Subsection 2a: Descriptive research

175.738 Psychological Research: Principles of Design School of Psychology
Assignment 2a instructions 2020 Massey University
ASSIGNMENT TWO OVERVIEW
Subsection 2a: Descriptive research
This assignment is due Friday, May 8. This assignment assesses your ability to analyse
and integrate principles of descriptive research (as reviewed in subsection 2a) toward
evaluating the validity of the attached descriptive research by Baron-Cohen, Richler,
Bisarya, Gurunathan, and Wheelwright (2003).
Most of the credit will be awarded for the clarity, depth and strength of your rationales
rather than for ‘correct’ answers. Two students may reach different conclusions in their
evaluations, but receive the same credit because of the quality of their rationales. Avoid
unnecessary explanation and definition of concepts as you write. There is no need to
provide references to the Unit 2a readings nor should you use direct quotations from the
readings. The essay should reflect your own understanding of the Unit 2a concepts.
The assignment should be prepared as a well-structured essay, organised according to the
issues presented in the instructions. The length of the assignment answers will vary
according to style and depth of treatment. However, typical submissions should not
exceed 2500 words. Submissions that exceed 3000 words will not be marked. Please
assist the marker by using a 12 point Times font, 2.0 line spacing, and page numbers.
Revision and Resubmission
If you submit your Assignment 2 answers by the due date, you will be given the opportunity
to revise and resubmit (R&R) your initial submission toward improving your initial mark.
Revisions in your resubmitted assignment should pertain only to the feedback given by
your marker. R&Rs will be marked on how well the resubmitted assignment addresses
issues raised in the original feedback. An R&R remark may improve your overall
Assignment 2 mark up to 10%. R&Rs must be submitted within a week of receiving the
initial assignment feedback. To complete an R&R you should:
1 Prepare a brief cover letter (1 page or less) that summarises the revisions you have
made.
2 Using your saved assignment 2 document, revise your answers using the marker
feedback.
3 Optional: use track-changes in MS Word to help us see where you’ve made
revisions
4 Paste your cover letter into page 1 of your revised assignment 2 document. Save
the document. Rename the submitted file to indicate it is an R&R.
5 Upload your revised assignment to the R&R submission portal on Stream.
Assignment 2 R&Rs must be submitted no later than Friday June 5.
Extensions & Late Submissions
There is no need to request an extension from the teaching staff to submit your
assignment up to one week (7 days) late. Late assignments will be accepted until Friday,
May 17th, after which the online submission portal will close. Assignment 2 submissions
will not be accepted after Friday, May 15.
175.738 Psychological Research: Principles of Design School of Psychology
Assignment 2a instructions 2020 Massey University
Assignment 2a instructions
Write a critical review of the attached article. The critique should be written for an audience
who has not read the paper, but who is familiar with the principles that govern descriptive
research (i.e. our unit 2a readings). Pay attention to the aims of the research, and
emphasise the strengths that enhance this research’s validity to address to those aims.
Parts of the attached article’s results section have been redacted to more clearly convey
the results of the study. For our purposes in this assignment, we are not concerned with
the results of inferential statistical tests.
Organise your essay around issues A through G listed below (in the order listed).
Keep in mind that since many of these issues are fundamental to descriptive research, the
authors of the article will not address all of these issues explicitly in their writing. You
should familiarise yourself with the entirety of the article (and measurement items) so that
you can evaluate each issue fully.
A. Briefly summarise the authors’ purpose in conducting this research.
B. Give a brief critique the of (a) the items that made up the Systemising Quotient
instrument and (b) how it was administered.
C. Identify the type of scale used to measure the Systemising Quotient (SQ). How
appropriate are the descriptive analyses given the SQ’s scale of measurement.
D. Explain how the authors’ evidence for reliability reported should be interpreted.
E. Describe how the authors assessed the validity of the measurement scale.
Identify the type(s) of measurement validity assessed by the authors, and
analyse whether the validity procedures are appropriate to the authors’ purpose
in conducting the research.
F. Critique the choice of error-bars in Figures 1a and 1b. Include (but don’t feel
limited to):
• a thoughtful consideration of why the authors used the error bars that they did;
• an explanation of what alternative type of error-bar could be used in this study
to further enhance our understanding of the data.
G. Give a brief assessment of the author’s conclusions given your above critique.
Glossary of intended meaning for words used in these instructions below:
Critique (n): a detailed analysis and assessment of something.
Critical (adj): involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a work.
Analyse (v): examine something methodically in order to interpret it.
Marking criteria for Descriptive Research Assignment 2a
The following features are a guide to essays of various standards.
Higher or lower grades will differ in some of the ways listed.
A-, A, A+
(80% – 100%)
Scope of the Essay:
Shows a comprehensive understanding of the methodological choices made by the
authors. Strong well argued connections between sections. Sound critical commentary.
No unnecessary explanation or definition of concepts.
Structure:
All points presented within a structure that is coherent, well integrated and easy to
follow. Appropriate critical commentary is integrated into overall structure.
Presentation:
Practically flawless. Language use is appropriate to level of argument.
B+, B
(79% – 70%)
Scope of the Essay:
Systematically demonstrates an understanding of the key methodological choices made
by the authors. Sections adequately connected. Includes an attempt at critical
commentary where appropriate. No unnecessary explanation or definition of concepts.
Structure:
Main points presented within a structure that is coherent, and follows a logical sequence.
Critical commentary is appropriated positioned in relation to arguments.
Presentation:
Few flaws (none in referencing). Language use is appropriate to level of argument.
B-, C+
(69% – 60%)
Scope of the Essay:
A reasonable understanding of the key methodological choices made by the authors.
Sections may be connected and/or there are attempts at critical commentary.
Structure:
Main points presented within a logical sequence. Paragraphing appropriate to the
sequence of discussion. Summary provided in conclusion.
Presentation:
Most presentation requirements met. Language use is appropriate.
C, C-
(59% – 50%)
Scope of the Essay:
Lacking in a clear understanding of the key methodological choices made by the authors.
Discussions too brief. Insufficient rationale for critiques and arguments.
Structure:
Organisation of paper relies on direct quotations and structured analysis is lacking. Some
main points missing.
Presentation:
Minor flaws.
D, E
(< 50%)
Scope of the Essay:
Serious misinterpretations of the key methodological choices made by the authors.
Arguments are not coherent or relevant. Rationale and arguments are poorly evidenced
(e.g. overuse of quotations).
Structure:
Structure is confused. Connections made between sections are inappropriate. Arguments
are not in a clear, logical sequence.
Presentation:
Major flaws (especially with regard to referencing and citation).
Published online 17 January 2003
The systemizing quotient: an investigation of adults
with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism,
and normal sex differences
Simon Baron-Cohen*, Jennifer Richler, Dheraj Bisarya,
Nhishanth Gurunathan and Sally Wheelwright
Autism Research Centre, Departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Cambridge,
Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EB, UK
Systemizing is the drive to analyse systems or construct systems. A recent model of psychological sex
differences suggests that this is a major dimension in which the sexes differ, with males being more drawn
to systemize than females. Currently, there are no self-report measures to assess this important dimension.
A second major dimension of sex differences is empathizing (the drive to identify mental states and
respond to these with an appropriate emotion). Previous studies find females score higher on empathy
measures. We report a new self-report questionnaire, the Systemizing Quotient (SQ), for use with adults
of normal intelligence. It contains 40 systemizing items and 20 control items. On each systemizing item,
a person can score 2, 1 or 0, so the SQ has a maximum score of 80 and a minimum of zero. In Study
1, we measured the SQ of n = 278 adults (114 males, 164 females) from a general population, to test for
predicted sex differences (male superiority) in systemizing. All subjects were also given the Empathy
Quotient (EQ) to test if previous reports of female superiority would be replicated. In Study 2 we employed
the SQ and the EQ with n = 47 adults (33 males, 14 females) with Asperger syndrome (AS) or highfunctioning autism (HFA), who are predicted to be either normal or superior at systemizing, but impaired
at empathizing. Their scores were compared with n = 47 matched adults from the general population in
Study 1. In Study 1, as predicted, normal adult males scored significantly higher than females on the SQ
and significantly lower on the EQ. In Study 2, again as predicted, adults with AS/HFA scored significantly
higher on the SQ than matched controls, and significantly lower on the EQ than matched controls. The
SQ reveals both a sex difference in systemizing in the general population and an unusually strong drive
to systemize in AS/HFA. These results are discussed in relation to two linked theories: the ‘empathizing–
systemizing’ (E–S) theory of sex differences and the extreme male brain (EMB) theory of autism.
Keywords: Asperger syndrome; sex differences; systemizing; empathizing
1. THE EMPATHIZING–SYSTEMIZING THEORY
A recent model of sex differences in the mind proposes
that the major dimensions of relevance are empathizing
and systemizing (Baron-Cohen 2002). Systemizing is held
to be our most powerful way of understanding and predicting the law-governed inanimate universe. Empathizing
is held to be our most powerful way of understanding and
predicting the social world.
Empathizing is the drive to identify another person’s
emotions and thoughts, and to respond to these with an
appropriate emotion. Empathizing allows you to predict a
person’s behaviour, and to care about how others feel. A
large body of evidence suggests that, on average, females
spontaneously empathize to a greater degree than do
males. Systemizing is the drive to analyse the variables in
a system, to derive the underlying rules that govern the
behaviour of a system. Systemizing also refers to the drive
*Author for correspondence ([email protected]).
One contribution of 14 to a Theme Issue ‘Autism: mind and brain’.
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003) 358, 361–374 361 Ó 2003 The Royal Society
DOI 10.1098/rstb.2002.1206
to construct systems. Systemizing allows you to predict the
behaviour of a system, and to control it. A growing body
of evidence suggests that, on average, males spontaneously
systemize to a greater degree than do females.
A system is defined as something that takes inputs,
which can then be operated on in variable ways, to deliver
different outputs in a rule-governed way. There are at least
six kinds of system: Technical, Natural, Abstract, Social,
Organizable, Motoric, but all share this same underlying
process which is monitored closely during systemizing:
INPUT ! OPERATION ! OUTPUT
Below, an example from each of the six types of
system are given:
A. An example of a technical system: a sail

INPUT! OPERATION ! OUTPUT
SailAngle 10°Speed slow
SailAngle 30°Speed medium
SailAngle 60°Speed fast

Downloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015
362 S. Baron-Cohen and others The systemizing quotient in autism
B. An example of a natural system: a plant

INPUT! OPERATION ! OUTPUT
Rhododendron MildlyLight blue petals
alkaline soil
Rhododendron StronglyDark blue petals
alkaline soil
Rhododendron Acidic soilPink petals

C. An example of an abstract system: mathematics
INPUT ! OPERATION ! OUTPUT
3 Squared 9
3 Cubed 27
3 Inverse 0.3
D. An example of a social system: a constituency
boundary

INPUT! OPERATION ! OUTPUT
New YorkInner citySmall number of
voters
Medium number of
voters
Large number of
voters
New YorkWhole city
New YorkWhole state
E. An example of an organizable system: a CD
collection
INPUT
! OPERATION ! OUTPUT
CD collectionAlphabeticalOrder on shelf:
A–Z
Order on shelf:
1980–2000
Order on shelf:
classical ! pop
CD collectionDate of
release
Genre
CD collection

F. An example of a motoric system: a tennis stroke

INPUT! OPERATION ! OUTPUT
Hit ballTop spinBall bounces left
Hit ballBack spinBall bounces right
Hit ballNo spinBall bounces forward

As can be seen in the examples above, the process in
systemizing is always the same. One of the three elements
(typically the input) is treated as a fixed feature (i.e. it is
held constant), while another of the three elements
(typically the operation) is treated as a variable (i.e. it can
vary: think of a dimmer on a light switch). Merely observing the consequences of these two elements delivers to you
important information: the output changes from Output
1, to Output 2, to Output 3. That is, you learn about the
system. Systemizing works for phenomena that are indeed
ultimately lawful, finite and deterministic. Note that the
other way we systemize is when we are confronted by various outputs, and try to infer backwards from the output as
to what the operation is that produces this particular output.
Systemizing is practically useless for predicting the
moment-by-moment changes in a person’s behaviour. To
predict human behaviour, empathizing is required. Systemizing and empathizing are very different kinds of process. Empathizing involves attributing mental states to
others, and responding with appropriate affect to the
other’s affective state. Empathizing covers not only what
is sometimes called ‘theory of mind or ‘mentalizing’
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003)
(Morton et al. 1991), but also what is covered by the
English words ‘empathy’ and ‘sympathy’.
In order see why you cannot systemize a person’s behaviour with much predictive power, consider the next
example:

INPUT ! OPERATION! OUTPUT
Relaxes
Withdraws
Laughs
Cries
Jane
Jane
Jane
Jane
Birthday
Birthday
Birthday
Birthday

Why does the same input (Jane) have such different
outputs (behaviour) when the same operation (her
birthday) is repeated? Someone who relies on systemizing
to predict people’s behaviour would have to conclude that
people are not clearly rule-governed. This is a correct conclusion, but there is nevertheless an alternative way of predicting and making sense of Jane’s behaviour: via
empathizing. During empathizing, the focus is on the person’s mental state (including his or her emotion). Furthermore, during empathizing there is an appropriate
emotional reaction in the observer to the other person’s
mental state. Without this extra stage, one could have a
very accurate reading of the person’s emotion, a very
accurate prediction of the other’s behaviour, but a psychopathic lack of concern about their mental state.
To complicate matters further, during empathizing, the
observer does not expect lawful relationships between the
person’s mental state and his or her behaviour. The
observer only expects that the person’s mental state will
at least constrain their behaviour.
There are individual differences in both empathizing
and systemizing. According to the E–S theory, individuals
in whom empathizing is more developed than systemizing
are referred to as type E. Individuals in whom systemizing
is more developed than empathizing are called type S.
Individuals in whom systemizing and empathizing are
both equally developed are called type B (to indicate the
‘balanced’ brain). Individuals whose systemizing is normal
or even hyperdeveloped but whose empathizing is hypodeveloped are an extreme of type S. That is, they may be
talented systemizers but at the same time, they may be
‘mind-blind’ (Baron-Cohen 1995). We test if individuals
on the autistic spectrum fit the profile of having an
extreme of type S. Finally, we postulate the existence of
a brain of extreme type E: people who have normal or
even hyperdeveloped empathizing skills, whereas their systemizing is hypodeveloped—they may be ‘system-blind’.
One final central claim of the E–S theory is that, on
average, more males than females have a brain of type S,
and more females than males have a brain of type E. The
evidence for female superiority in empathizing is reviewed
elsewhere (Baron-Cohen 2002) and includes the finding
that women are better at decoding non-verbal communication, picking up subtle nuances from tone of voice or
facial expression, or judging a person’s character (Hall
1978). The evidence for a male advantage in systemizing
is also reviewed elsewhere (Baron-Cohen et al. 2002) and
includes the findings that maths, physics and engineering
(which all require a high degree of systemizing) are largely
male in sex ratio. For example, on the Scholastic Aptitude
Downloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015
The systemizing quotient in autism S. Baron-Cohen and others 363
+1
0
+3
_3 _2 +1
_1
_1
_2
_3
+2 +3
+2
empathizing
systemizing
Figure 1. A model of the E–S theory. Type B (E = S):
unshaded; type E (E . S): narrow diagonal stripes; type S
(E , S): grey shading; extreme type E: wide diagonal stripes;
extreme type S: dark grey shading. Axes show s.d. from
mean.
Math Test, the maths part of the test administered nationally to college applicants in the USA males, on average,
score 50 points higher than females on this test (Benbow
1988). Among those scoring above 700, the sex ratio is
13 : 1 (men : women) (Geary 1996). A candidate biological factor influencing these sex differences is prenatal testosterone and its action on the developing brain
(Geschwind & Galaburda 1985; Lutchmaya et al. 2002).
2. THE EXTREME MALE BRAIN THEORY OF
AUTISM
The EMB theory of autism was first informally suggested by Hans Asperger (1944). He wrote: ‘The autistic
personality is an extreme variant of male intelligence. Even
within the normal variation, we find typical sex differences
in intelligence …In the autistic individual, the male pattern is exaggerated to the extreme’ (Frith 1991). It took
53 years from the date that this controversial hypothesis
was raised casually for it to be formally examined (BaronCohen & Hammer 1997). We can test the EMB theory
empirically, now that we have definitions of the female
brain (type E) (figure 1: narrow diagonal stripes), the male
brain (type S) (figure 1: light grey zone), and the balanced
brain (figure 1: white zone). According to the EMB
theory, people with autism or AS should fall into the dark
grey zone: that is, they should have impaired empathizing
but intact or superior systemizing, relative to their mental age.
3. EVIDENCE FOR THE EMB THEORY
Initial tests of this theory are providing convergent lines
of evidence consistent with the EMB theory of autism.
The evidence related to impaired empathizing is reviewed
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003)
elsewhere (Baron-Cohen et al. 2002) and includes the findings from the ‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’ Test, that
females score higher than males, but people with AS score
even lower than males (Baron-Cohen et al. 1997).
Additionally, on the Faux Pas Test, females are better
than males at judging what would be socially insensitive
or potentially hurtful and offensive and people with autism
or AS have even lower scores on tests of this than males
(Baron-Cohen et al. 1999a).
The evidence in relation to superior systemizing
includes the fact that some people with autism spectrum
conditions have ‘islets of ability’ in, for example, mathematical calculation, calendrical calculation, syntax acquisition, music or memory for railway timetable information
to a precise degree (Baron-Cohen & Bolton 1993; Hermelin 2002). In high-functioning individuals these abilities
can lead to considerable achievement in mathematics,
chess, mechanical knowledge and other factual, scientific,
technical or rule-based subjects (Baron-Cohen et al.
1999c). All of these are highly systemizable domains. On
the EFT, males score higher than females, and people
with AS or HFA score even higher than males. The EFT
is a systemizing test, in that each piece of the puzzle (the
target shape) is the input, its orientation is the operation,
with rules from these that predict if the piece of the puzzle
will fit in the target locations (Shah & Frith 1983; Jolliffe &
Baron-Cohen 1997). Finally, on the AQ, males in the general population score higher than females, and people with
AS or HFA score highest of all (Baron-Cohen et al. 2001).
4. THE SYSTEMIZING QUOTIENT
To test both the E–S theory and the EMB theory
further, we designed the SQ. This was to fulfil the need
to have an instrument that could assess an individual’s
interest in systems across the range of different classes of
system. In the two studies reported here, we first test for
a sex difference in systemizing in the general population,
and secondly test for the predicted superiority in systemizing in adults with AS or HFA.
The SQ was designed to be short, easy to complete and
easy to score. It is shown in Appendix A. The SQ comprises 60 questions, 40 assessing systemizing and 20 filler
(control) items. Approximately half the items were worded
to produce a ‘disagree’ and half an ‘agree’, for the systemizing response. This was to avoid a response bias either
way. Following this, items were randomized. An individual scores two points if they strongly display a systemizing
response and one point if they slightly display a systemizing response. There are 20 filler items (items 2, 3, 8, 9,
10, 14, 16, 17, 21, 22, 27, 36, 39, 46, 47, 50, 52, 54, 58,
59), randomly interspersed throughout the SQ, to distract
the participant from a relentless focus on systemizing.
These questions are not scored at all. The final version
of the SQ has a forced-choice format, can be selfadministered and is straightforward to score, since it does
not depend on any interpretation in the scoring.
Initially, we had planned to devise the SQ so that it
would tap into each of the domain-specific systems
described above. However, this proved to be problematical because individuals who were well rounded but not
necessarily good systemizers would end up scoring highly,
whereas those who were highly systematic but only
Downloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015
364 S. Baron-Cohen and others The systemizing quotient in autism
interested in one domain would receive a low score. Thus,
we decided, instead, to use examples from everyday life
in which systemizing could be used to varying degrees.
The assumption is that a strong systemizer would be
drawn to use their systemizing skills across the range of
examples more often than a poor systemizer, and would
consequently score higher on the SQ.
A pilot study was conducted by distributing the SQ to
20 normal adults to check that the questions were understandable and that the range of results indicated both individual differences across the scale, and avoided ceiling or
floor effects. These participants were also able to offer
feedback about the questionnaire.
5. THE EMPATHIZING QUOTIENT
In the two studies reported below, subjects were not
only given the SQ, but also given the EQ (S. Baron-Cohen
and S. Wheelwright, unpublished data). This is shown in
Appendix B. The EQ has a very similar structure to the
SQ, in that it also comprises 60 questions, broken down
into two types: 40 questions tapping empathy and 20 filler
items (items 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 13, 16, 17, 20, 23, 24, 30, 31,
33, 40, 45, 47, 51, 53, 56). Each of the empathy items
scores one point if the respondent records the empathic
behaviour mildly, or two points if strongly (see below for
scoring each item). Like the SQ, approximately half the
items were worded to produce a ‘disagree’, and half an
‘agree’ for the empathic response, to avoid a response bias
either way. Also, as with the SQ, the EQ has a forcedchoice format, can be self-administered and is straightforward to score.
6. AIMS
In the studies reported below, we had four aims.
(i) To test for a female superiority on the EQ, replicating earlier work (Hall 1978; Hoffman 1977;
Davis 1980; Davis & Franzoi 1991; S. Baron-Cohen
and S. Wheelwright, unpublished data) (Study 1).
(ii) To test for sex differences in systemizing, given the
male superiority in many separate systemizable
domains reported earlier (Benbow 1988; Kimura
1999).
(iii) To test if adults with HFA or AS scored lower than
normal males on the EQ but higher than normal
males on the SQ (Study 2).
(iv) To test if the EQ was inversely correlated with the
SQ.
7. HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM AND ASPERGER
SYNDROME
Autism is diagnosed when an individual shows abnormalities in social and communication development, in the
presence of marked repetitive behaviour and limited
imagination (American Psychiatric Association 1994).
The term HFA is given when an individual meets the criteria for autism in the presence of normal IQ. AS is
defined in terms of the individual meeting the same criPhil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003)
teria for autism but with no history of cognitive or language delay (ICD-10 1994). Language delay itself is defined
as not using single words by two years of age, and/or
phrase speech by three years of age. There is growing evidence that autism and AS are of genetic origin. The evidence is strongest for autism, and comes from twin and
behavioural genetic family studies (Folstein & Rutter
1977, 1988; Bolton & Rutter 1990; Bailey et al. 1995).
Furthermore, family pedigrees of AS implicate heritability
(Gillberg 1991). There is also an assumption that autism
and AS lie on a continuum, with AS as the ‘bridge’
between autism and normality (Wing 1981, 1988; Frith
1991; Baron-Cohen 1995).
8. SUBJECTS
(a) Subjects in Study 1
Study 1 comprised n = 278 normal adults (114 males,
164 females) taken from two sources: n = 103 were drawn
from the general public in the UK and Canada, and represented a mix of occupations, both professional, clerical
and manual workers, and n = 174 were drawn from undergraduate students currently studying at Cambridge University or a local ‘A’ level college in Cambridge. Students
from a variety of disciplines were targeted. In Study 1, to
check if academic/educational attainment influences either
SQ or EQ, these sub-groups were analysed separately. The
students had a mean age of x = 20.5 yr (s.d. = 6.5) and the
non-students had a mean age of x = 41.3 yr (s.d. = 12.7).
(b) Subjects in Study 2
Two groups of subjects were tested:
Group 1 comprised n = 47 adults with AS/HFA (33
males, 14 females). This sex ratio of 2.4 : 1 (m : f) is similar to that found in other samples (Klin et al. 1995). All
subjects in this group had been diagnosed by psychiatrists
using established criteria for autism or AS (American Psychiatric Association 1994). They were recruited from several sources, including the National Autistic Society (UK),
specialist clinics carrying out diagnostic assessments, and
advertisements in newsletters/web pages for adults with
AS/HFA. Their mean age was 38.1 yr (s.d. = 13.3). They
had all attended mainstream schooling and were reported
to have an IQ in the normal range (see below for a check
of this). Their occupations reflected their mixed socioeconomic status. Because we could not confirm age of
onset of language with any precision (due to the considerable passage of time), these individuals are grouped
together, rather than attempting to separate them into AS
versus HFA.
Group 2 comprised 47 adults selected from the pool of
278 controls in Study 1 based on being matched with
Group 1 for age, sex and handedness. The 278 volunteers
are described in Study 1. The 47 comparison subjects, as
in Group 1, consisted of 32 males and 15 females. Their
mean age was 36.5 years (s.d. = 13.2). Their socio-economic status profile was similar to that of Group 1.
9. METHODS (FOR STUDIES 1 AND 2)
Subjects were sent the SQ and EQ by post. Two versions of the questionnaires were sent out, one in which
Downloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015
The systemizing quotient in autism S. Baron-Cohen and others 365
the SQ appeared first, followed by the EQ, and the other
in the reverse order, so as to guard against order effects.
The exception to this were a sub-group of subjects in each
group, who had already completed the EQ for another
study, so these individuals only received the SQ for this
study. Subjects were instructed to complete the two questionnaires on their own, as quickly as possible, and to
avoid thinking about their responses too long. Subjects in
Group 2 had the option to remain anonymous. To confirm the diagnosis of adults in Group 1 being high-functioning, 15 subjects in each of Groups 1 and 2 were
randomly selected and invited into the laboratory for intellectual assessment using four sub-tests of the WAIS-R
(Wechsler 1958) The four sub-tests of the WAIS-R were
Vocabulary, Similarities, Block Design and Picture Completion. On this basis, all of these had a prorated IQ of at
least 85, that is, in the normal range (Group 1,
x = 106.5, s.d. = 8.0; Group 2, x = 105.8, s.d. = 6.3), and
these did not differ from each other statistically (t-test,
p . 0.05).
Subjects in Group 1 were also sent the AQ (BaronCohen et al. 2001) by post. Their mean AQ score was
36.4 (s.d. = 7.1). This is in the clinical range on this measure, as our previous study using the AQ shows that more
than 80% of people with a diagnosis of AS or HFA score
equal to or above 32 (maximum: 50).
10. SCORING
(a) The SQ
‘Strongly agree’ responses score two points, and ‘slightly
agree’ responses score one point, on the following items:
1, 4, 5, 7, 13, 15, 19, 20, 25, 29, 30, 33, 34, 37, 41, 44,
48, 49, 53, 55. ‘Strongly disagree’ responses score two
points, and ‘slightly disagree’ responses score one point
on the following items: 6, 11, 12, 18, 23, 24, 26, 28, 31,
32, 35, 38, 40, 42, 43, 45, 51, 56, 57, 60. The filler
(control) questions score no points, irrespective of how
the individual answers them. Nevertheless, responses on
the filler items were analysed for any systematic bias.
(b) The EQ
‘Strongly agree’ responses score two points and ‘slightly
agree’ responses score one point, on the following items:
1, 6, 19, 22, 25, 26, 35, 36, 37, 38, 41, 42, 43, 44, 52,
54, 55, 57, 58, 59, 60. ‘Strongly disagree’ responses score
two points, and ‘slightly disagree’ responses score one
point, on the following items: 4, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 18,
21, 27, 28, 29, 32, 34, 39, 46, 48, 49, 50.
11. RESULTS
(a) Study 1
The response rate was 60%, which is a good response
rate in a postal survey research. Mean SQ scores and subscores for these individuals are shown in table 1. This
shows that, within this general population sample, males
(mean = 30.3, s.d. = 11.5) scored significantly higher than
females (mean = 24.1, s.d. = 9.5) on the SQ. A betweenPhil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003)
Mean EQ scores are also shown in table 1.
dicted, there is a significant negative correlation between
the EQ and SQ when all subjects’ data were analysed
(b) Study 2
The response rate was 50%, which again is a good
response rate in a postal survey research. Mean SQ scores
of AS/HFA subjects and controls are shown in table 2.
These scores show that HFA/AS individuals scored
higher (mean = 35.7, s.d. = 15.3) than matched controls
(mean = 29.7, s.d. = 10.2). A
).
The two subject groups were then compared on their
responses to the filler (control) items. A t-test revealed that
there was no significant difference in their responses to
suggests the groups only performed differently in their
responses to system-based questions. The mean SQ scores
of males and females in the AS/HFA sample are also
shown in table 2. This shows that males with AS/HFA
(mean = 36.3, s.d. = 15.5) do not score significantly
higher than females with AS/HFA (mean = 34.1,
the full population in Study 1 (normal males and females)
and the distribution of scores from the AS/HFA group in
Study 2. Note that the curve from the AS/HFA group is
only based on n = 47, whereas the curves from the control
males and females are based on n = 278.
On the EQ, individuals with HFA/AS scored lower than
AS/HFA sample are also shown in table 2. A t-test
revealed that there was no significant difference between
Downloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015
Pearson’s correlation shows that, as pre-
(r= -.16).
these questions. This
s.d.=15.1).
Figure 2 shows the distribution of scores from
matched controls.
The mean EQ scores of males and females in the
366 S. Baron-Cohen and others The systemizing quotient in autism
Table 1. EQ and SQ scores in students versus non-students in Study 1 (maximum score on each: 80).
males females
group n mean s.d. n mean s.d.
EQ
students 65 39.4 11.5 109 46.7 10.5
workers 49 38.0 13.6 54 49.6 11.8
combined groups 114 38.8 12.4 164 47.7 11.0
SQ
students 65 30.0 11.7 109 22.3 8.6
workers 49 30.6 11.2 55 27.7 11.2
combined groups 114 30.3 11.5 164 24.1 9.5
Table 2. Means (and s.d.) of SQ and EQ scores in AS versus matched controls (Study 2) (maximum on each test: 80).
SQ EQ
group n mean s.d. mean s.d.
AS/HFA 47 35.7 15.3 20.3 11.4
males 33 36.3 15.5 18.9 9.9
females 14 34.1 15.1 23.4 14.1
controls 47 29.7 10.2 42.2 13.6
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5 0
0_10
21_30
41_50
51_60
61_70
71_80
31_40
11_20
SQscore
percentageofsubjects
Figure 2. Distribution of scores on the SQ in typical males
(solid black line), females (dashed line), and in people with
AS (grey line) conditions.
possible to look at correlations between the EQ, SQ and
AQ for the HFA/AS group alone. This showed that
whereas the EQ was inversely correlated with the AQ
Finally, Cronbach’s alpha coefficent on the SQ (for all
subjects) was 0.79, which is good, and for the HFA/AS
subjects alone, was 0.91, which is very high. This suggests
the SQ is tapping a single construct. (Cronbach’s alpha
coefficient for the EQ is reported elsewhere; S. BaronCohen and S. Wheelwright (unpublished data) as 0.92,
also very high.)
One possibility, suggested by figure 2, is that the mean
for the AS group on the SQ is actually higher than for
males in the general population, whereas the mode for
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003)
males in the general population is higher than it is in the
AS group. The mean of the AS group may be being pulled
up by a sub-group of people with AS who have particularly
high scores on the SQ, as suggested by both the skew of
the distribution and by the standard deviation for the AS
group, which was larger than for the males in the general population.
12. DISCUSSION
The two studies report results from a new instrument,
the SQ. This was needed to test two linked theories: the
E–S theory of sex differences in the mind (Baron-Cohen
2002) and the EMB theory of autism (Baron-Cohen &
Hammer 1997; Baron-Cohen 2000; Baron-Cohen et al.
2002).
As predicted, in Study 1, males scored significantly
higher than females on the SQ. Replicating our earlier
study and those of others who have studied sex differences
in empathy (Davis 1994; S. Baron-Cohen and S. Wheelwright, unpublished data) females scored higher than
males on the EQ. Unsurprisingly, the SQ and EQ were
inversely correlated, but while this was significant, the correlation was small (r = 20.16, p , 0.01). The strength of
this correlation may reflect the fact that systemizing and
empathizing are wholly different kinds of process, and that
although there is some trade-off between performance on
these two instruments, there is no necessary trade-off.
This confirms predictions from the E–S theory and the
model shown in figure 1.
Again, as predicted in Study 2, people with AS/HFA
scored significantly higher on the SQ, and significantly
lower on the EQ, compared with matched controls. The
latter result replicates the finding on empathy measures
from our earlier study (S. Baron-Cohen and S. WheelDownloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015
these two means. It was
(r= -.48), the SQ was positively correlated
with the AQ (r= .46), as would be expected.
Figure 1a. EQ and SQ scores in students versus non-students in Study 1. The sample size for each group is depicted
in square brackets. The maximum score on each measure is 80. Error bars show the standard deviation.
Figure 1b. SQ and EQ scores in AS versus matched controls in study 2.
The maximum score on each measure is 80. Error bars show the standard deviation.
The systemizing quotient in autism S. Baron-Cohen and others 367
wright, unpublished data) and the former is in line with
the EMB model of autism. The fact that the group with
AS/HFA actually scored higher on the SQ, rather than at
an equivalent level to them, is noteworthy, because the
EMB predicts either normal or superior performance on
systemizing measures. It also replicates good performance
from more specific measures of systemizing such as the
Physical Prediction Questionnaire (J. Lawson, S. BaronCohen and S. Wheelwright, unpublished data). Figure 2
suggests the possibility of a sub-group of people with AS
who are particularly high systemizers, which could be
tested more thoroughly in future in a larger sample of
people with AS.
The results can be interpreted with some confidence,
for several reasons. First, if the AS/HFA group were in
some way disadvantaged overall, this should have been
evident on lower scores on both questionnaires, whereas
the pattern of results actually obtained is exactly as predicted by the EMB theory. Second, the analysis of performance on the filler items of both questionnaires shows
that the groups did not differ on these, but only on the
items of relevance to each questionnaire. Third, the lack
of a difference between the students and the non-students
in the general population study (Study 1) on either the SQ
or EQ suggests that these dimensions are not a function
of age or education, but are best predicted on the basis
of sex.
It is, of course, important to acknowledge several limitations of the present studies. First, only a proportion of
subjects could actually be tested in vivo, and it would be
beneficial for future studies to validate performance of
subjects on these measures with observed test performance on related instruments. Second, it was not possible
to include a non-autistic psychiatric control group in
Study 2, and this would be of interest to establish if the
superior systemizing found in the group with AS/HFA is
specific to this clinical condition. Third, the design of the
questionnaires makes them mainly suitable for adults of
normal intelligence who are capable of completing selfreport questionnaires. In the future, it would be valuable
to adapt them for parental report of their children. Finally,
the AS/HFA group is only n = 47, and in future it would
be important to increase this sample size.
It is worth emphasizing that the pattern of scores on the
SQ and EQ is clearly not one that would be predicted
by alternative cognitive theories of autism. The executive
dysfunction theory (Ozonoff et al. 1994; Russell 1997)
would make no clear prediction on the EQ, but might
even predict impaired performance on the SQ, as many
aspects of systemizing require executive function. Equally,
the weak central coherence theory (Frith 1989; Happe´
1996) would predict that people with autism should be
impaired on both the EQ and the SQ, as both need strong
central coherence. In this respect, the E–S theory makes
predictions of a highly specific profile (impaired EQ,
superior SQ), which were confirmed. It is difficult to
maintain that good systemizing is predicted by weak central coherence theory for two reasons: (i) weak central
coherence theory was first described in 1989 (Frith 1989)
and for the 10 years following this there was no mention
by its proponents that good systemizing would be
expected; (ii) systemizing requires excellent integration of
information using the rule-based structure (input–operPhil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003)
ation–output), whereas weak central coherence predicts
poor integration. Good systemizing in autism was first predicted by the E–S theory (Baron-Cohen 2002), and the
data reported here provide good evidence for this. Central
coherence theory predicts that integration of information
should be impaired in autism, whereas E–S theory predicts
that if a domain is systemizable, ability in autism will be
in line with mental age, or even superior. Furthermore,
central coherence theory predicts ‘holistic’ processing deficits, whereas E–S theory predicts that both holistic systems (such as astronomy) or particle-based systems (such
as particle physics) should be readily grasped, and only
non-systemizable domains (such as fiction) will be poorly
integrated in autism. These predictions remain to be tested.
An objection to E–S theory might be of circularity,
namely, that empathizing deficits and systemizing talents
might be expected purely because of how people with
autism are diagnosed. Against this criticism, DSM-IV
does not gather information about systemizing, and
although empathizing deficits might be noted as a diagnostic symptom, neither of these constructs is quantified
during diagnostic procedures. The SQ and EQ thus go
beyond diagnosis to provide quantitative instruments for
measuring individual differences. In addition, some of the
behaviours that the E–S theory sees as a result of superior
systemizing (such as expertise or detailed perception) are
viewed by DSM-IV in rather negative terms (e.g. as
restricted or repetitive interests or behaviour, or
obsessions). In this way, the E–S theory provides a fresh
lens through which to understand these behaviours.
What remains unclear is the nature of the underlying
neurocognitive mechanisms that drive empathizing and
systemizing. In particular, it is of considerable importance
to establish if these reflect independent mechanisms, or
one underlying one, such that as one gets better at one,
one gets worse at the other. We suspect that two independent mechanisms are involved, simply because of the
existence of few individuals who are superior at both
empathizing and systemizing. However, there seems to be
a trend for some trade-off between these two domains,
suggesting that even if two independent mechanisms are
involved, there may be a special relationship between
them. The nature of this special relationship needs to be
understood both at the level of cognition and neuroscience. In terms of the brain basis of empathizing, several
important brain regions have now been identified, specifically the orbito- and medial-frontal cortex, superior temporal sulcus and the amygdala (Baron-Cohen & Ring
1994; Frith & Frith 1999; Baron-Cohen et al. 1999b,
2000). The brain basis of systemizing remains to be studied.
We conclude by suggesting that the E–S theory of sex
differences in the mind, and the EMB theory of autism
warrant further biomedical research, as a result of this new
evidence of intact or superior systemizing in AS, as measured on the SQ.
S.B.-C., J.R. and S.W. were supported by the Medical
Research Council and the James S. McDonnell Foundation,
during the development of this work. D.B. and N.G. submitted
this work as a final year project in part fulfilment of the BSc
in Psychology, Cambridge University. The authors are grateful
to Johnny Lawson for help in preparing figure 1.
Downloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015
368 S. Baron-Cohen and others The systemizing quotient in autism
APPENDIX A: THE SYSTEMIZING QUOTIENT
1. When I listen to a piece of music, I strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
always notice the way it’s
structured.
2. I adhere to common superstitions. strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
3. I often make resolutions, but find it strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
hard to stick to them.
4. I prefer to read non-fiction than strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
fiction.
5. If I were buying a car, I would want strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
to obtain specific information about
its engine capacity.
6. When I look at a painting, I do not strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
usually think about the technique
involved in making it.
7. If there was a problem with the strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
electrical wiring in my home, I’d be
able to fix it myself.
8. When I have a dream, I find it strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
difficult to remember precise details
about the dream the next day.
9. When I watch a film, I prefer to be strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
with a group of friends, rather than
alone.
10. I am interested in learning about strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
different religions.
11. I rarely read articles or web pages strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
about new technology.
12. I do not enjoy games that involve a strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
high degree of strategy.
13. I am fascinated by how machines strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
work.
14. I make it a point of listening to the strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
news each morning.
15. In maths, I am intrigued by the rules strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
and patterns governing numbers.
16. I am bad about keeping in touch with strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
old friends.
17. When I am relating a story, I often strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
leave out details and just give the
gist of what happened.
18. I find it difficult to understand strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
instruction manuals for putting
appliances together.
19. When I look at an animal, I like to strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
know the precise species it belongs
to.
20. If I were buying a computer, I would strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
want to know exact details about its
hard drive capacity and processor
speed.
21. I enjoy participating in sport. strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
22. I try to avoid doing household chores strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
if I can.
23. When I cook, I do not think about strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
exactly how different methods and
ingredients contribute to the final
product.
(Continued.)
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003)
Downloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015
The systemizing quotient in autism S. Baron-Cohen and others 369
24. I find it difficult to read and strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
understand maps.
25. If I had a collection (e.g. CDs, coins, strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
stamps), it would be highly
organised.
26. When I look at a piece of furniture, I strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
do not notice the details of how it
was constructed.
27. The idea of engaging in ‘risk-taking’ strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
activities appeals to me.
28. When I learn about historical events, strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
I do not focus on exact dates.
29. When I read the newspaper, I am strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
drawn to tables of information,
such as football league scores or
stock market indices.
30. When I learn a language, I become strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
intrigued by its grammatical rules.
31. I find it difficult to learn my way strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
around a new city.
32. I do not tend to watch science strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
documentaries on television or read
articles about science and nature.
33. If I were buying a stereo, I would strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
want to know about its precise
technical features.
34. I find it easy to grasp exactly how strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
odds work in betting.
35. I am not very meticulous when I strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
carry out D.I.Y.
36. I find it easy to carry on a strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
conversation with someone I’ve just
met.
37. When I look at a building, I am strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
curious about the precise way it was
constructed.
38. When an election is being held, I am strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
not interested in the results for each
constituency.
39. When I lend someone money, I strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
expect them to pay me back exactly
what they owe me.
40. I find it difficult to understand strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
information the bank sends me on
different investment and saving
systems.
41. When travelling by train, I often strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
wonder exactly how the rail
networks are coordinated.
42. When I buy a new appliance, I do not strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
read the instruction manual very
thoroughly.
43. If I were buying a camera, I would strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
not look carefully into the quality of
the lens.
44. When I read something, I always strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
notice whether it is grammatically
correct.
(Continued.)
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003)
Downloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015
370 S. Baron-Cohen and others The systemizing quotient in autism
45. When I hear the weather forecast, I strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
am not very interested in the
meteorological patterns.
46. I often wonder what it would be like strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
to be someone else.
47. I find it difficult to do two things at strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
once.
48. When I look at a mountain, I think strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
about how precisely it was formed.
49. I can easily visualise how the strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
motorways in my region link up.
50. When I’m in a restaurant, I often strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
have a hard time deciding what to
order.
51. When I’m in a plane, I do not think strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
about the aerodynamics.
52. I often forget the precise details of strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
conversations I’ve had.
53. When I am walking in the country, I strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
am curious about how the various
kinds of trees differ.
54. After meeting someone just once or strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
twice, I find it difficult to remember
precisely what they look like.
55. I am interested in knowing the path a strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
river takes from its source to the
sea.
56. I do not read legal documents very strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
carefully.
57. I am not interested in understanding strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
how wireless communication works.
58. I am curious about life on other strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
planets.
59. When I travel, I like to learn specific strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
details about the culture of the
place I am visiting.
60. I do not care to know the names of strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
the plants I see.
Ó 2001 MRC-SBC/JSR
APPENDIX B: THE EMPATHIZING QUOTIENT
1. I can easily tell if someone else wants strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
to enter a conversation.
2. I prefer animals to humans. strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
3. I try to keep up with the current strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
trends and fashions.
4. I find it difficult to explain to others strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
things that I understand easily,
when they don’t understand it first
time.
5. I dream most nights. strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
6. I really enjoy caring for other people. strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
7. I try to solve my own problems rather strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
than discussing them with others.
(Continued.)
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003)
Downloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015
The systemizing quotient in autism S. Baron-Cohen and others 371

I find it hard to know what to do in a
social situation.
I am at my best first thing in the
morning.
strongly agree
strongly agree

10. People often tell me that I went too far strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
in driving my point home in a
discussion.

It doesn’t bother me too much if I am
late meeting a friend.
Friendships and relationships are just
too difficult, so I tend not to bother
with them.
I would never break a law, no matter
how minor.
I often find it difficult to judge if
something is rude or polite.
In a conversation, I tend to focus on
strongly agree
strongly agree
strongly agree
strongly agree
strongly agree

my own thoughts rather than on what
my listener might be thinking.

I prefer practical jokes to verbal
humour.
I live life for today rather than the
future.
When I was a child, I enjoyed cutting
up worms to see what would
happen.
I can pick up quickly if someone says
one thing but means another.
I tend to have very strong opinions
about morality.
It is hard for me to see why some
things upset people so much.
I find it easy to put myself
in somebody else’s shoes.
I think that good manners are the
strongly agree
strongly agree
strongly agree
strongly agree
strongly agree
strongly agree
strongly agree
strongly agree

most important thing a parent can
teach their child.

I like to do things on the spur of the
moment.
I am good at predicting how
someone will feel.
I am quick to spot when someone in
a group is feeling awkward or
uncomfortable.
If I say something that someone else
strongly agree
strongly agree
strongly agree
strongly agree

is offended by, I think that that’s
their problem, not mine.

If anyone asked me if I liked their
haircut, I would reply truthfully,
even if I didn’t like it.
I can’t always see why someone
strongly agree
strongly agree

should have felt offended by a
remark.

People often tell me that I am very
unpredictable.
I enjoy being the centre of attention
at any social gathering.
Seeing people cry doesn’t really upset
me.
strongly agree
strongly agree
strongly agree

(Continued.)
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003)
Downloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015
372 S. Baron-Cohen and others The systemizing quotient in autism
33. I enjoy having discussions about strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
politics.
34. I am very blunt, which some people strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
take to be rudeness, even though
this is unintentional.
35. I don’t tend to find social situations strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
confusing.
36. Other people tell me I am good at strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
understanding how they are feeling
and what they are thinking.
37. When I talk to people, I tend to talk strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
about their experiences rather than
my own.
38. It upsets me to see an animal in pain. strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
39. I am able to make decisions without strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
being influenced by people’s
feelings.
40. I can’t relax until I have done strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
everything I had planned to do that
day.
41. I can easily tell if someone else is strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
interested or bored with what I am
saying.
42. I get upset if I see people suffering strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
on news programmes.
43. Friends usually talk to me about their strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
problems as they say that I am very
understanding.
44. I can sense if I am intruding, even if strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
the other person doesn’t tell me.
45. I often start new hobbies but quickly strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
become bored with them and move
on to something else.
46. People sometimes tell me that I have strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
gone too far with teasing.
47. I would be too nervous to go on a strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
big roller-coaster.
48. Other people often say that I am strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
insensitive, though I don’t always
see why.
49. If I see a stranger in a group, I think strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
that it is up to them to make an
effort to join in.
50. I usually stay emotionally detached strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
when watching a film.
51. I like to be very organised in day to strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
day life and often make lists of the
chores I have to do.
52. I can tune into how someone else strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
feels rapidly and intuitively.
53. I don’t like to take risks. strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
54. I can easily work out what another strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
person might want to talk about.
55. I can tell if someone is masking their strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
true emotion.
56. Before making a decision I always strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
weigh up the pros and cons.
57. I don’t consciously work out the strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
rules of social situations.
(Continued.)
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003)
Downloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015
The systemizing quotient in autism S. Baron-Cohen and others 373
58. I am good at predicting what strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
someone will do.
59. I tend to get emotionally involved strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
with a friend’s problems.
60. I can usually appreciate the other strongly agree slightly agree slightly disagree strongly disagree
person’s viewpoint, even if I don’t
agree with it.
Ó February 1998 C/SJW
REFERENCES
American Psychiatric Association 1994 DSM-IV Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edn. Washington,
DC: American Psychiatric Association.
Asperger, H. 1944 Die ‘Autistischen Psychopathen’ im Kindesalter. Arch. Psychiat. Nervenkrank. 117, 76–136.
Bailey, T., Le Couteur, A., Gottesman, I., Bolton, P., Simonoff, E., Yuzda, E. & Rutter, M. 1995 Autism as a strongly
genetic disorder: evidence from a British twin study. Psychol.
Med. 25, 63–77.
Baron-Cohen, S. 1995 Mindblindness: an essay on autism and
theory of mind. Boston, MA: MIT Press/Bradford Books.
Baron-Cohen, S. 2000 Theory of mind and autism: a fifteen
year review. In Understanding other minds, vol. 2 (ed. S.
Baron-Cohen, H. Tager Flusberg & D. Cohen). Oxford
University Press.
Baron-Cohen, S. 2002 The extreme male brain theory of
autism. Trends Cogn. Sci. 6, 248–254.
Baron-Cohen, S. & Bolton, P. 1993 Autism: the facts. Oxford
University Press.
Baron-Cohen, S. & Hammer, J. 1997 Is autism an extreme
form of the male brain? Adv. Infancy Res. 11, 193–217.
Baron-Cohen, S. & Ring, H. 1994 A model of the mindreading
system: neuropsychological and neurobiological perspectives. In Origins of an understanding of mind (ed. P. Mitchell &
C. Lewis). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Baron-Cohen, S., Jolliffe, T., Mortimore, C. & Robertson, M.
1997 Another advanced test of theory of mind: evidence
from very high functioning adults with autism or Asperger
Syndrome. J. Child Psychol. Psychiat. 38, 813–822.
Baron-Cohen, S., O’Riordan, M., Jones, R., Stone, V. & Plaisted, K. 1999a A new test of social sensitivity: detection
of faux pas in normal children and children with Asperger
syndrome. J. Autism Devl Disorders 29, 407–418.
Baron-Cohen, S., Ring, H., Wheelwright, S., Bullmore, E.,
Brammer, M., Simmons, A. & Williams, S. 1999b Social
intelligence in the normal and autistic brain: an fMRI study.
Eur. J. Neurosci. 11, 1891–1898.
Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Stone, V. & Rutherford,
M. 1999c A mathematician, a physicist, and a computer
scientist with Asperger syndrome: performance on folk psychology and folk physics test. Neurocase 5, 475–483.
Baron-Cohen, S., Ring, H., Bullmore, E., Wheelwright, S.,
Ashwin, C. & Williams, S. 2000 The amygdala theory of
autism. Neurosci. Behav. Rev. 24, 355–364.
Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Skinner, R., Martin, J. &
Clubley, E. 2001 The autism spectrum quotient (AQ): evidence from Asperger syndrome/high functioning autism,
males and females, scientists and mathematicians. J. Autism
Devl Disorders 31, 5–17.
Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Griffin, R., Lawson, J. &
Hill, J. 2002 The exact mind: empathising and systemising
in autism spectrum conditions. In Handbook of cognitive
development (ed. U. Goswami). Oxford: Blackwell.
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003)
Benbow, C. P. 1988 Sex differences in mathematical reasoning
ability in intellectually talented preadolescents: their nature,
effects, and possible causes. Behav. Brain Sci. 11, 169–232.
Bolton, P. & Rutter, M. 1990 Genetic influences in autism.
Int. Rev. Psychiat. 2, 67–80.
Davis, M. H. 1980 A multidimensional approach to individual
differences in empathy. JSAS Cat. Select. Docs Psychol. 10,
85.
Davis, M. H. 1994 Empathy: a social psychological approach.
Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Davis, M. H. & Franzoi, S. L. 1991 Stability and change in
adolescent self-consciousness and empathy. J. Res. Personality 25, 70–87.
Folstein, S. & Rutter, M. 1977 Infantile autism: a genetic study
of 21 twin pairs. J. Child Psychol. Psychiat. 18, 297–321.
Folstein, S. & Rutter, M. 1988 Autism: familial aggregation
and genetic implications. J. Autism Devl Disorders 18, 3–30.
Frith, C. D. & Frith, U. 1999 Interacting minds—a biological
basis. Science 286, 1692–1695.
Frith, U. 1989 Autism: explaining the enigma. Oxford: Basil
Blackwell.
Frith, U. 1991 Autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Cambridge
University Press.
Geary, D. 1996 Sexual selection and sex differences in mathematical abilities. Behav. Brain Sci. 19, 229–284.
Geschwind, N. & Galaburda, A. M. 1985 Cerebral lateralization. biological mechanisms, associations, and pathology: I.
A hypothesis and a program for research. Arch. Neurol. 42,
428–459.
Gillberg, C. 1991 Clinical and neurobiological aspects of
Asperger syndrome in six family studies. In Autism and
Asperger syndrome (ed. U. Frith). Cambridge University
Press.
Hall, J. A. 1978 Gender effects in decoding nonverbal cues.
Psychol. Bull. 85, 845–858.
Happe´, F. 1996 Studying weak central coherence at low levels:
children with autism do not succumb to visual illusions. A
research note. J. Child Psychol. Psychiat. 37, 873–877.
Hermelin, B. 2002 Bright splinters of the mind: a personal story
of research with autistic savants. London: Jessica Kingsley.
Hoffman, M. L. 1977 Sex differences in empathy and related
behaviors. Psychol. Bull. 84, 712–722.
ICD-10 1994 International Classification of Diseases, 10th edn.
Geneva: World Health Organization.
Jolliffe, T. & Baron-Cohen, S. 1997 Are people with autism
or Asperger’s syndrome faster than normal on the embedded
figures task? J. Child Psychol. Psychiat. 38, 527–534.
Kimura, D. 1999 Sex and cognition. Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press.
Klin, A., Volkmar, F., Sparrow, S., Cicchetti, D. & Rourke,
B. 1995 Validity and neuropsychological characterization of
Asperger syndrome: convergence with nonverbal learning disabilities syndrome. J. Child Psychol. Psychiat. 36, 1127–1140.
Lutchmaya, S., Baron-Cohen, S. & Raggett, P. 2002 Foetal
testosterone and eye contact in 12 month old infants. Infant
Behav. Dev. 25, 327–335.
Downloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015
374 S. Baron-Cohen and others The systemizing quotient in autism
Morton, J., Frith, U. & Leslie, A. 1991 The cognitive basis of
a biological disorder: autism. Trends Neurosci. 14, 434–438.
Ozonoff, S., Strayer, L., McMahon, A. & Filloux, F. 1994
Executive function abilities in autism and Tourette syndrome: an information processing approach. J. Child Psychol.
Psychiat. 35, 1015–1032.
Russell, J. 1997 How executive disorders can bring about an
inadequate theory of mind. In Autism as an executive disorder
(ed. J. Russell). Oxford University Press.
Shah, A. & Frith, U. 1983 An islet of ability in autism: a
research note. J. Child Psychol. Psychiat. 24, 613–620.
Wechsler, D. 1958 Sex differences in intelligence: the measurement
and appraisal of adult intelligence. Baltimore, OH: Williams & Wilking.
Wing, L. 1981 Asperger syndrome: a clinical account. Psychol.
Med. 11, 115–130.
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B (2003)
Wing, L. 1988 The autistic continuum. In Aspects of autism:
biological research (ed. L. Wing). London: Gaskell/Royal College of Psychiatrists.
GLOSSARY
AQ: autism spectrum quotient
AS: Asperger syndrome
EFT: embedded figures task
EMB: extreme male brain
EQ: empathy quotient
E–S: empathizing–systemizing
HFA: high-functioning autism
SQ: systemizing quotient
WAIS-R: Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale—Revised
Downloaded from http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ on March 28, 2015

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *