Empathy in Those with Autism Spectrum Disorders

In this class we have discussed the limitations of empathy, but we have yet to talk about predispositions to limited empathy. There is a common impression that people with Autism Spectrum Disorders are unable to feel empathy at all. I have always been interested in this generalization because Autism Spectrum Disorder describes a range of conditions, which in many ways cannot be lumped together under one name. In this research paper I am interested to look at if it is true that people with Autism Spectrum Disorder are unable to feel empathy, or if there is a barrier with communication within themselves and to others.

One possible source that I have found is SAGE Journals “Not knowing what I feel: Emotional empathy in autism spectrum disorders”. This study tracked physiological response with self-reported responses to distressing videos. They found that the physiological responses between the experimental and control groups were similar even though there was disparity in the self-report. This supports my hypothesis that for some the disconnect might not be in feeling empathy, but instead in interpreting and expressing empathy.

About 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, which means that it is far from rare. The understanding of how empathy is related to Autism Spectrum Disorders is crucial for researchers and caretakers alike.

Possible Sources:

Aan het Rot, Marije, and Koen Hogenelst. “The Influence of Affective Empathy and Autism Spectrum Traits on Empathic Accuracy.” Ed. Angela Sirigu. PLoS ONE 9.6 (2014): e98436. PMC. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Kennett, Jeanette. “Autism, Empathy and Moral Agency. (Philosophical Abstracts).” The Review of Metaphysics 55 (2002): 673. Print. 14 Nov. 2016

Lombardo, Michael V. et al. “Self-Referential Cognition and Empathy in Autism.” Ed. Paul Zak. PLoS ONE 2.9 (2007): e883. PMC. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Montgomery, Charlotte B. et al. “Do Adults with High Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome Differ in Empathy and Emotion Recognition?” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 46 (2016): 1931–1940. PMC. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Trimmer, Emily, Skye McDonald, and Jacqueline Ann Rushby. “Not Knowing what I Feel: Emotional Empathy in Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Autism (2016)Print.14 Nov. 2016

Works Cited:

“Autism Spectrum Disorder: Data & Statistics.” July 11, 2016 Web. 15 Nov. 2016

Trimmer, Emily, Skye McDonald, and Jacqueline Ann Rushby. “Not Knowing what I Feel: Emotional Empathy in Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Autism (2016)Print.14 Nov. 2016

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