Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 709–715

Who Cares? Revisiting Empathy in Asperger Syndrome

Authors

  • Kimberley Rogers
    • Millhauser Laboratories (MHL-400), Center for Brain HealthNew York University School of Medicine
  • Isabel Dziobek
    • Millhauser Laboratories (MHL-400), Center for Brain HealthNew York University School of Medicine
  • Jason Hassenstab
    • Millhauser Laboratories (MHL-400), Center for Brain HealthNew York University School of Medicine
  • Oliver T. Wolf
    • Institute of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of Dusseldorf
    • Millhauser Laboratories (MHL-400), Center for Brain HealthNew York University School of Medicine
    • Nathan Kline Institute
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-006-0197-8

Cite this article as:
Rogers, K., Dziobek, I., Hassenstab, J. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2007) 37: 709. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0197-8

Abstract

A deficit in empathy has consistently been cited as a central characteristic of Asperger syndrome (AS), but previous research on adults has predominantly focused on cognitive empathy, effectively ignoring the role of affective empathy. We administered the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), a multi-dimensional measure of empathy, and the Strange Stories test to 21 adults with AS and 21 matched controls. Our data show that while the AS group scored lower on the measures of cognitive empathy and theory of mind, they were no different from controls on one affective empathy scale of the IRI (empathic concern), and scored higher than controls on the other (personal distress). Therefore, we propose that the issue of empathy in AS should be revisited.

Keywords

Empathy Asperger syndrome Autism Theory of mind Social cognition

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006