Empathic Accuracy and Cognitive and Affective Empathy in Young Adults With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder

Karen Mckenzie, Ailsa Russell, Denis Golm, Graeme Fairchild

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This study investigated whether young adults with ASD (n = 29) had impairments in Cognitive Empathy (CE), Affective Empathy (AE) or Empathic Accuracy (EA; the ability to track changes in others’ thoughts and feelings) compared to typically-developing individuals (n = 31) using the Empathic Accuracy Task (EAT), which involves watching narrators recollecting emotionally-charged autobiographical events. Participants provided continuous ratings of the narrators’ emotional intensity (indexing EA), labelled the emotions displayed (CE) and reported whether they shared the depicted emotions (AE). The ASD group showed deficits in EA for anger but did not differ from typically-developing participants in CE or AE on the EAT. The ASD group also reported lower CE (Perspective Taking) and AE (Empathic Concern) on the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, a self-report questionnaire.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2021

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