Empathy Quotient

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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.[1] The questionnaire was developed by the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, by Simon Baron-Cohen and Sally Wheelwright.[1]


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.[1]

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.


In 2006, Wheelwright and Baron-Cohen published another paper presenting a moderate, negative correlation between Empathy Quotient scores and Autism Spectrum Quotient scores. [2]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Baron-Cohen S., Wheelwright S. (2004). "The empathy quotient: an investigation of adults with Asperger Syndrome or high functioning autism, and normal sex differences" (PDF). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 34 (2): 163–175. doi:10.1023/B:JADD.0000022607.19833.00. PMID 15162935. 
  2. ^ Wheelwright, S; Baron-Cohen, S; Goldenfeld, N; Delaney, J; Fine, D; Smith, R; Weil, L; Wakabayashi, A (2006). "Predicting Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ ) from the Systemizing Quotient-Revised (SQ-R) and Empathy Quotient (EQ )". Brain Research 1076 (1): 47-56. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2006.01.012.