Test 21: You know that Voight-Kampf test of yours? Did you ever take that test yourself? Deckard?

January 29, 2011 at 6:58 am 1 comment

When I expressed surprise to my wife and mother that I hadn’t scored quite so stratospherically high on the empathy test as I’d expected, they laughed in my face and muttered something about inaccurate tests and self-delusion. Which wasn’t very empathic of them.

This is a 33 item test where you score from 1 = very strong disagreement to 9 = very strong agreement. You do some reverse scoring and get a raw total, though Janda alludes to sub-scales such as “Susceptibility to Emotional Contagion”, “Appreciation of the Feelings of Unfamiliar and Distant Others” and “Tendency to be moved by other’s positive emotional experiences.”

Janda reckons “if you received a high score on this test, the odds are good that you are one of those people who make an important contribution to a civilized, humane society.” Well, that’s definitely me! First sensible thing the guy has said…. [irony].

Anyhow Janda is alert to the dangers of empathic people becoming burntout doormats.
“This same sensitivity makes [people in the helping professions] prone to early burnout. If you did receive a score above the 85th percentile, it might be wise to give some thought to the emotional consequences of the career you select.”

“If you’re looking for sympathy, you’ll find it in the dictionary, between shit and syphilis. If you’re looking for empathy, you’ll find it in the dictionary, between ejaculate and enemas.”

See also:
Brilliant article and useful discussion on “Sociopaths among us
Mirror Neurons
Empathy
Psychopaths

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Entry filed under: self-knowledge. Tags: , , .

Test 20: I will survive! Test 22: You’re dead a long time, and I feel fine

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