Autistic traits, empathizing and systemizing: part of the Broader Autism Phenotype? Preliminary findings in parents of children with Autism Spectrum Conditions
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In this preliminary study, the Broader Autism Phenotype (BAP) was investigated in 80 parents of children with an ASC diagnosis and 80 sex and age matched controls. It was hypothesized that ASC parents, and especially fathers, would score lower on measures of empathizing and emotion recognition and higher on measures of systemizing and autistic traits than controls, and that these interpretations of core ASC symptoms were part of the BAP. Sex effects were studied as well. The dependent factors were also interpreted in terms of the ‘fractionable autism triad hypothesis’ (Ronald & Happé, 2008). Conclusion: empathizing, systemizing and accuracy of emotion recognition do not seem to be part of the BAP. The ‘Eyes’ test reaction times could be a part of the BAP. Empathizing, systemizing and autistic traits seem to be largely independent factors, a finding that supports The ‘Fractionable Autism Triad’ for ‘smaller’ cognitive aspects of ASC. The hypothesized main sex differences were replicated.