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Humane Development: Empathy Unpacked

Ernie Miller
February 12, 2016

Humane Development: Empathy Unpacked

We call it "Computer Science." That's comforting, somehow, because science deals with cold, hard facts. We can prove the correctness of an algorithm, or watch our skills, and our app, improve in measurable ways.

Yet, at its core, software development isn't an act of scientific triumph, but of empathy. Software's true worth isn't measured in lines of code or test coverage. It's measured by how it makes life a little bit better for someone else. Maybe your application or library makes someone's day a little less painful, or maybe the code itself brings a smile to someone's face.

It's about time we have a hard talk about a soft skill.

Ernie Miller

February 12, 2016

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  1. !

  2. –George Bernard Shaw “Do not do unto others as you

    would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.”

    I LOVE IT!" –Actual User Quote *

    I LOVE IT!" –Actual User Quote * * not an actual user quote
  5. puts "The variable contains: #{var}" puts 'No interpolation here.' puts

    "The variable contains: #{var}" puts "No interpolation here." puts "The variable contains: #{var}" puts %q|LOL WHY NOT?|
  6. class ThingTest < MiniTest::Test def thing @thing ||= Thing.new end

    def test_forty_two assert_equal 42, thing.forty_two end def test_thinginess assert thing.thingy? end end describe Thing do describe '#forty_two' do it 'is 42' do expect(subject.forty_two).to be 42 end end describe '#thingy?' do it 'is true' do expect(subject).to be_thingy end end end
  7. Women picked up yawns about 55% of the time, whereas

    men only did so 40% of the time. Source: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/02/women-are-more-empathetic-men-yawning-study-suggests
  8. Roughly half of population mirrors yawning, yawning study suggests Hey,

    look, here's a stock photo of three women yawning
  9. Gender Differences, Motivation, and Empathic Accuracy: When It Pays to

    Understand http://pages.uoregon.edu/hodgeslab/files/Download/Klein%20Hodges_2001.pdf Kristi J. K. Klein Sara D. Hodges
  10. Empathic Accuracy The ability to infer the specific content of

    another person's thoughts and feelings.
  11. –Klein & Hodges “In the first seven studies using Ickes

    and colleagues’ empathic accuracy paradigm, no gender differences were encountered; however, in the next three studies using the same paradigm, a gender difference was found, with women showing significantly more empathic accuracy than men.”
  12. –Klein & Hodges “The only difference between the studies that

    found a gender difference and those that did not was a modification of the reporting form on which perceivers inferred the targets’ thoughts and feelings.”
  13. –Klein & Hodges “[...] we predicted that the motivating effects

    of money would eliminate the gender differences by increasing the men’s performance on the empathic accuracy task.”
  14. I'm too busy crushing code to worry about empathy! I'm

    literally less emotionally intelligent than a rat.