Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 695–706 | Cite as

Are the Autism and Positive Schizotypy Spectra Diametrically Opposed in Empathizing and Systemizing?

  • Suzanna N. Russell-SmithEmail author
  • Donna M. Bayliss
  • Murray T. Maybery
  • Rosy L. Tomkinson
Original Paper


Crespi and Badcock’s (Behaviour Brain Sci 31: 241–261, 2008) novel theory, which presents autism and positive schizophrenia as diametrical opposites on a cognitive continuum, has received mixed support in the literature to date. The current study aimed to further assess the validity of this theory by investigating predictions in relation to empathizing and systemizing. Specifically, it is predicted by Crespi and Badcock that while mild autistic traits should be associated with a cognitive profile of superior mechanistic cognition (which overlaps with systemizing) but reduced mentalistic cognition (which overlaps with empathizing), positive schizotypy traits should be associated with the opposite profile of superior mentalistic but reduced mechanistic cognition. These predictions were tested in a student sample using a battery of self-report and behavioural measures. The pattern of results obtained provides no support for Crespi and Badcock’s theory.


Autism Schizotypy Empathy Systemizing Cognitive profile 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanna N. Russell-Smith
    • 1
    Email author
  • Donna M. Bayliss
    • 1
  • Murray T. Maybery
    • 1
  • Rosy L. Tomkinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurocognitive Development Unit, School of PsychologyUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawley, PerthAustralia

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