As humans, we all like to think we’re empathetic.
But are we? Really?
Psychologists at the University of Cambridge’s Autism Research Centre – Simon Baron Cohen and Sally Wheelwright – created a test called The Empathy Quotient to determine exactly that.
The 60-item test measures empathy in adults, and gives participants a score out of 80 upon completion. Scores below 30 may indicate autistic tendencies.
Initially mental health professionals used the test to measure the social impairment in disorders like Autism. But the experts decided since levels of empathy are different in everyone, it’s also a perfect way to casually measure temperamental empathy for the whole population.
I first found out about The Empathy Quotient from the women in Mamamia’s Melbourne office, who were comparing their scores one lunch-break. One got 71, another 65… another bang-on 40.
Of course, like I presume many women would, I wanted to know my score. But I was concerned. I mean, I like to consider myself to be somewhat empathetic, but this test was actually going to decide if I was or wasn’t.
Well… it turns out I’m not really that empathetic.
I scored 38 out of a possible 80. With a less-than-half result, you can imagine I was NOT empathetic towards this issue.
Listen: Women have never been worse to one another. Do we need to show more empathy? The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss…
I have been running around my whole life, lying to myself about being an empathy queen, when in reality I’m just some non-empathetic terror.
Okay, okay, I’m exaggerating. But still.
During the test you are presented with a serious of statements in which you can answer strongly agree, slightly agree, slightly disagree and strongly disagree.
And let me tell you this: distinguishing the barrier between strongly and slightly is harder than you think. Especially when it came to statements like “I prefer practical jokes to verbal humour”. I mean, I love the old pull out the chair joke but I also enjoy the stand up type of humour… do you see my dilemma?
Certain statements really tested me and I wanted to answer untruthfully just to make myself feel better about being more empathetic. In the end I would’ve been only lying to myself.
But hey, it’s only a test, right? And I aim to spend the next 12 months rescuing kittens from trees and gifting my girlfriends with flowers to make up for it.
Take the test here today and decide your empathy fate. Are you as empathetic as you think?
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