, Volume 39, Issue 11, pp 1509-1521
Date: 17 Jun 2009

The Children’s Empathy Quotient and Systemizing Quotient: Sex Differences in Typical Development and in Autism Spectrum Conditions

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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.

This study was conducted at the Autism Research Centre, University of Cambridge, UK. A portion of this work was submitted in part fulfillment of the degree of B.Sc. in the Department of Experimental Psychology, Cambridge University by NS and MA.