Empathy/Systemising Quotient for Children (EQ/SQ)


The adult EQ and SQ measures were adapted for use with children, and combined into one Empathy/Systemising Quotient (EQ/SQ) for children. As with adults, empathizing is higher in female children, systemizing is higher in male children, and empathizing and systemizing are negatively correlated. This combined measure has shown individual brain “types” are present from an early age, and can also be used as a measure of autistic tendencies.


Reliability is confirmed in Auyeung, B. Wheelwright, S. Allison, C. Atkinson, M. Samarawickrema, N. and Baron-Cohen, S. (2009).

Author of Tool:

Auyeung, B. Wheelwright, S. Allison, C. Atkinson, M. Samarawickrema, N. Baron-Cohen, S.

Key references:

Auyeung, B. Wheelwright, S. Allison, C. Atkinson, M. Samarawickrema, N. Baron-Cohen, S. (2009). The Children’s Empathy Quotient and Systemizing Quotient: Sex Differences in Typical Development and in Autism Spectrum Conditions. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39 (11), 1509-1521

Primary use / Purpose:

The EQ/SQ is a 55 likert-type item parent-report questionnaire measuring a child’s tendency towards both empathising and systemising. These are two important constructs in both gender differences and autism spectrum/normality differences.

The Combined EQ-C and SQ-C

Please complete by ticking the appropriate box for each statement

    Definitely Agree Slightly Agree Slightly Disagree Definitely Disagree
1. My child likes to look after other people.        
2. My child often doesn’t understand why some things upset other people so much.        
3. My child doesn’t mind if things in the house are not in their proper place.        
4. My child would not cry or get upset if a character in a film died.        
5. My child enjoys arranging things precisely (e.g. flowers, books, music collections).        
6. My child is quick to notice when people are joking.        
7. My child enjoys cutting up worms, or pulling the legs off insects.        
8. My child is interested in the different members of a specific animal category (e.g. dinosaurs, insects, etc).        
9. My child has stolen something they wanted from their sibling or friend.        
10. My child is interested in different types of vehicles (e.g. types of trains, cars, planes, etc).        
11. My child does not spend large amounts of time lining things up in a particular order (e.g. toy soldiers, animals, cars).        
12. If they had to build a Lego or Meccano model, my child would follow an instruction sheet rather than "ploughing straight in".        
13. My child has trouble forming friendships.        
14. When playing with other children, my child spontaneously takes turns and shares toys.        
15. My child prefers to read or listen to fiction rather than non-fiction.        
16. My child’s bedroom is usually messy rather than organised.        
17. My child can be blunt giving their opinions, even when these may upset someone.        
18. My child would enjoy looking after a pet.        
19. My child likes to collect things (e.g. stickers, trading cards, etc).        
20. My child is often rude or impolite without realizing it.        
21. My child knows how to mix paints to produce different colors.        
22. My child would not notice if something in the house had been moved or changed.        
23. My child has been in trouble for physical bullying.        
24. My child enjoys physical activities with set rules (e.g. martial arts, gymnastics, ballet, etc).        
25. My child can easily figure out the controls of the video or DVD player.        
26. At school, when my child understands something they can easily explain it clearly to others.        
27. My child would find it difficult to list their top 5 songs or films in order.        
28. My child has one or two close friends, as well as several other friends.        
29. My child quickly grasps patterns in numbers in math.        
30. My child listens to others’ opinions, even when different from their own.        
31. My child shows concern when others are upset.        
32. My child is not interested in understanding the workings of machines (e.g. cameras, traffic lights, the TV, etc).        
33. My child can seem so preoccupied with their own thoughts that they don’t notice others getting bored.        
34. My child enjoys games that have strict rules (e.g. chess, dominos, etc).        
35. My child gets annoyed when things aren't done on time.        
36. My child blames other children for things that they themselves have done.        
37. My child gets very upset if they see an animal in pain.        
38. My child knows the differences between the latest models of games-consoles (e.g. X-box, Playstation, Playstation 2, etc) or other gadgets.        
39. My child remembers large amounts of information about a topic that interests them (e.g. flags of the world, football teams, pop groups, etc).        
40. My child sometimes pushes or pinches someone if they are annoying them.        
41. My child is interested in following the route on a map on a journey.        
42. My child can easily tell when another person wants to enter into conversation with them.        
43. My child is good at negotiating for what they want.        
44. My child likes to create lists of things (e.g. favorite toys, TV programs, etc).        
45. My child would worry about how another child would feel if they weren’t invited to a party.        
46. My child likes to spend time mastering particular aspects of their favorite activities (e.g. skate-board or yo-yo tricks, football or ballet moves).        
47. My child finds using computers difficult.        
48. My child gets upset at seeing others crying or in pain.        
49. If they had a sticker album, my child would not be satisfied until it was completed.        
50. My child enjoys events with organized routines (e.g. brownies, cubs, beavers, etc).        
51. My child is not bothered about knowing the exact timings of the day’s plans.        
52. My child likes to help new children integrate in class.        
53. My   child    has    been    in    trouble    for name-calling or teasing.        
54. My child   would   not   enjoy   working   to complete a puzzle (e.g. crossword, jigsaw, word-search).        
55. My child   tends   to   resort   to   physical aggression to get what they want.