The Empathizing–Systemizing Theory and ‘Extreme Male Brain’ (EMB) Theory in Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD): An Explorative, Cross-Sectional Study

Francesco Craig, Andrea De Giacomo, Rosa Savino, Marta Ruggiero, Luigi Russo, Isabella Fanizza, Lucia Margari, Antonio Trabacca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate whether empathizing and systemizing are part of the parental broad autism phenotype (BAP). Parents (N = 76) of preschool children with a diagnosis of ASD and parents (N = 48) of typically developing (TD) children completed the Empathy Quotient (EQ) and Systemizing Quotient-Revised (SQ-R) questionnaires. The E–S discrepancy (D score) was used to test for sex differences in five “brain types”. Our results suggest that the E–S theory do not seem to be part of the BAP. However, a stronger drive to systemize than empathize (Type S brain) could be a highly inheritable cognitive endophenotype of mothers of children with ASD. This study should be repeated with a larger sample size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4067-4078
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume49
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2019

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Empathizing
  • Extreme male brain theory
  • Parental broad autism phenotype
  • Systemizing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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