Autism and the Empathy Altruism Hypothesis
I’m currently studying for my social psychology exam. And research has shown that emotional distress in others (perceived through empathy) can either lead to empathic responses or personal distress. (see for example Coke, Batson & McDavis, 1978)
Empathic behavior is defined by a reaction to the other person’s needs while personal distress is characterized by withdrawal.
Further findings show that personal distress is always caused when a person perceives another person’s distress so intense that it’s overwhelming for them and they need to cope with their own emotions first. (see for example Eisenberg et al, 2006)
Social psychology has literally already found the explanation to the lack in autistic people’s empathic responses. And yet, here we are. Still fighting against the prejudice that autistic people are heartless.