January 19, 2006


When Bad People Are Punished, Men Smile (but Women Don't) (ELISABETH ROSENTHAL, 1/19/06, NY Times)

In the study, when male subjects witnessed people they perceived as bad guys being zapped by a mild electrical shock, their M.R.I. scans lit up in primitive brain areas associated with reward. Their brains' empathy centers remained dull.

Women watching the punishment, in contrast, showed no response in centers associated with pleasure. Even though they also said they did not like the bad guys, their empathy centers still quietly glowed.

The study seems to show for the first time in physical terms what many people probably assume they already know: that women are generally more empathetic than men, and that men take great pleasure in seeing revenge exacted.

The Jean Valjean problem is well known and it's this lack of moral fullness that makes their disenfranchisement best for the democracy.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 19, 2006 1:52 PM

I don't think the women who frequent this site exhibit that characteristic.

Posted by: ratbert at January 19, 2006 2:25 PM

I assume Dr. Brooke gets an exemption if she shows pleasure while punishing OJ.

Posted by: Jeff at January 19, 2006 2:26 PM

The good Doctor doesn't think other women should vote. As we said of teen and elderly drivers yesterday, you don't base societal rules on the exceptions, no matter how smart, lovely, and tweed-clad they may be.

Posted by: oj at January 19, 2006 2:32 PM

"...men take great pleasure in seeing revenge exacted."

The left can't seem to distinguish between "revenge" & "justice", can they? One wonders whether they even believe in the latter...

Posted by: b at January 19, 2006 2:39 PM

Still, it's said that Florida got a woman to pull the switch on Ted Bundy...

Posted by: M. Murcek at January 19, 2006 2:50 PM

So liberals, even the "men" among them, are really women?

I always suspected.

I'm guesing that why Andy Sully's "empathy center" goes nuts when he thinks about some poor terrorist not getting enough sleep.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at January 19, 2006 2:57 PM

We don't base societal rules on the exceptions

When you're at 51% of the population you're not an exception, oj.

Posted by: joe shropshire at January 19, 2006 2:58 PM


You are when your personal predispositions tend to be antithetical to a republic of liberty.

Posted by: oj at January 19, 2006 3:05 PM


Liberalism is the politics of emotion and the desire for security and inherently feminine.

Posted by: oj at January 19, 2006 3:07 PM

Since you are definitely in the minority on this issue OJ and completely at odds with American societal norms, doesn't that make you the witch that needs to be burned?

Posted by: bplus at January 19, 2006 3:30 PM

All of us conservative women are right there with those men. Too many mushy liberal women in their sample. OJ, don't be too ready to take my vote away - I vote for all the right stuff! We need to convert more women to conservatism, not take away their votes.

Posted by: Kay in CA at January 19, 2006 3:42 PM

If we burned OJ every time he was in the "minority on this issue . . . and completely at odds with American societal norms," we'd soon be facing a Graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate bar shortage.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 19, 2006 3:56 PM


Marriage does that, which is why we need to refurbish the institution.

Posted by: oj at January 19, 2006 3:58 PM


Posted by: oj at January 19, 2006 3:59 PM

Our first mistake was when we bought’em shoes.

Posted by: TGN at January 19, 2006 4:23 PM

And they haven't stopped since. The Wife's closet looks like Imelda Marcos is moving in....

Posted by: oj at January 19, 2006 4:31 PM

I would expect most men to enjoy seeing anyone, guilty or innocent, getting a mild electrical shock. Because it's funny.

Posted by: Carter at January 19, 2006 4:52 PM

But are they comfortable?

Posted by: ghostcat at January 19, 2006 4:53 PM

I see. So when a climatologist confirms his own suspicions on human-induced climate change, it's junk science. When a psychologist confirms your own suspicons on female cognition, it's a sound basis for establishment of the social order.

Posted by: M. Bulger at January 19, 2006 4:59 PM

Certainly was funny when Dr Vosknocker wired Cartman up to the V-chip. But that was just a cartoon character so it doesn't mean I'm a sadist or anything.

Posted by: joe shropshire at January 19, 2006 5:17 PM

ghostcat, what does comfort have to do with shoes?

Posted by: erp at January 19, 2006 5:26 PM


What does psychology have to do with Creation?

Posted by: oj at January 19, 2006 6:07 PM

erp -

My wife's podiatrist knows many answers to that question.

Posted by: ghostcat at January 19, 2006 7:04 PM

B is very much correct about the semantic and moral confusion the article presents.

The headline of the article tells of "punishment," the text of "revenge."

The the concepts are most defintitely not the same. Punishment is almost always legitimate, being imposed by one in authority to do so. Revenge, on the contrary, is always illegimate.

this is not unlike the frequent confusion of lawful self-defense with vigilantism.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 19, 2006 8:03 PM

The question I have is, would Perlstein's pleasure center light up if he saw W. being punished, or would his liberal, er feminine, er empathy center light up?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at January 19, 2006 8:37 PM

Do I get to keep my franchise if I confess to beaming on the day I heard of Tookie Williams demise?

Posted by: Melissa at January 19, 2006 8:48 PM

The Tookies are too easy. The question is should Jean Valjean be convicted?

Posted by: oj at January 19, 2006 10:01 PM

That's even easier. Yes, he should be convicted. He's a miserable Frenchman.

Posted by: Melissa at January 19, 2006 10:50 PM
The Wife's closet looks like Imelda Marcos is moving in
My daughter was picking out shoes (and making Mom buy them) at 20 months. "Shoe" was her third word, after "no" and "milk" but before "Mommy" (and waaaay before "Daddy"). It's clearly genetic and the best argument for intelligent design that I've seen.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 20, 2006 12:05 AM


Sadly you're the exception for whom we can't make our rules.... :)

Posted by: oj at January 20, 2006 7:53 AM

AOG -- you are blessed with an exceptional daughter. Most girls don't reach proficiency in shoe selection until 24 months and some, sad to say, never reach it. Purple Mary Janes with what looks like hearts, flowers and stars on them! It will never get better than that.

oj -- for the record, I too beam with delight on the all too rare occasion when justice has been served and the guilty are punished.

ghostcat - fie on podiatrists and their jihad against high heel shoes. I wore them all my life and my feet are pretty much the only part of me that aren't hurting right now.

Posted by: erp at January 20, 2006 9:45 AM