Interviewed by Maia Szalavitz: Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen on Empathy and the Science of Evil

Cambridge psychology professor and leading autism expert Simon Baron-Cohen is best known for studying the theory that a key problem in autistic disorders is “mind blindness,” difficulty understanding the thoughts, feelings and intentions of others.

Cambridge psychology professor and leading autism expert Simon Baron-Cohen is best known for studying the theory that a key problem in autistic disorders is “mind blindness,” difficulty understanding the thoughts, feelings and intentions of others. He’s also known for positing the “extreme male brain” concept of autism, which suggests that exposure to high levels of testosterone in the womb can cause the brain to focus on systematic knowledge and patterns more than on emotions and connection with others.

What do you mean when you write about “zero negative” empathy?