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Empathy and Cognition in High-Functioning Children with Autism

Nurit Yirmiya, Marian D. Sigman, Connie Kasari and Peter Mundy
Child Development
Vol. 63, No. 1 (Feb., 1992), pp. 150-160
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130909
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130909
Page Count: 11
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Empathy and Cognition in High-Functioning Children with Autism
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Abstract

This study compares the ability of nonretarded autistic children (9-16 years of age) with the ability of normally developing children (9-14 years of age) to discriminate between various emotional states, to take the perspective of another regarding emotional states, and to respond affectively. The children's understanding of conservation was also assessed. While the children with autism did surprisingly well on the empathy-related measures, they performed less well than the normal children on these measures and on conservation. There was a closer association between cognitive abilities and affective understanding in the group of autistic children than in the control group.

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