Empathizing and systemizing in adults with and without autism spectrum conditions: cross-cultural stability

J Autism Dev Disord. 2007 Nov;37(10):1823-32. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0316-6. Epub 2006 Dec 16.


This study tests the empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory of sex differences and the extreme male brain (EMB) theory of autism. Three groups of participants took part: n = 48 people with autism spectrum, n = 137 general population controls, and n = 1,250 university student controls. Each participant completed the Empathy Quotient (EQ) and the Systemizing Quotient (SQ).

Results: The autism spectrum condition (ASC) group scored significantly lower than controls on the EQ, and significantly higher on the SQ. Among both control groups, females scored significantly higher than males on the EQ, whilst males scored significantly higher than females on the SQ. The distribution of 'brain types', based on the difference between EQ and SQ scores, showed distinct profiles for people with ASC, control males and control females.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aptitude
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Systems Analysis*
  • United Kingdom