Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 464–473 | Cite as

Dissociation of Cognitive and Emotional Empathy in Adults with Asperger Syndrome Using the Multifaceted Empathy Test (MET)

  • Isabel Dziobek
  • Kimberley Rogers
  • Stefan Fleck
  • Markus Bahnemann
  • Hauke R. Heekeren
  • Oliver T. Wolf
  • Antonio Convit
Original Paper

Abstract

Empathy is a multidimensional construct consisting of cognitive (inferring mental states) and emotional (empathic concern) components. Despite a paucity of research, individuals on the autism spectrum are generally believed to lack empathy. In the current study we used a new, photo-based measure, the Multifaceted Empathy Test (MET), to assess empathy multidimensionally in a group of 17 individuals with Asperger syndrome (AS) and 18 well-matched controls. Results suggested that while individuals with AS are impaired in cognitive empathy, they do not differ from controls in emotional empathy. Level of general emotional arousability and socially desirable answer tendencies did not differ between groups. Internal consistency of the MET’s scales ranged from .71 to .92, and convergent and divergent validity were highly satisfactory.

Keywords

Asperger syndrome Autism Empathy Social cognition Theory of mind Sympathy 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The study was funded by a grant from the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) to A.C.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Dziobek
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kimberley Rogers
    • 2
    • 3
  • Stefan Fleck
    • 4
  • Markus Bahnemann
    • 1
  • Hauke R. Heekeren
    • 1
  • Oliver T. Wolf
    • 5
    • 7
  • Antonio Convit
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Neurocognition of Decision MakingMax-Planck-Institute for Human DevelopmentBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Center for Brain HealthNew York University School of Medicine New YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyThe Graduate Center of the City University of New York New YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Neuroscience and RehabilitationUniversity of Cologne CologneGermany
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity BielefeldBielefeldGermany
  6. 6.Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric ResearchOrangeburgUSA
  7. 7.Department of PsychologyRuhr-University BochumBochumGermany

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