Simon Cowell, being empathetic?

He’s usually known as TV’s ‘Mr. Nasty’, but recently Simon Cowell has been uncharacteristically caring and empathetic – could this be a subconscious change as a result of becoming a father? 



If you are one of the many million followers of X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent you will be familiar with the programmes’ most formidable judge, Simon Cowell. Simon is best known for his direct approach to critiquing contestants, which includes remarks such as, “Do you have a singing teacher? Get a lawyer and sue her.” But it seems that Simon’s personality has been toned down somewhat and many people think this is due to Simon becoming a father earlier this year.

At best, Simon’s delivery of information can be described as direct, but really he is often insensitive and shows a complete disregard for people’s feelings. Watch the below video to see some of his most memorable critiques:


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He is the judge that viewers love to hate, but this is clearly part of the charm of these programmes. Simon left the UK versions of these shows to focus his time on their USA counterparts, and ITV’s ratings shot up when he returned back to the UK for the 2014 series.

If you have been following the UK X Factor this year, you may have noticed that Simon’s demeanor has changed and his bullish attitude has gone. 

Gone are the blunt criticisms and the sharp-tongued remarks and in their place is a more empathetic Simon, who seems to be more in tune with the feelings of the live audience and viewers at home. Has Simon decided to ditch the ‘bad guy’ persona that viewers have become accustomed to? Perhaps he has decided to turn over a new leaf or change his public image.


A possible reason for Simon’s changed ways could be that he is a new father

In February of this year Simon’s first son was born and several studies have shown that during this time new fathers experience an increase in hormones which causes them to become more empathetic. When you think about evolution, this seems like a fairly natural and somewhat obvious chemical reaction within the brain. New fathers that looked after new mothers ended up being successful in raising their offspring, and so this trait was passed on to the new generation.

Is Simon’s personality change short-lived? We don’t want to bet on Simon shunning his ‘Mr. Nasty’ persona permanently, but several studies say otherwise.


Simon Cowell twitter


Research into this subject shows that increased levels of empathy are permanent, however this does change over time. Just watch fathers and how they react to films featuring child characters, especially those that match the age and gender of their own children. In scenes where these children are in danger or moments of extreme emotion, this triggers a behavourial response in fathers such as heightened emotions and increased heart rate. This reaction is more extreme than that experienced by those who are not parents, and as a general rule, fathers are much more empathetic than men without children.

If you are interested in this subject, visit the below video from the BBC in which Dr Michael Mosely and Professor Alice Roberts investigate whether male and female brains are wired differently. 


Is your brain male or female?


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