Building Empathy from a Musical Base - An Intervention with Autistic Children

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Sch of Psychology


Many autistic people experience difficulty with aspects of empathy (Sucksmith et al., 2019). Song and colleagues (2019) meta-analysis indicated that autistic individuals often exhibit lower cognitive empathy (perspective taking) and empathic concern (the drive/ability to respond compassionately), but higher levels of affective empathy (core affective response in the self) relative to non-autistic controls. This suggests that many autistic people have difficulty comprehending the source of - and responding to - intense empathic states. This affective empathic over-arousal may cause distress (Smith, 2009), negatively impact well-being (Bos & Stokes, 2019) and heightening risk of anxiety (Milosavlijevic et al., 2013).

There is therefore a pressing need for behavioural interventions that work to a) build broadened concepts of the nature of, sources of and responses to affective empathic states and b) evaluate empathy as a multifaceted construct. Currently, such interventions rarely attempt to build these conceptualisations from a rewarding, emotionally informative base - such as music.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2435435 Studentship ES/P00069X/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2024 Matthew Flint Scott