Researchers reveal our genes may play a role in how empathetic we are. The study reports genetic variants associated with low empathy may indicate a higher risk of autism.
Empathy has two parts: the ability to recognize another person’s thoughts and feelings, and the ability to respond with an appropriate emotion to someone else’s thoughts and feelings. The first part is called ‘cognitive empathy’ and the second part ‘affective empathy’.
Fifteen years ago, a team of scientists at the University of Cambridge developed the Empathy Quotient (EQ), a brief self-report measure of empathy. The EQ measures both parts of empathy.