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Empathy Quotient test PDF

This week I took the Empathy Quotient (EQ) test. I know many of you have been waiting for this one. Next week we’ll do something less technical and more fun, but this week, I’m gonna hit you with a lot of background info. The EQ and the 2004 study that it was originally used in created a firestorm of controversy that never really died down.

The Empathy Quotient (EQ) test is intended to be a measure of your ability to understand how people feel and to respond appropriately. The questions on the EQ are based on the following definition of empathy:

“Empathy is the drive or ability to attribute mental states to another person/animal, and entails an appropriate affective response in the observer to the other person’s mental state.” (Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright, 2004)

This definition encompasses both cognitive empathy (perspective taking/attribution) and affective empathy (emotional response to another’s emotional state). Although many autistic people have described distinct variations in their perceived levels of cognitive and empathic empathy, Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright state that cognitive and affective empathy are too difficult to untangle and therefore must be looked at as a whole.

A subsequent 2005 study by Muncer and Ling challenged this belief by sorting 23 of the 40 EQ questions into three domains: cognitive, emotional reactivity, and social skills. To give you an idea of what types of skills fall into each domain, here are the top 5 most relevant questions for each:

Cognitive

  1. I can tune into how someone else feels rapidly and intuitively
  2. I am good at predicting how someone will feel
  3. I am quick to spot when someone in a group is feeling awkward or uncomfortable
  4. I can easily work out what another person might want to talk about
  5. I can sense if I am intruding, even if the other person does not tell me

Social skills

  1. I do not tend to find social situations confusing
  2. I find it hard to know what to do in a social situation
  3. I often find it difficult to judge if something is rude or polite
  4. I find it difficult to explain to others things that I understand easily, when they do not understand it first time
  5. Friendships and relationships are just too difficult, so I tend not to bother with them

Emotional reactivity

  1. I tend to get emotionally involved with a friend’s problems
  2. Seeing people cry does not really upset me
  3. I really enjoy caring for other people
  4. I usually stay emotionally detached when watching a film
  5. If I say something that someone else is offended by, I think that is their problem, not mine

The 2005 study tested the 23 domain-specific EQ questions for gender differences. The emotional reactivity domain had the greatest gender differences, the cognitive domain had fewer differences and the social skills domain showed no differences in scores along gender lines. The authors theorized that emotional reactivity may be strongly rooted in the “willingness of an individual to express emotion” (drive) rather than the ability to understand another person’s emotional state.

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DVD (Universal Studios)
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