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Empathy Quotient (EQ)

What is the Empathy Quotient (EQ)?

The EQ is a self-report questionnaire designed to measure an individual’s level of empathy. The EQ consists of 60 questions aimed to assess an individual’s ability to empathise and understand how someone else is feeling or thinking. It is important to note that it is a complete myth that autistic people do not have empathy! They do, but how it presents and how it is experienced can be different.

How are EQ scores interpreted?

  • A score of 30 or below suggests a lower level of empathy and difficulties with connecting with others emotions or expressing empathy.
  • A study found that about 81% of people diagnosed with Autism score 30 or lower
  • A majority of non-autistic males score 42 on average
  • A majority non-autistic females score 47 on average
  • A score of 30 or above suggests a greater level of empathy and higher sensitivities to others’ emotions and may demonstrate empathy more consistently
  • EQ scores are not a definitive indicator of an individual’s empathic capabilities as it is a complex trait influenced by many different variables. There are also many different types of empathy exhibited by individuals. The EQ may be a better measure of social and communicative differences rather than simply empathy alone.

References

The Empathy Quotient: An Investigation of Adults with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism, and Normal Sex Differences (Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2004)