Friday, May 28, 2010

It's all about them!

I came across an interesting article today on Yahoo. http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20100528/sc_livescience/todayscollegestudentslackempathy

It states that based on test scores, today's college students are less emphatic then 20-30 years ago. I will point out though, that measuring empathy like many emotions, is an extremely subjective process and generational differences can play a part in how effective a test is as well. (that's assuming the test is the same as it was 20-30 years ago.) This reminds me why I never pursued further education in Psychology after getting my bachelor's. The field of psychology and sociology both have issues in 'measuring' data. The number of variables, bias, perceptions, and a myriad of other factors make these sciences very soft. In other words, the 'data' in them is going to be open to far greater interpretation due to the factors I listed then any other science.

This isn't to say that testing in the social science fields is worthless, it's just that as a society we tend to view these 'result's poorly, whether that should be blamed on the field, the media, or people in general I don't know, but typically these tests when measured against other groups indicate change has occurred, but doesn't always indicate what type of change we are looking at. As an example, while it may in fact be empathy, the perception of what is emphatic could very well have changed over the years, hence the change to the answers. (i.e the test is no longer measuring empathy in the same way because socially it's been redefined).

Oh well, enough venting on it, it's just one of my pet peeves.

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