The current study focuses on the influence of ASD traits and Psychopathic tendencies on perspective taking abilities in relational, verbal, and physical bullying scenarios. Past research has shown similar neurological abnormalities in the same brain areas in both ASD and psychopathy, however, ASD presents as a much more complicated disorder. In ASD, more brain areas are affected, along with atypical neurological synchronization, suggesting abnormal interactions between various brain regions. However, a study by Lockwood, Bird, Bridge, & Viding (2013) showed for the first time that in general population samples, elevated psychopathic traits are related to reduced affective resonance (emotional perspective taking) but not cognitive perspective-taking (non-emotional perspective taking) while elevated levels of ASD traits are related to reduced cognitive perspective-taking but not affective resonance. Another variable of bullying is introduced in the current study, as being a victim of bullying is much more prevalent in those with ASD. I found that Dark Triad (psychopathic traits) are related to affective resonance through the strong correlation with a general empathy measure. AQ was not related to this empathy scale but did show a significant relationship with physical bullying through the regression model. While there were no significant results between AQ and verbal contexts, the high overall AQ in my population and the known tendencies of ASD populations to be bullied at a much higher rate (with verbal bullying being the most common form of bullying), suggests that similar to Lockwood, Bird, Bridge, & Viding (2013), ASD is once again associated with cognitive perspective-taking but not affective resonance.


Wilhelms, Evan




Social and Behavioral Sciences


Autism, Psychopathy, Empathy, Bully, Victim

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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