Brief Report: Development of the Adolescent Empathy and Systemizing Quotients
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Adolescent versions of the Empathy Quotient (EQ) and Systemizing Quotient (SQ) were developed and administered to n = 1,030 parents of typically developing adolescents, aged 12–16 years. Both measures showed good test–retest reliability and high internal consistency. Girls scored significantly higher on the EQ, and boys scored significantly higher on the SQ. A sample of adolescents with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) (n = 213) scored significantly lower on the EQ, and significantly higher on the SQ, compared to typical boys. Similar patterns of sex differences and cognitive brain types are observed in children, adolescents and adults, suggesting from cross-sectional studies that the behaviours measured by age-appropriate versions of the EQ and SQ are stable across time. Longitudinal studies would be useful to test this stability in the future. Finally, relative to typical sex differences, individuals with ASC, regardless of age, on average exhibit a ‘hyper-masculinized’ profile.
KeywordsEmpathy Systemizing Autism Sex differences Adolescents
This work was funded by a grant from the MRC to SBC and was conducted in association with the NIHR CLAHRC for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. We are grateful to the families who gave their time to participate in this study. We are also grateful to Nigel Goldenfeld, Jac Billington, Johnny Lawson and Bhismadev Chakrabarti for useful discussions.
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