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back to article Engineers are cold and dead inside, research shows

A study carried out by psychology researchers in Sweden has shown that people who go into engineering are less caring and empathetic than those who enter professions such as medicine. Trick-cyclist Chato Rasoal and his colleagues determined this by surveying 200 students from six different study programs, using a "well- …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Engineers often simply lack understanding of emotional situations

"Sales 'people' on the other hand are actually evil."

I know an guy who is moving over to sales. Very accurate on his part.

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Re: Engineers often simply lack understanding of emotional situations

Back before I got a respectable job I did a stint in Sales and each day I could feel a part of my soul shrivel and die, I managed to escape to a programming job before I reached the baby eating stage.

Others I worked with were genuinely evil, comparable in empathy to either cockroaches or starving wolves, or some evil genetic hybrid, in fact they possibly were some kind of evil genetic hybrid.

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Trollface

Re: Engineers often simply lack understanding of emotional situations

Sales people need to be able to lie convincingly, like lawyer and politicians. Engineers are simply pragmatic.

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Childcatcher

Re: Engineers often simply lack understanding of emotional situations

Sales people are not evil....would you like a baby? what colour/size? I can get you a great deal but only until Friday at noon...

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Unhappy

Re: Engineers often simply lack understanding of emotional situations

" comparable in empathy to either cockroaches or starving wolves, or some evil genetic hybrid, in fact they possibly were some kind of evil genetic hybrid."

A cockwolf?

A wolfcock?

Scary either way.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Engineers often simply lack understanding of emotional situations

That should be "roachwolf" because "cockwolf" suggests something very, very different.

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Alert

Re: Engineers often simply lack understanding of emotional situations

comparable in empathy to either cockroaches or starving wolves

An apology to wolves, please! They are extremely empathetic creatures, and not only to members of their own species.

A remarkable documentary I once watched showed what happened when scientists flew into the remotest wilds of Northern Canada to study wolves that had never before encountered human beings. What happened in one season was remarkable. The Wolves were neither hostile nor frightened. They were curious. Within a few months they had co-opted the scientists into their pack, and the alpha female was leaving her cubs for the humans to watch over.

A wolf, and man's best friend the dog, are the same species. It's very obvious how that got started. I'm afraid that it's my own species that too often comes up short on the intrinsic empathy score-sheet.

By the way, many large cities in both Europe and the USA now have urban wolves as well as urban foxes. AFAIK children eaten by urban wolves to date, zero. (Ditto urban mountain lions, which are potentially even more of a nightmare!).

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Happy

Re: Engineers often simply lack understanding of emotional situations

"By the way, many large cities in both Europe and the USA now have urban wolves as well as urban foxes. AFAIK children eaten by urban wolves to date, zero. (Ditto urban mountain lions, which are potentially even more of a nightmare!)."

But watch out for the urban badgers.

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Vic
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Re: Engineers often simply lack understanding of emotional situations

> remember borderline socipaths need love too.

Isn't that why they carry cash?

Vic.

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Re: Engineers often simply lack understanding of emotional situations

>> Sales 'people' on the other hand are actually evil. Truely dead inside and would happily eat a baby if there was

>> margin in it.

Surely you mean marketing droids? Or legal?

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Holmes

*facepalms*

Just...wow.

There are so many things wrong here, I don't even

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Re: *facepalms*

Quite an emotional response. Are you a doctor or a computer tech?

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TRT
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Re: *facepalms*

Please express the force of your facepalm in kilopascals.

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Joke

Re: *facepalms*

"Please express the force of your facepalm in kilopascals."

I think Norrises per nanoWales is the accepted unit here

Not that I care

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Flame

Re: *facepalms*

... let's see if a proper flamewar on units of measurement and/or the value of welsh oppression measured in metric will prove once and for all that nerdy engineering people have just as strong feelings as everyone else !

Does the paper at the very least provide properly error-corrected measurements for emotional suppression in units of mmHg ?

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TRT
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Boffin

Re: *facepalms*

Typical engineering response to determine the measure of public opinion that is; build an emotional barometer. I think their case is proved!

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Happy

Re: *facepalms*

It is equally typical for non-engineers not to get these jokes

Engineers and non-engineers are simply two nations separated by a common language

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Windows

Re: *facepalms*

Slugs/ft , preferably. Per second.

Bam! Bam! Bam!

3, (writing) ... Bam! Bam! 2, ...

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Meh

Software Developers

Ah but the difference with us is that we start out happy and optimistic then after 5 years or so in the industry, once enough coffee has been consumed and enough DailyWTFs have been observed; we become bitter, sarcastic, cynical bastards.

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Re: Software Developers

It took you 5 years? I don't think I lasted 5 months!

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Re: Software Developers

However, the study is on 'students', so no such observations as 5 years in the industry. Admittedly the results might have differed (i.e. being more interesting) analyzing seasoned professionals rather than 'students'.

OTOH, according my girlfriend sarcastic/cynical/arrogant doesn't necessary equal cold/dead inside.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Software Developers

>become bitter, sarcastic, cynical bastards.

That are symptoms for burn-out

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Stop

Stop Press: People who like to be left alone with machines less empathic than 'caring professions'

"However, the study is on 'students', so no such observations as 5 years in the industry. Admittedly the results might have differed (i.e. being more interesting) analyzing seasoned professionals rather than 'students'."

Yeah...because after 5 years in the industry, we're all fscking happy-clapping hippies who don't wish death on users on a daily basis.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Software Developers

I think it's telling that the study was about students.

The actual sugeons and medical researchers i know (i.e. in the industry for a few years) can take it up with most engineers in terms of sarcasm, nihilism etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Software Developers

[anon just before]

Probably should have added that i work in medical device industry where these fields come well into contact.

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Coat

Re: Software Developers

Nihilism is a zero-sum philosophy.

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Dead on the inside?

Maybe I got into the wrong area on engineering, because I'm pretty sure I fall under the 'classic' category by their definitions.

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Mushroom

Die non-engineering scum

The whole reason I did solid state optoelectronics engineering degree is to I could make Laser Glasses to kill off all non engineers. b*stard Google have now ruined my fun.

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Joke

Wonder how that compares to what UI/OS you use?

**** Warning: this is a joke. If you get riled by any of this then you are getting what you deserve! ****

Linux with KDE: Like a kid in a sweetstore and just as hyper. "Give me the SHINY!"

Linux with Gnome 2 and clones: Critical parents.

Linux with Gnome 3: Trick cyclists

Linux with XFCE: Enigmatic

Apple OS X: Narcissistic

Windows Vista: Masochist

Windows XP: Miss Havisham complex.

Windows 8: Past caring/given up on life.

Windows 7: Happy in their own little world and will NEVER read the news in case something disturbs them.

**** End of warning. You may now close your Links browser ****

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Coat

Re: Wonder how that compares to what UI/OS you use?

What about us poor geeks who use Linux + Xmonad? What are we?

Mine's the one with the plastic pocket protector...

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Go

Re: Wonder how that compares to what UI/OS you use?

I run Windows 7 and, at the same time, Debian with command line interface only. Hm, that actually fits well into someone not following the news ...

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Re: Wonder how that compares to what UI/OS you use?

Attention seeking. :)

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Anonymous Coward

Linux with Gnome 2 Clone

Narcissistic --- my desktop is configured just exactly how I want it. Must be a reflection of me.

Miss Havisham complex --- the base model is the one introduced way back, by Win98/2000.

SHINY --- I have a dose of that too, courtesy of Compiz and Emerald.

Unity? Eurgh! Gnome Shell? What is that? --- Yes, above all, I live in my own little world...

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Joke

Re: Wonder how that compares to what UI/OS you use?

You forgot:

IOS: Small penises, but can't allow to buy an expensive sports car.*

*: See the caveat in the parent comment

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Coat

Sir

What about those of us who started out in Electronics, but switched to computing?

Also, isn't it 'empathic' ?

Don't bother answering, I couldn't give a toss what the answer is.

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Holmes

Am I bothered?

Is this my bothered face?

Sounds like a candidate for this years (Ig)Nobel prize.

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Re: Am I bothered?

That or the "Scientists Now Know" section of Annals of Improbable Research

I should send them my paper on Creativity - Bureaucracy Decay Studied by Pasta - Antipasta Collision Experiments, but I haven't yet got round to making up some data to put in the plots

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Windows

And it

took a study to work this out!!!!!

Go talk to your local "in-house" IT bod, tell him you cant access your email...

See how many fucks he gives...

I am a souless, cold, emotionless empty hearted bastard who doesn't give a crap as to what happens to anyone except immediate family/frieds/big walleted customers...

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Thumb Down

Really?

Or is it that engineers, being devoted to what is real and measurable and having a passion for truth and exactness, will fill in the questionnaire honestly. Whereas the rest will fill it in according to how they think they ought to be?

And the truth is that most people have little empathy with others?

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Re: Really?

For those of us who are actual engineers (not just those that get the title as part if their job description) we learn that the humanities are a third of the triumvirate that makes up the discipline. You cannot be a successful engineer if you aren't willing to acknowledge and accept the human component in every project.

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Mushroom

New research shows....

....that psychiatrists get a big kick out of picking on some group of people and slagging them off in the press.

You want to know who the real bastards are lads? Try looking in the mirror.

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Unhappy

Doctors caring & empathetic?

2 of the most inhuman & non-empathetic people I ever met were surgeons.

I remember being warned by a nurse before I saw one of them to try to ignore his curt manner & lack of any consideration for emotional matters before I went in to see him - apparently he was renowned for it (though a very good surgeon).

The other was a revered consultant at a teaching hospital. He would do his rounds without ever actually speaking to his patients, only to the students. Not even a "how are you feeling today" commentl.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

Agreed. Was in for a throat checkup due to some issues and the guy was curt, insulted me straight in the face, treated me like livestock. So yeah... Doctors... with a few exceptions... very uncaring and unemphatic.

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Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

My better half is an anesthetist. Give me one good reason why she should care more about you than a car mechanic does about your shitty Fiesta?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

Surgeons are well known for not being able to deal with patients when the concious. Senior consultants can be as bad.

Actually, the requirements to even qualify and survive the early professional years in medicine are so tough it is a wonder any of them have any human qualities left.

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Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

Because she gets paid a metric fuckton more than a mechanic. Because human beings are generally assumed to be a little more important than cars. Because humans actually do have feelings and can be hurt whereas cars can only be broken or fixed. However, I would note that as an anaesthetist it's somewhat unlikely that she'll actually have to deal with people in any state other than unconsciousness (unless she screws up, in which case, hey, Adomako here we come), so she'll probably be able to go through her entire career without it being an issue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAymSVW_UIM

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Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

Agreed. The head of the maternity unit where my wife had her baby couldn't connected with patients in any way beyond talking at them. Some of the mid-wives were the same. The older they were the more likely this was to be. Perhaps they start out caring then prolonged contact with the public works its magic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

A fair number of caring and empathetic people start studying medicine but then discover they can't cope with cutting people up, watching them die, etcetera, and switch to another course.

But that was, of course, in the old days. Nowadays GPs are so overpaid that the subject attracts mostly mercenaries.

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FAIL

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

Because she gets paid a metric fuckton more than a mechanic.

Not really. Mechanic wages go at about £25/hour + VAT. She only earns more than that on locum overtime, which is above and beyond existing hours. You know, the ones involving 13 hour on-call shifts, lates, earlies, weekends, nights... not many mechanics work those.

A doctor has a responsibility to treat your illnesses, not your sensitive ickle feelings.

Also, fuck you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doctors caring & empathetic?

I think you miss the point that the illness spectrum shades off into all sorts of things. Given the importance of the placebo effect - even with local anaesthesia - paying attention to sensitive ickle feelings can save a lot of time, money and unnecessary surgical interventions.

Mind you, if you are an engineer or a scientist, it helps if your GP understands that you just want the facts to make a decision based on his medical assessment and don't need any reassuring. My GP gets this. He happily gives me numbers rather than waffle, and I treat him like a professional. We get on well.

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