Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

2020 Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Empathizing-Systemizing Theory

  • Marjaana LindemanEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_1129

Related Terms


Empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory concerns two fundamental cognitive processes known as empathizing and systemizing. It was developed by Simon Baron-Cohen in the early 2000s and endeavors to explain autism and Asperger syndrome as well as sex differences in the general population (Baron-Cohen 2002, 2009, 2010; Baron-Cohen et al. 2005).


As with many other empathy researchers, Baron-Cohen describes empathizing as consisting of two components, cognitive and affective empathy. Cognitive empathy means a drive to identify another person’s emotions and thoughts, as well as an ability to put oneself into someone else’s shoes and to imagine their thoughts and feelings. Affective empathy in the E-S theory is a response element, that is to say, having an appropriate emotional reaction to another person’s thoughts and feelings.

Systemizing is defined as a drive to analyze or construct systems. A system is something that follows...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Christian Jordan
    • 1
  1. 1.Wilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada