Empathy Quotient

The Empathy Quotient (EQ) is a 60-item self-report questionnaire, to measure empathy among adults of "normal" intelligence. It contains 40 empathy items and 20 filler/control items.


Geographies Tested: United Kingdom

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


1. I can easily tell if someone else wants to enter a conversation.

2. I prefer animals to humans.

3. I try to keep up with the current trends and fashions.

4. I find it difficult to explain to others things that I understand easily, when they don’t understand it first time.

5. I dream most nights.

6. I really enjoy caring for other people.

7. I try to solve my own problems rather than discussing them with others.

8. I find it hard to know what to do in a social situation.

9. I am at my best first thing in the morning.

10. People often tell me that I went too far in driving my point home in a discussion.

11. It doesn’t bother me too much if I am late meeting a friend.

12. Friendships and relationships are just too difficult, so I tend not to bother with them.

13. I would never break a law, no matter how minor.

14. I often find it difficult to judge if something is rude or polite.

15. In a conversation, I tend to focus on my own thoughts rather than on what my listener might be thinking.

16. I prefer practical jokes to verbal humor.

17. I live life for today rather than the future.

18. When I was a child, I enjoyed cutting up worms to see what would happen.

19. I can pick up quickly if someone says one thing but means another.

20. I tend to have very strong opinions about morality.

21. It is hard for me to see why some things upset people so much.

22. I find it easy to put myself in somebody else’s shoes.

23. I think that good manners are the most important thing a parent can teach their child.

24. I like to do things on the spur of the moment.

25. I am good at predicting how someone will feel.

26. I am quick to spot when someone in a group is feeling awkward or uncomfortable.

27. If I say something that someone else is offended by, I think that that’s their problem, not mine.

28. If anyone asked me if I liked their haircut, I would reply truthfully, even if I didn’t like it.

29. I can’t always see why someone should have felt offended by a remark.

30. People often tell me that I am very unpredictable.

31. I enjoy being the center of attention at any social gathering.

32. Seeing people cry doesn’t really upset me.

33. I enjoy having discussions about politics.

34. I am very blunt, which some people take to be rudeness, even though this is unintentional.

35. I don’t tend to find social situations confusing.

36. Other people tell me I am good at understanding how they are feeling and what they are thinking.

37. When I talk to people, I tend to talk about their experiences rather than my own.

38. It upsets me to see an animal in pain.

39. I am able to make decisions without being influenced by people’s feelings.

40. I can’t relax until I have done everything I had planned to do that day.

41. I can easily tell if someone else is interested or bored with what I am saying.

42. I get upset if I see people suffering on news programmes.

43. Friends usually talk to me about their problems as they say that I am very understanding.

44. I can sense if I am intruding, even if the other person doesn’t tell me.

45. I often start new hobbies but quickly become bored with them and move on to something else.

46. People sometimes tell me that I have gone too far with teasing.

47. I would be too nervous to go on a big rollercoaster.

48. Other people, often say that I am insensitive, though I don’t always see why.

49. If I see a stranger in a group, I think that it is up to them to make an effort to join in.

50. I usually stay emotionally detached when watching a film.

51. I like to be very organized in day-to-day life and often make lists of the chores I have to do.

52. I can tune into how someone else feels rapidly and intuitively.

53. I don’t like to take risks.

54. I can easily work out what another person might want to talk about.

55. I can tell if someone is masking their true emotion.

56. Before making a decision I always weigh up the pros and cons.

57. I don’t consciously work out the rules of social situations.

58. I am good at predicting what someone will do.

59. I tend to get emotionally involved with a friend’s problems.

60. I can usually appreciate the other person’s viewpoint, even if I don’t agree with it.

Response Options:

Strongly agree
Slightly agree
Slightly disagree
Strongly disagree

Scoring Procedures

On each empathy item a person can score 2, 1, or 0, so the EQ has a maximum score of 80 and a minimum of zero. Each of the items scores 1 point if the respondent records the empathic behavior mildly, or 2 points if the respondent records the behavior strongly. Approximately half the items were worded to produce a “disagree” response and half to produce an “agree” response for the empathic response.

"Strongly agree” responses are scored 2 points and “slightly agree” responses are scored 1 point on the following items: 1, 6, 19, 22, 25, 26, 35-38, 41-44, 52, 54, 55, 57-60. Strongly disagree” responses are scored 2 points and “slightly disagree” responses are scored 1 point on the following items: 4, 8, 10-12, 14, 15, 18, 21, 27-29, 32, 34, 39, 46, 48-50.

Original Citation

Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S. The Empathy Quotient: An Investigation of Adults with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism, and Normal Sex Differences. J Autism Dev Disord 34, 163–175 (2004).

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


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