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The Empathy Quotient, often abbreviated as EQ is a psychological self-assessment questionnaire measuring empathy levels in an individual. Its predominate clinical use is as a screening tool for Autism Spectrum Disorders in adults. The questionnaire was developed by the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, by Simon Baron-Cohen and Sally Wheelwright.
The EQ contains 60 items of which 40 are clinically relevant and 20 are for distraction only. A 40-item version of the test containing only the relevant questions is also available, but may be less reliable in certain applications. Each item is a first person statement which the administree must rate as either Strongly Agree, Slightly Agree, Slightly Disagree, or Strongly Disagree. All questions must be answered.
The instrument is scored on a scale of 0 (being the least empathetic possible) to 80 (being the most empathetic possible). A useful cut-off of 30 was established when screening for Autism Spectrum Disorders.
As EQ is not a test like an intelligence assessment, it makes no sense to report world-records. Only psychometric properties might be useful to interpret data, such as number of dimensions : some authors agrees with Lawrence et al. proposal of the relevance of three factors : cognitive empathy, emotional reactivity, social skills, that have some consensual validity.
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