November 23, 2010

Poor People Are Better at Empathy Than Rich People Are
In multiple experiments, people of high socioeconomic status (or people who perceived themselves to be well-off) were worse at judging other people’s emotions than those of low socioeconomic status, both when looking at photographs and interacting with real people. The reason may be that people with low income or low education have to be more responsive to others to get by, said study author Michael Kraus, a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at the University of California, San Francisco. (Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience)

What Makes People Psychopaths?
Elsa Ermer and Kent Kiehl of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque thought that psychopaths might not possess the instinctive grasp of social contracts—the rules that govern obligations—that other people have. To examine this idea, as they report this week in Psychological Science, they used a game called the Wason card test. (The Economist)

Dreaming of Immortality
Tom Junod: Science increasingly has become a matter of belief. Its logic, once pointed at the eradication of disease and infection, is now inexorably pointed at aging and death, which is to say the ultimate questions that were once left to religion. Over the past six years, I’ve written several science stories for Esquire‘s annual Best and Brightest issue, and most of them were about scientists who began contending with a particular disease but wound up contending with aging and death as disease—as something that can be cured. (Esquire)

Hearing to Decide if Polygamy Laws Are Constitutional Begins in Canada
Section 293 of the Criminal Code is seriously flawed, Vancouver lawyer George Macintosh will argue. Is it even valid? The challenge springs from British Columbia’s trouble with Bountiful, the fundamentalist Mormon community deep in the province’s interior, where polygamy has been practiced, virtually unfettered, for decades. (Brian Hutchinson, Holy Post, National Post)

THEATER
The Break of Noon

The road to salvation is flat and narrow in The Break of Noon, Neil LaBute’s single-tone study of a life after a near-death experience. In this new work from the prolific and undeniably talented LaBute, which opened at the Lucille Lortel Theater, the sole survivor of an office massacre (played by David Duchovny) hears the voice of God amid the carnage. (Ben Brantley, The New York Times)

Category: Field Notes

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