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shyteddy
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28 Apr 2017, 9:26 am

To my understanding, people with Aspergers tend to have a very high Emotional Empathy while lacking Cognitive Empathy. The difference between the two are that Emotional empathy is what you feel for other's and how much you care about them, while Cognitive empathy is the ability to understand emotions and other's feelings.

Thus a friend with high emotional empathy but no cognitive empathy doesn't know you're sad just by your body language but cares about you very much and will be sad with you once you expound your problems. They may have a difficult time recognizing somebody is sad from a picture, but if explained the person in the image was sad, would demonstrate sympathy. This is the gist of Asperger's syndrome, and most of us who are this way or know an Aspie will testify that that's what we're like. We find it hard to recognize emotions but can be very affectionate with those we love. On the other hand, somebody with little emotional empathy but high cognitive empathy knows you're sad, he just doesn't care. An example of that type of person would be a sociopath/psychopath: They're ability to pick up emotions without having a conscious for defrauding others makes them master manipulators, as they understand social rules and bend them to their advantage. A Neurotypical person in theory has both: He has a high enough cognitive empathy to understand what you're feeling, and enough emotional empathy in general to show sympathy.

Thus, those are several neurological differences which affect empathy. Here's a chart, I'll abbreviate Cognitive Empathy as "CE" and Emotional Empathy as "EE":

Neurotypical: High CE, High EE (they recognize you're sad and they care about you)
Sociopath: High CE, Low EE (they recognize you're sad but they don't care about you at all)
Aspergers: Low CE, High EE (they don't recognize you're sad but still care about you)

Now for my question
What should we call a theoretical forth combination which manifests itself as:
Low CE, Low EE

For instance, somebody displaying the characteristics of Aspergers, being unsociable and generally naive to other's feelings and emotions and being awkward as a result of not being able to follow the social dogma, but having little to no propensity to feel empathy for others, even their loved ones. This may cause them to inflict pain or come off as rude and condescending while being completely blind to the effects their actions have - to which, when elaborated, they would be remorseless.

This would thus add a forth option to the prior chart:

Neurotypical: High CE, High EE (they recognize you're sad and they care about you)
Sociopath: High CE, Low EE (they recognize you're sad but they don't care about you at all)
Aspergers: Low CE, High EE (they don't recognize you're sad but still care about you)
????????: Low CE, Low EE (they don't recognize you're sad and they don't care about you at all)


Is the later merely a different manifestation of Asperger's? Is it possible to be remorseless and lack empathy whilst being an Aspie? I'd like some ideas as to what that would be/is already called. Maybe some of you meet that criteria, I dunno. Just would like Ideas, as I'm interested in abnormal psychology. Thanks in advance :)



NikNak
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28 Apr 2017, 10:48 am

I'm probably below average in both areas. I'm no sociopath or psychopath though as I'm not completely void of either type of empathy and have no desire to harm others.

I can also empathise when I can relate to the situation though perhaps it's more a projection of my personal feelings?

In other instances I can experience a 'shift' in mood/ feeling following an explanation as to why the person feels the way they do. Related to this and at worst, my partner has said I essentially force them to justify their feelings in some instances before I behave appropriately... I feel guilty about this.

I'm definitely better at reading people I know well. When it comes to strangers I'm not around them much nor am I particularly focused on their feelings.

I suppose I'm essentially very egocentric in nature and it can take some amount of conscious effort to override this.


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shyteddy
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28 Apr 2017, 11:13 am

NikNak wrote:
I'm probably below average in both areas. I'm no sociopath or psychopath though as I'm not completely void of either type of empathy and have no desire to harm others.

I can also empathise when I can relate to the situation though perhaps it's more a projection of my personal feelings?

In other instances I can experience a 'shift' in mood/ feeling following an explanation as to why the person feels the way they do. Related to this and at worst, my partner has said I essentially force them to justify their feelings in some instances before I behave appropriately... I feel guilty about this.

I'm definitely better at reading people I know well. When it comes to strangers I'm not around them much nor am I particularly focused on their feelings.

I suppose I'm essentially very egocentric in nature and it can take some amount of conscious effort to override this.


I experience the same, but that's not quite what I was describing: You can't have no emotional empathy because you mentioned you feel guilty about your projection, and attempt to override it. If you had no emotional empathy, in theory, this wouldn't bother you at all, neither would you quite project. That you attempt to be sympathetic, regardless of how cold or odd you may come off, and that you have moral standards (you have no desire to hurt somebody) is indicative of the fact you have emotional empathy.

What I was more concerned with was - is it possible for an Aspie or whoever, just a person in general, to have neither? And what's that called then?



iliketrees
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28 Apr 2017, 11:21 am

I have ASD and I'm really not an empathetic person in either way. I won't notice someone subtly upset (if someone was crying their eyes out of course I'd know, but adults don't tend to do that, they'll hide their pain), and if I do know they're upset, I haven't a clue what to do about it. I don't inflict pain though, and people don't think I'm rude or condescending. My low empathy is from alexithymia, not because I don't care about hurting people. I definitely don't have high EE, so you disagree with the people who diagnosed me because they said I have Asperger's.



Joe90
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28 Apr 2017, 11:32 am

Quote:
Neurotypical: High CE, High EE (they recognize you're sad and they care about you)
Sociopath: High CE, Low EE (they recognize you're sad but they don't care about you at all)
Aspergers: Low CE, High EE (they don't recognize you're sad but still care about you)
????????: Low CE, Low EE (they don't recognize you're sad and they don't care about you at all)


I don't think that is accurate. In non-psychopaths and non-alexithymia people, empathy does not really define a whole group of people. What about NTs who bully or who are just nasty people? They don't seem to have much emotional empathy. Aspies should know that, as most of us have been bullied terribly in our lives.


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Joe90
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28 Apr 2017, 11:46 am

Quote:
I'm definitely better at reading people I know well. When it comes to strangers I'm not around them much nor am I particularly focused on their feelings.


I think most people are like this though. I feel more socially anxious when in crowded places in public because I feel that people don't care about me and are rude and judgmental. But people who I know are obviously more understanding because they know me.

Aspies don't seem to understand that NTs aren't experts in this sort of thing. I have heard NT people say that sometimes it feels awkward when someone is crying, and that they don't quite know what to say or do. I've also read that in magazines and books too. It's natural to want to help someone who is in distress, but sometimes it's awkward to know the right things to say or do.

The other day when waiting in hospital for an appointment, a middle-aged woman sat near me and was crying to a nurse because she had been waiting hours for an appointment or something and just got into a panic. When the nurse went to see if she could find another nurse to help, the poor woman cried and cried, as if she was having a panic attack. I didn't want to stare, but I did feel really sorry for her, so I put my hand on her shoulder and asked if she was OK, just as a way of showing that I cared. She was too caught up in her tears to answer properly but she looked like she didn't want to be fussed over, so I just left her alone, but I still felt upset for her and I had a few tears myself for her.
I do have high emotional empathy.


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shyteddy
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28 Apr 2017, 11:54 am

Joe90 wrote:
I don't think that is accurate. In non-psychopaths and non-alexithymia people, empathy does not really define a whole group of people. What about NTs who bully or who are just nasty people? They don't seem to have much emotional empathy. Aspies should know that, as most of us have been bullied terribly in our lives.


Regarding bullying behaviour, I'd say there's a clear difference between straight up sadism and lacking emotional or cognitive empathy... I don't think they have anything to do with one another. I'm aware that Aspies and Neurotypicals can be terrible people as well, but that doesn't mean they're lacking emotional empathy entirely. Having empathy doesn't mean you're empathetic to every person you meet, it just means you're capable of empathy to begin with. If I treat you terribly or bully you that doesn't mean for instance I wouldn't cry if my lover or parents were to die suddenly, and would treat them with equal contempt. I might not love you, but I'm capable of loving, and I do love them. That's what I meant. Somebody with 0 emotional empathy whatsoever wouldn't even be sad if say their parents or lover died (they might feel a little bad for themselves but aren't loosing sleep at all because they never formed an emotional connection to begin with). So I'll defend my theory.



iliketrees
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28 Apr 2017, 11:56 am

I'll counter it. Having some emotional empathy is not the same thing as having high emotional empathy.



shyteddy
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28 Apr 2017, 1:23 pm

iliketrees wrote:
I'll counter it. Having some emotional empathy is not the same thing as having high emotional empathy.



I think you're just nitpicking at this point... The point I was getting at is that there's a difference between an Aspie or Neurotypical who each have emotional empathy, regardless of how small, although generally high if it's a healthy normal individual with a good upbringing and such, versus a sociopath who lacks empathy and conscience utterly.... followed by the question of "what do we call it when one has no emotional empathy AND no cognitive empathy?" That's it, that's all I want to know...



JakeASD
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28 Apr 2017, 2:44 pm

I believe I have both low emotional and cognitive empathy. In terms of people's experiences and circumstances, I generally feel rather unperturbed by everything. Whilst I am not perceived as a particularly cruel or malignant human being, I don't seem to be affected by what happens to other people. I hate that I have a social responsibility to feign sympathy and empathy for others. Whenever such an incident arises, I feel somewhat defiled and disingenuous.


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iliketrees
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28 Apr 2017, 3:50 pm

shyteddy wrote:
iliketrees wrote:
I'll counter it. Having some emotional empathy is not the same thing as having high emotional empathy.



I think you're just nitpicking at this point... The point I was getting at is that there's a difference between an Aspie or Neurotypical who each have emotional empathy, regardless of how small, although generally high if it's a healthy normal individual with a good upbringing and such, versus a sociopath who lacks empathy and conscience utterly.... followed by the question of "what do we call it when one has no emotional empathy AND no cognitive empathy?" That's it, that's all I want to know...

I don't. I think there's a definite difference between me and people who feel others' emotions very strongly. They have a completely different daily experience to me. There is a massive difference between someone who feels upset from others feeling upset and someone unaffected. I agree I'm definitely different to people who hurt others, but we disagree in that I don't think I'm nitpicking here.

Someone with ASD and high empathy is a healthy normal individual with a good upbringing, but as I don't have high empathy, I'm not?