So I ran across this "just for fun" test for one's "Autism Quotient":
I've always felt more empathy towards aspies than towards neurotypicals, so now I'm wondering how the people I know score. Thus, this poll:
What's your AQ?
Closer to the Aspie mean of 35.8 than to the neurotypical mean of 16.4
26 or below
Feel free to comment with your specific score if you like. Mine was 32.
As noted, of course, this test is just for fun. The fact that a standard analysis of variance (ANOVA) between the test scores of aspies and neurotypicals is significant at the 0.0001 level is no doubt a scientific curiousity:
Currently there are no brief, self-administered instruments for measuring the degree to which an adult with normal intelligence has the traits associated with the autistic spectrum. In this paper, we report on a new instrument to assess this: the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ). Individuals score in the range 0-50. Four groups of subjects were assessed: Group 1: n = 58 adults with Asperger Syndrome (AS) or high-functioning autism (HFA); Group 2: n = 174 randomly selected controls. Group 3: n = 840 students in Cambridge University; and Group 4: n = 16 winners of the UK Mathematics Olympiad. The adults with AS/HFA had a mean AQ score of 35.8 (sd = 6.5), significantly higher than Group 2 controls (x = 16.4, sd = 6.3). 80% of the adults with AS/HFA scored 32+, vs 2% of controls. Among the controls, males scored slightly but significantly higher than women. No females scored extremely highly (AQ score 34+) whereas 4% of males did so. Twice as many males (40%) as females (31%) scored at intermediate levels (AQ score 20+). Among the AS/HFA group, males and female scores did not differ significantly. The students in Cambridge University did not differ from the randomly selected control group, but scientists (including mathematicians) scored significantly higher than both humanities and social sciences students, confirming an earlier study that autistic conditions are associated with scientific skills. Within the sciences, mathematicians scored highest. This was replicated in Group 4, the Mathematics Olympiad winnders scoring significantly higher than the male Cambridge humanities students. 6% of the student sample scored 32+ on the AQ. On interview, 11 out of 11 of these met 3 or more DSM-IV criteria for AS/HFA, and all were studying sciences/mathematics, and 7 of the 11 met threshold on these criteria. Test-retest and inter-rater reliability of the AQ was good. The AQ is thus a valuable instrument for rapidly quantifying where any given individual is situated on the continuum from autism to normality. Its potential for screening for autism spectrum conditions in adults of normal intelligence remains to be fully explored.
I got a 6
I found the test annoying, it just felt like there were lots of double negatives, so I had to think carefully whether it was an agree or disagree. But then again I am trying to take it with three other things going on here at the moment. (I suppose that tells you as much as the test does? ;-}
I had never even heard of Aspergers until a psychologist asked me if treptoplax had it. When I looked it up, it had aspects that were like more than half the people I knew at MIT.
17 - just about the same as the control group mean. I also felt notable test consciousness on this; it was pretty easy to figure out the "right" answer for any given question.
I'm guessing that I'm another friend that you didn't expect to get a high score on this? (Although it would have been interesting to see if my score was significantly different back when we met than it is now.)
I don't know if the test consciousness is avoidable, though they could have done a better of making the wording neutral on some questions. I do think treptoplax's observation above is probably correct, though it doesn't solve that problem entirely. I would also note that, reading the associated paper, two of the questions apparently have the wrong sign.
You are correct that I expected you to be in the neurotypical range. As for back when we met, my score would have been even higher then; I don't know about yours but I suspect it would still have been in the neurotypical range. I think a lot of our communications difficulties stemmed from my incorrect assumption back then that any really smart person must communicate the way I did - that is, the way aspies do.