinct from the sharing of those feelings.

    The word was introduced to the English language in the early 20th century by Titchener (who invented it), but its current popularity owes to the work of the post-Freudian psychotherapist, Heinz Kohut.

    Heinz Kohut explained the distinction with reference to torture and punishment: the torturer uses empathy (the ability to imagine and recognize the feelings of the other) to know how to maximize the victim's pain, but the torturer feels little or no sympathy for the victim. Sympathy would stand in the way of the torturer's goals.

    Empathy and sympathy don't always go together. Besides the example of the torturer, there's also the case of the person who feels misplaced sympathy, because they incorrectly conceive how another person feels.

    So empathy can exist without sympathy, and sympathy without real empathy.

    the torturer uses empathy (the ability to imagine and recognize the feelings of the other)

    This does not seem to have a lot emotional content.

    I think of sympathy has having a great deal of emotion involved.

    I can’t see real connection between the two.

    It is comparing an empirical observation with a gut emotion.

    Read More
  38. @Sean
    http://mic.com/articles/105702/neuroscientists-may-have-discovered-how-our-brains-can-overcome-racial-prejudice

    But even known-to-be arbitrary groups (the coin came up heads so you are in the greens not the blues) invoke social identity processes. Brain scans revealed that people shown photos and told 'these are the others assigned to your group' switched on their theory of mind brain areas. This and other test showed that being assigned to a group understood to be completely arbitrary makes us see other members of the group as more human.

    There is always a relative outgroup. For Vermont it might be Alabama. This is the problem with theories like HBD chick's idea that some people see themselves as in a single delimited group with all humanity.

    I do not quite understand what you meant, Sean. Could you explain again * If you do not bother you!

    There is a large proportion of homosexuals who are leftists. But if the ” socialist ” (pseudo) were not superficially favorable to their cause, most of them would not be leftists.

    Liberalism brings together a large number of disparate groups that are opposed to social Darwinism.

    The example of basketball (sports in general) is instructive. There are no sports, as well as ideologies, out of the human world. But nothing that man do to entertain or to believe, is based on something totally unnatural.

    Read More
  39. Art says:
    @Peter Frost
    Liberals seems have more mutations than conservatives, tend to look differently than their parents or than ethno-national phenotype.

    I'm wary of using terms like "liberal" and "conservative" because their meanings have changed so much, even over the past sixty years. In the U.S., Eisenhower was an isolationist who mistrusted the "military-industrial complex," and this sort of isolationism was typical among conservatives. Today, we have the opposite situation.

    Liberals from the New Deal era would be shocked by what is said today in the name of "liberalism." For that matter, the same would be true for many socialists and communists of those days. You would have to go out to the far left to find people similar to mainstream liberals of today.

    Could we say that empathy is a peception, an ability to perceive, whereas sympathy is an expression, a willingness to express?

    "We" could. The problem is that "we" are just you and I. Neither of us is in a position to change usage. I publish under my own name, yet my power to change the language is very limited. Could an anonymous commenter do better?

    I don’t quite understand why hbd*chick prefers an approximate line to the detailed line http://demoblography.blogspot.co.uk/2008/01/hajnal-line.html because the differences seem significant :-

    It's impossible to draw a single line. We're looking at clinal variation. In other words, the incidence of affective empathy declines gradually as one moves south and east. Even if we look at people within a single family, there will be some variation, due to mutations or accidents during development. Sociopaths have very low affective empathy (but high cognitive empathy), and they can show up in the best of families.

    Vermonters nowadays don’t have to deal with Indians on the warpath, but when that was a concern the Vermonters would have been offering big money for scalps of Indians

    There is a certain amount of exaggeration in some of those stories, but I see your point. High-empathy individuals can do terrible things to their fellow humans if they are convinced that those humans are "moral outsiders" -- people who pose an existential threat to the moral community.

    The idea that genetics rules all of human behavior is bogus. God gave us brains that takes in information —- we can use that information in a logical fashion and create knowledge. That knowledge can override our biological instincts.

    Yes, we can override our instincts, but the capacity to override them is itself genetic. In other words, some people are better at self-control than others.

    When a Korean immigrates to America his successive generations lose his Confucian philosophy. They adapted to Western philosophy. Hmm – how can this be – two thousand years of genetics are changed in two generations. Of course, it was never genetics in the first place.

    I agree. That was my argument. Pro-social behavior is learned and is not at all the same thing as affective empathy. The resemblance is superficial. East Asians take care of their elderly out of a sense of duty. It's not a compulsive, involuntary behavior.

    Maybe you should read what I write before commenting.

    Animals have empathy – 98% of everybody has some capacity to be empathic

    Animals have very limited affective empathy, essentially between a mother and her young. Even cognitive empathy is very limited. This is the ancestral state of humans, and it is still the state of many humans on this planet.

    I'm not sure where you get the figure of 98%. I am saying that the capacity for empathy (both cognitive and affective) varies greatly among humans. If you think that most people are like you in this respect, or approximately so, you are dead wrong.

    Some mistakes don't have serious consequences. This isn't one of them.

    liberal whites tend to be more concerned with more abstract concerns like social justice and community volunteering.

    That hasn't been my experience. I used to do a lot of volunteer work, and many of the other volunteers were practicing Christians from conservative churches. Again, words like "liberal" and "conservative" are very slippery. Is a libertarian conservative the same kind of person as a social conservative?

    Pop science is all about how you spin it.

    I agree it's important to speak plainly and simply in language that people can understand. This is one of my shortcomings -- I have to translate my thoughts into another language.

    There is only so much one person can do, and for now it's better for me to do what I can best do.

    Why – what for —- culture trumps genetics – why not just build a caring empathic culture

    There are limits to that approach. It's possible to override our inborn predispositions, but that capacity is itself under genetic control. Nor can we give ourselves capacities that we simply don't have. Yes, there are workarounds of various sorts, and that's pretty much what we're doing now -- stronger law enforcement, increased surveillance of people, "mandatory caring," etc. Eventually, however, we'll get to a point where there simply won't be enough police to go around.

    It's far better to have a high-trust/high-empathy/high-guilt society. That kind of society will operate on its own. You won't need Big Brother.

    “Pro-social behavior is learned and is not at all the same thing as affective empathy.”

    So your “affective empathy” is not social behavior. To have empathy one has to observe another being. Don’t human observations of another being influence future actions? Doesn’t the use of the word “affective” imply future and action? Aren’t all actions involving humans – social behavior? Do your words logically add up to valued truth?

    It seems to me that you want to take “caring” out of the definition of empathy. “Caring” meaning the motivation behind looking out for our fellow humans. You want to make empathy into an exclusive none thoughtful none intellectual hard coded biological reaction. You want to strip social caring away from the idea of empathy. The problem for you is that we are social beings with emotions that steer behavior and with logical brains that steer behavior – we are hard coded to integrate the two. They work together – our lives are a product of both emotion and intellect. It is impossible to take social behavior out of the human empathy equation.

    I fear we are about to lose another long understood idealistic word to intellectual nonsense. Is “empathy” going to be corrupted like the words Liberal, and Marriage, and Investment are? Is human cultural goodness going to take another hit by intellectuals?

    Read More
  40. @Jay
    Data on charitable contributions as a percentage of income show that people in conservative states (presumably conservatives) are more generous than people in liberal states (presumably liberals). For 2014, the states with the highest percentage donation/income were Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia; the states with the lowest percentage donation/income were Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. Much of the conservative state giving is to churches, but much of churches' funds are spent on charity to the needy.

    Data on charitable contributions as a percentage of income show that people in conservative states (presumably conservatives) are more generous than people in liberal states (presumably liberals)

    I’m not surprised by that at all. Conservatives, I bet, care about charity/volunteering in the context of religion. A lot of them compelled to do so because of what their church requires. Even Muslims, the prototype of clannish, non-commonweal oriented people, give tons of money through religious organizations because of the inclusion of “alms” as one the Five Pillars of Islam. But I’m guessing that liberals feel more actual internal reward in giving to the poor, independent of any outside entity telling them to do so. Also, liberals are more likely to live in places where they expect the government to provide for the poor.

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  41. I know that this label tend to be ephemerous but people tend to aglomerate themselves in groups where happen sharing of similar ideas and attitudes. Leftism is a philosophical meme like traditional religions but some people fit perfectly with one of this memetic way of life, in other words, there are a prototypical leftist and conservative.

    But even in recent times, many people have switched from “the left” to “the right.” In the United States, southern whites and “ethnic whites” (generally Catholics and Jews) used to identify with the political left. They were part of the Roosevelt coalition. They migrated to the political right during the 1970s because they felt the left was becoming anti-white. This is less so with Jewish Americans, but in Europe a large part of the Jewish community has migrated to the right and even to the far right.

    The out-group is composed of the people who refuse to accept the universalism.

    Historically that wasn’t usually the case. I’m not even sure it’s usually the case today. Are Egyptian Copts less universalistic than Egyptian Muslims?

    “Pro-social behavior is learned and is not at all the same thing as affective empathy.” So your “affective empathy” is not social behavior.

    Maybe you should read the wiki entry:

    Pro-social behavior or “voluntary behavior intended to benefit another”, is a social behavior that “benefits other people or society as a whole,” “such as helping, sharing, donating, co-operating, and volunteering.” These actions may be motivated by empathy and by concern about the welfare and rights of others, as well as for egoistic or practical concerns.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosocial_behavior

    It seems to me that you want to take “caring” out of the definition of empathy. “Caring” meaning the motivation behind looking out for our fellow humans. You want to make empathy into an exclusive none thoughtful none intellectual hard coded biological reaction.

    It’s not so much what I want as how humans actually behave. The lady who takes in dozens and dozens of stray cats is acting compulsively. She’s not really thinking out the consequences. This is not to say that affective empathy is wrong. Sometimes behavior has to be hardwired. Sometimes we spend too much time thinking and thinking. Would people have sex if it were purely a cold, sober decision?

    Is human cultural goodness going to take another hit by intellectuals?

    Most of those hits have come from well-meaning people who believe that everything is learned and that we can become whatever we want to be. And if we can’t it’s because somebody somewhere is holding us down.

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    • Replies: @Art
    No question – empathetic actions are natural – they are generated by a biological genetic marker (most likely more than one). There are genetic markers for muscles as well. As we mature, activating our muscles is more and more a matter of will – a matter of intellectual intent. Activating empathy is a matter of will also. In most human situations empathy is only one of many emotions that can be activated. Like a muscle, you use it or lose it. If you use it, and how you use it, is mostly a learned cultural phenomena.

    Empathy is a type of action. An animal of one species can show empathy for an animal of different species – that is a fact. We don’t use “empathy” when one animal eats another animal. We use the word empathy when kindness is apparent – when we observe caring.

    A car has four main elements to it. It is a wagon with wheels and a motor, and it can be steered. If you take away any one of those elements, it is not a car.

    Empathy has three elements to it – first there is an observation, then am element of personal identification tempered with kindness. Remove any element and it is not empathy.
  42. Sean says:
    @iffen

    There is always a relative outgroup. For Vermont it might be Alabama. This is the problem with theories like HBD chick’s idea that some people see themselves as in a single delimited group with all humanity.
     
    The out-group is composed of the people who refuse to accept the universalism. If you would otherwise be in the universalist group but you reject the rainbow vision by clinging to your white race, regional group, gender identity, religious group, etc., you are the out-group.

    Well the traditional groups like nation states, which are the crucial entity, actually exist. The Universalist group is just like the arbitrary group in the experiment in which the subject was shown photos of individuals and told those were fellow members of the same arbitrary group as the subject. The subject’s theory of mind (ie cognitive empathy) brain circuits lit up when looking at the photos of the fellow arbitrary group members. The people pushing the Universalist idea are Liberals, who are not arbitrary, represent a coherent tradition, and are immensely powerful.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3209554/Is-baby-racist-Scientists-discover-way-reverse-racial-bias-young-children.html

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  43. Art says:
    @Peter Frost
    I know that this label tend to be ephemerous but people tend to aglomerate themselves in groups where happen sharing of similar ideas and attitudes. Leftism is a philosophical meme like traditional religions but some people fit perfectly with one of this memetic way of life, in other words, there are a prototypical leftist and conservative.

    But even in recent times, many people have switched from "the left" to "the right." In the United States, southern whites and "ethnic whites" (generally Catholics and Jews) used to identify with the political left. They were part of the Roosevelt coalition. They migrated to the political right during the 1970s because they felt the left was becoming anti-white. This is less so with Jewish Americans, but in Europe a large part of the Jewish community has migrated to the right and even to the far right.

    The out-group is composed of the people who refuse to accept the universalism.

    Historically that wasn't usually the case. I'm not even sure it's usually the case today. Are Egyptian Copts less universalistic than Egyptian Muslims?

    “Pro-social behavior is learned and is not at all the same thing as affective empathy.” So your “affective empathy” is not social behavior.

    Maybe you should read the wiki entry:

    Pro-social behavior or "voluntary behavior intended to benefit another", is a social behavior that "benefits other people or society as a whole," "such as helping, sharing, donating, co-operating, and volunteering." These actions may be motivated by empathy and by concern about the welfare and rights of others, as well as for egoistic or practical concerns.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosocial_behavior
     
    It seems to me that you want to take “caring” out of the definition of empathy. “Caring” meaning the motivation behind looking out for our fellow humans. You want to make empathy into an exclusive none thoughtful none intellectual hard coded biological reaction.

    It's not so much what I want as how humans actually behave. The lady who takes in dozens and dozens of stray cats is acting compulsively. She's not really thinking out the consequences. This is not to say that affective empathy is wrong. Sometimes behavior has to be hardwired. Sometimes we spend too much time thinking and thinking. Would people have sex if it were purely a cold, sober decision?

    Is human cultural goodness going to take another hit by intellectuals?

    Most of those hits have come from well-meaning people who believe that everything is learned and that we can become whatever we want to be. And if we can't it's because somebody somewhere is holding us down.

    No question – empathetic actions are natural – they are generated by a biological genetic marker (most likely more than one). There are genetic markers for muscles as well. As we mature, activating our muscles is more and more a matter of will – a matter of intellectual intent. Activating empathy is a matter of will also. In most human situations empathy is only one of many emotions that can be activated. Like a muscle, you use it or lose it. If you use it, and how you use it, is mostly a learned cultural phenomena.

    Empathy is a type of action. An animal of one species can show empathy for an animal of different species – that is a fact. We don’t use “empathy” when one animal eats another animal. We use the word empathy when kindness is apparent – when we observe caring.

    A car has four main elements to it. It is a wagon with wheels and a motor, and it can be steered. If you take away any one of those elements, it is not a car.

    Empathy has three elements to it – first there is an observation, then am element of personal identification tempered with kindness. Remove any element and it is not empathy.

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  44. Sean says:

    Change in society since the seventies. People’s goals have shifted steadily toward wealth, social status and good looks.

    http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21646001-even-religion-america-offers-more-choice-pick-and-mix

    The point is made more bluntly by Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, an umbrella body for more than 40,000 Pentecostal and evangelical Latino churches in America and Puerto Rico. The Catholic church in Latin America is “an extension of the bureaucratic state”, he charges, and offers only indirect access to God through the Virgin Mary and the priesthood. Worse, Catholics are told that salvation awaits in another life—and in the meantime, blessed are the poor. In contrast, evangelical churches offer a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, leading to a blessed life here and now. [...] Father Ed Benioff is director of an Office of New Evangelisation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, founded in 2013 to woo wavering worshippers, especially younger ones. He finds young Latinos steeped in impatient American dreams of individual success. Father Ed is pinning his hopes on the example of Pope Francis, offering the millennials—the age group now in their teens to early 30s—a meaningful life by serving others.

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  45. helena says:

    “Could an anonymous commenter do better?”
    No, but I’ll share some thoughts about song lyrics if nobody minds.

    Empathy with personal identification i.e. shared preference/experience

    If you like pina colada or getting caught in the rain (etc.)

    [MORE]

    I remember, a back street in Naples, two children dressing in rags. Both touched with a burning ambition, to shake off their lowly born rags. So look into my eyes marie-claire, and remember just who you are. then go and forget me forever, but I know you still bear the scar, yes you do, deep inside

    Empathy with partial personal identification i.e. learned

    Now I understand, what you tried to say to me, and how you suffered for your sanity. They wouldn’t listen, they’re not listening still. perhaps they never will.

    Empathy without personal identification

    Papa was a rolling stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home. And when he died, all he left us was alone.

    Jolene…please don’t take him just because you can.

    Empathy with Mixed non-personal/personal identification

    I am just a poor boy.
    Though my story’s seldom told,
    I have squandered my resistance
    For a pocketful of mumbles,
    Such are promises

    All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.

    Allegorical Empathy

    They stab him with their steeley knives but they just can’t kill the beast….you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave

    Self-empathy

    Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken and oftentime confused and I’ve also been forsaken and certainly abused (etc.)

    Poetic empathy

    So the first thing that they see
    That allows them the right to be
    Why they follow it, you know, it’s called bad luck

    And you may ask yourself
    What is that beautiful house?
    And you may ask yourself
    Where does that highway go to?
    And you may ask yourself
    Am I right?…Am I wrong?
    And you may say to yourself
    My God!…What have I done?!

    Universal empathy

    What the world needs now, is love sweet love. That’s the only thing there’s just too little of.

    Empathy for the natural world

    I see trees of green and red roses too…And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

    Sympathy without personal identification

    On a cold and grey Chicago morn, a poor little baby boy was born. In the ghetto. And his mother cried.

    Universal sympathy

    I’d like to build the world a home
    And furnish it with love
    Grow apple trees and honey bees
    And snow-white turtle doves

    Sympathy with personal identification

    Hey there lonely girl (etc.)

    There’s guns across the river, aimin’ at ya. And a lawman on your trail’d like to catch ya….Billy, they don’t like you to be so free

    Sympathy with personal identification and empathy

    When you’re weary, feeling small
    When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all
    I’m on your side, oh, when times get rough
    And friends just can’t be found
    Like a bridge over troubled water
    I will lay me down

    Sympathy with personal identification but without empathy

    L.A. Proved too much for the man
    He said he’s goin’ back to find
    The world he left behind
    He’s leavin’ On that midnight train to Georgia
    And I’ll be with him On that midnight train to Georgia
    Coz I’d rather live in his world
    Than live without him in mine

    *****************************************

    That’s what I reckon, anyway!

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  46. @Ron Unz
    Well, I'm absolutely no expert on this, but is there any solid evidence that East Asians have a lower innate tendency toward "affective empathy" than Northwest Europeans?

    Offhand, "affective empathy" seems to me like one of those fuzzy psychological traits that is difficult to objectively measure and is also subject to considerable cultural influence...

    Absolutely!

    I am not an expert on this either, but see Panda’s intuitive response on this “effective empathy” here last year:

    http://evoandproud.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/affective-empathy-evolutionary-mistake.html

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  47. @Art
    “I think that Koreans are more polite and respectful to the old. I also think foreigners should learn from Koreans about how they treat the aged with courtesy.”

    The idea that genetics rules all of human behavior is bogus. God gave us brains that takes in information ---- we can use that information in a logical fashion and create knowledge. That knowledge can override our biological instincts. The process leads to philosophical cultures.

    Korean respect for the aged is because of its culture - not its genetics – Koreans are Confucians – Confucian philosophy venerates the old and one’s ancestors.

    When a Korean immigrates to America his successive generations lose his Confucian philosophy. They adapted to Western philosophy. Hmm – how can this be - two thousand years of genetics are changed in two generations. Of course, it was never genetics in the first place.

    Animals have empathy – 98% of everybody has some capacity to be empathic. It is ones culture that determines how it is expressed and to what degree.

    “Korean respect for the aged is because of its culture – not its genetics – Koreans are Confucians – Confucian philosophy venerates the old and one’s ancestors.”

    What’s your concrete proof that it’s not in genetics?

    It’s all too easy to claim that is “only culture”. A culture doesn’t grow and maintain itself in empty air, but is mostly, and firmly, supported via the genetics underneath – so called “gene-culture co-evolution”, else why such a Confucius culture only exists within the East Asians, but not randomly in Romania or Morrocco or somewhere, eh?

    “When a Korean immigrates to America his successive generations lose his Confucian philosophy. They adapted to Western philosophy”

    Again, that’s a very bold claim. They may dress, speak and act like, or even more than, their Western counterparts in the West on the surface, perhaps due to the social pressure of “blending-in”. Panda doubts that they have lost their Confucian philosophy while at their homes.

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    • Replies: @Santoculto
    Culture co-evolution works that way...

    Cultural model generally fit with SOME personality types. For example, US(ass) government may introduce a gothic culture among young people as the (advantageous) behavioural standard. Even if most americans are not gothic-like (depression cult) in personality type, some will be. Those who are gothic-like will can increase the number of children in a long term, because cultural (environmental) stress tend to reduce fertility. And conformist people will adapt themselves in these culture, like ''racism' and ''homophobia' today. Racism, specially against blacks, was a mainstream in 50's. Homossexuality, in western, specially, was treated as mental disease (partially correct, specially for excessive promiscuous one) at least in the 70's.

    Cultural change fluctuations mean micro-adaptation. Humans live in societies, we are a social animals. And ordinary humans reflect less about their actions.

    Cognitive ordinary people tend to have less responsibility about factual reality or truth.

    Biological changes, like, biological-like gothic folks become majority (increase in suicides and depressions) in the United States is more rare, but superficial or cutural changes are trivial.
  48. @PandaAtWar

    "Korean respect for the aged is because of its culture – not its genetics – Koreans are Confucians – Confucian philosophy venerates the old and one’s ancestors."

     

    What's your concrete proof that it's not in genetics?

    It's all too easy to claim that is "only culture". A culture doesn't grow and maintain itself in empty air, but is mostly, and firmly, supported via the genetics underneath - so called "gene-culture co-evolution", else why such a Confucius culture only exists within the East Asians, but not randomly in Romania or Morrocco or somewhere, eh?

    "When a Korean immigrates to America his successive generations lose his Confucian philosophy. They adapted to Western philosophy"
     
    Again, that's a very bold claim. They may dress, speak and act like, or even more than, their Western counterparts in the West on the surface, perhaps due to the social pressure of "blending-in". Panda doubts that they have lost their Confucian philosophy while at their homes.

    Culture co-evolution works that way…

    Cultural model generally fit with SOME personality types. For example, US(ass) government may introduce a gothic culture among young people as the (advantageous) behavioural standard. Even if most americans are not gothic-like (depression cult) in personality type, some will be. Those who are gothic-like will can increase the number of children in a long term, because cultural (environmental) stress tend to reduce fertility. And conformist people will adapt themselves in these culture, like ”racism’ and ”homophobia’ today. Racism, specially against blacks, was a mainstream in 50′s. Homossexuality, in western, specially, was treated as mental disease (partially correct, specially for excessive promiscuous one) at least in the 70′s.

    Cultural change fluctuations mean micro-adaptation. Humans live in societies, we are a social animals. And ordinary humans reflect less about their actions.

    Cognitive ordinary people tend to have less responsibility about factual reality or truth.

    Biological changes, like, biological-like gothic folks become majority (increase in suicides and depressions) in the United States is more rare, but superficial or cutural changes are trivial.

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  49. szopen says:
    @jeppo
    I included Austria with the other German-speaking countries because ... wait for it ... it's a German-speaking country. That's the "scientific reason" behind my "petty theory."

    I never said all Eastern European countries are Orthodox or prefer vodka, but most are and do. The drink of choice in the countries you named are:

    Poland: beer
    Czech: beer
    Slovakia: spirits
    Slovenia: wine
    Croatia: wine

    http://chartsbin.com/view/1017

    Sure, it’s German speaking, but genetically it has a lot of Slavic admixture. Meaning you can’t assume it’s all innate.

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  50. szopen says:
    @jeppo
    I included Austria with the other German-speaking countries because ... wait for it ... it's a German-speaking country. That's the "scientific reason" behind my "petty theory."

    I never said all Eastern European countries are Orthodox or prefer vodka, but most are and do. The drink of choice in the countries you named are:

    Poland: beer
    Czech: beer
    Slovakia: spirits
    Slovenia: wine
    Croatia: wine

    http://chartsbin.com/view/1017

    One more thing:

    List of Slavic countries

    West Slavic:
    Poland, Czech, Slovakia (not a single orthodox, 2 not vodka)
    Southern Slavic:

    SLovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, BUlgaria (1 Muslim, 3 orthodox, 2 catholic, only 1 Vodka)

    Eastern Slavic:
    Belarus, Ukraine, RUssia (orthodox, vodka)

    So you have 12 Slavic countries (not counting small MOntenegro), of which 6 is orthodox and 5 are VODKA. THis is not “MOST”.

    If you are going by the population, then it’s different for one reason: Russia, which alone counts for almost half of Slavic population. Once exlude Russiam, by population again you won’t have “MOST” Slavs.

    In summary, you took “Russia” for granted as standing for “Most slavic countries”. This is very annoying for most of us non-Russians.

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    • Replies: @jeppo
    I was talking about Eastern Europe as a whole. My definition of Eastern Europe is all the European post-communist states (except East Germany) plus Russia, for a total of 21 nations with a population of roughly 330 million.

    In linguistic terms there are:

    13 Slavic nations (pop. 285 million)
    2 Latin nations (pop. 25 million)
    2 Finno-Ugric nations (pop. 10 million)
    2 Albanian nations (pop. 5 million)
    2 Baltic nations (pop. 5 million)

    In religious terms there are:

    9 Orthodox nations (pop. 240 million)
    7 Catholic nations (pop. 75 million)
    3 Muslim nations (pop. 10 million)
    2 Protestant nations (pop. 5 million)

    By alcoholic preference there are:

    10 Vodka nations (pop. 240 million)
    5 Beer nations (pop. 65 million)
    4 Wine nations (pop. 20 million)
    2 nations with no data (pop. 5 million)

    So I think it's fair to say that most (but not all) Eastern Europeans are Slavs; are Orthodox; and prefer vodka.
  51. jeppo says:
    @szopen
    One more thing:

    List of Slavic countries

    West Slavic:
    Poland, Czech, Slovakia (not a single orthodox, 2 not vodka)
    Southern Slavic:

    SLovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, BUlgaria (1 Muslim, 3 orthodox, 2 catholic, only 1 Vodka)

    Eastern Slavic:
    Belarus, Ukraine, RUssia (orthodox, vodka)

    So you have 12 Slavic countries (not counting small MOntenegro), of which 6 is orthodox and 5 are VODKA. THis is not "MOST".

    If you are going by the population, then it's different for one reason: Russia, which alone counts for almost half of Slavic population. Once exlude Russiam, by population again you won't have "MOST" Slavs.

    In summary, you took "Russia" for granted as standing for "Most slavic countries". This is very annoying for most of us non-Russians.

    I was talking about Eastern Europe as a whole. My definition of Eastern Europe is all the European post-communist states (except East Germany) plus Russia, for a total of 21 nations with a population of roughly 330 million.

    In linguistic terms there are:

    13 Slavic nations (pop. 285 million)
    2 Latin nations (pop. 25 million)
    2 Finno-Ugric nations (pop. 10 million)
    2 Albanian nations (pop. 5 million)
    2 Baltic nations (pop. 5 million)

    In religious terms there are:

    9 Orthodox nations (pop. 240 million)
    7 Catholic nations (pop. 75 million)
    3 Muslim nations (pop. 10 million)
    2 Protestant nations (pop. 5 million)

    By alcoholic preference there are:

    10 Vodka nations (pop. 240 million)
    5 Beer nations (pop. 65 million)
    4 Wine nations (pop. 20 million)
    2 nations with no data (pop. 5 million)

    So I think it’s fair to say that most (but not all) Eastern Europeans are Slavs; are Orthodox; and prefer vodka.

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