Empathic Embarrassment Accuracy in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Noga Adler, Jonathan Dvash, Simone G. Shamay-Tsoory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Empathic accuracy refers to the ability of perceivers to accurately share the emotions of protagonists. Using a novel task assessing embarrassment, the current study sought to compare levels of empathic embarrassment accuracy among individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) with those of matched controls. To assess empathic embarrassment accuracy, we compared the level of embarrassment experienced by protagonists to the embarrassment felt by participants while watching the protagonists. The results show that while the embarrassment ratings of participants and protagonists were highly matched among controls, individuals with ASD failed to exhibit this matching effect. Furthermore, individuals with ASD rated their embarrassment higher than controls when viewing themselves and protagonists on film, but not while performing the task itself. These findings suggest that individuals with ASD tend to have higher ratings of empathic embarrassment, perhaps due to difficulties in emotion regulation that may account for their impaired empathic accuracy and aberrant social behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-249
Number of pages9
JournalAutism Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Empathic embarrassment
  • Empathic embarrassment accuracy
  • Empathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • General Neuroscience


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