The children's Empathy Quotient and Systemizing Quotient: sex differences in typical development and in autism spectrum conditions

J Autism Dev Disord. 2009 Nov;39(11):1509-21. doi: 10.1007/s10803-009-0772-x. Epub 2009 Jun 17.


Children's versions of the Empathy Quotient (EQ-C) and Systemizing Quotient (SQ-C) were developed and administered to n = 1,256 parents of typically developing children, aged 4-11 years. Both measures showed good test-retest reliability and high internal consistency. As predicted, girls scored significantly higher on the EQ-C, and boys scored significantly higher on the SQ-C. A further sample of n = 265 children with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) scored significantly lower on the EQ-C, and significantly higher on the SQ-C, compared to typical boys. Empathy and systemizing in children show similar patterns of sex differences to those observed in adults. Children with ASC tend towards a 'hyper-masculinized' profile, irrespective of sex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychological Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors