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Not knowing what I feel: Emotional empathy in autism spectrum disorders



Not knowing what I feel: Emotional empathy in autism spectrum disorders



Autism 21(4): 450-457



While there is a general consensus in the literature that individuals with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty with cognitive empathy, much less is known about emotional empathy processing in these individuals. Most research has employed subjective self-report measures, which can often be misinterpreted or under-reported/over-reported. More objective measures such as psychophysiological recordings of arousal offer a more objective response. Furthermore, combining physiological responses with self-report ratings allows us to explore the relationship between these two responses to emotionally charged stimuli. A total of 25 individuals with autism spectrum disorder were compared with 25 matched controls on their physiological (arousal) and psychological (self-report) responses to emotionally distressing video scenes. These responses were also then compared with self-report cognitive and emotional trait empathy. Results indicate that while individuals with autism spectrum disorder appear to respond similarly to controls physiologically, their interpretation of this response is dampened emotionally. Furthermore, this dampening of self-report emotional response is associated with a general reduction in trait empathy.

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Accession: 058427799

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27246093

DOI: 10.1177/1362361316648520


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