On average, women get better marks than men in the field of empathy, that is to understand the thoughts and feelings of others. Men do better than women in analyzing a situation, classifying and creating systems with rules, and more to autism.
This shows a new British survey, the largest one so far on gender gaps, particularly with regard to the propensity for autism. Researchers at the University of Cambridge, who published the journal in the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), analyzed data for 671,600 people, of whom 36,648 were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
It was confirmed that autistic people, on average, exhibit more male characteristics, ie less empathy and greater systematisation than the general population. Also, in an autistic, the deviation between the two performances in the systemic and empathic tests is even greater than in the average man.
The average male shows a higher grade of autistic tendencies and characteristics than the average woman. On the other hand, women working in the STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) field have – on average – a higher “score” in the systematisation and autism characteristics than the other women. Conversely, women working in fields other than STEM have greater empathy.
The researchers said their study essentially confirmed two Empathizing-Systemizing Theory and Extreme Male Brain Theory, proposed by Cambridge’s professor and autistic specialist Simon Baron-Coon nearly two decades ago.
As he himself said, “research is largely supportive of these two theories. It also highlights some of the qualities that autistic people contribute to neuroimaging. They are, on average, more capable of systematisation, which means they have excellent standards recognition abilities, great attention to detail and a grasp of how things work. We must support these talents to realize their potential, which will also benefit society. “
The researchers also pointed out that while autistic people have difficulty with “cognitive” empathy (recognition of others’ thoughts and feelings), they keep their “emotional” empathy (the ability to care for those around them). As scientists have said, it is a common misconception that people with autism have a problem with all forms of empathy.