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(Golan 2006)

DOI or Website Link:  10.1017/S0954579406060305
Publication:  Development and Psychopathology, 18(2), 591–617.
  • Golan, O., 
  • Baron-Cohen, S.
Date:   2006

Golan, O., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2006). Systemizing empathy: teaching adults with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism to recognize complex emotions using interactive multimedia. Development and Psychopathology, 18(2), 591–617. doi:10.1017/S0954579406060305 

Mentioned in  
(WEISZ 2016)*


This study evaluated Mind Reading, an interactive systematic guide to emotions, for its effectiveness in teaching adults with Asperger syndrome (AS) and high-functioning autism (HFA) to recognize complex emotions in faces and voices. Experiment 1 tested a group of adults diagnosed with AS/HFA (n = 19) who used the software at home for 10-15 weeks. Participants were tested on recognition of faces and voices at three different levels of generalization.

 A matched control group of adults with AS/HFA (n = 22) were assessed without any intervention. In addition, a third group of general population controls (n = 24) was tested. Experiment 2 repeated the design of Experiment 1 with a group of adults with AS/HFA who used the software at home and met in a group with a tutor on a weekly basis. They were matched to a control group of adults with AS/HFA attending social skills training and to a general population control group (n = 13 for all three groups). In both experiments the intervention group improved significantly more than the control group on close, but not distant, generalization tasks. Verbal IQ had significant effects in Experiment 2.

 Using Mind Reading for a relatively short period of time allows users to learn to recognize a variety of complex emotions and mental states. However, additional methods are required to enhance generalization.

Topic Area: (In which field / sector / perspective was this study conducted?)

Definition(How was empathy defined?)

Benefits(Were any benefits of empathy mentioned?)

Criticisms  (Were any criticisms, negative effects or risks of empathy mentioned?)

Methods(What were the methods used to train empathy?)
  •  Expressive 
  • Computer-based training in recognizing emotions in faces and voices 

Target Group:  (Who participated in this study / training?)
  • Adults with Asperger syndrome 

Measurements(About the assessment: How was the change in empathy measured before/after the intervention/method?) 

Result: (What was the result?)
  • Improvements on similar emotion recognition tasks (but not dissimilar tasks) (WEISZ 2016)*

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(Any other relevant information)