Posted by: CJ | December 3, 2010

“Autism Test”

Out of curiosity I just took this autism spectrum test at Wired. The average (I assume sample mean) from some unknown sample of “controls”, presumably normal-ish people, was 16. (The article says 16.4, but I can’t imagine the .4 makes that big a difference compared to the standard deviation of the sample.) Amongst autistic types who took it, apparently 80% scored 32 or higher.

The test is in no way scientific. It has no theory backing it up. Worst of all, it’s self-reported, so who knows what people were comparing themselves to when they did them. Also interesting is that the quiz weights “strongly agree” and merely “slightly agree” the same in the scoring.

Anyways, I took it out of curiosity. Though there’s are plenty of issues with it. I grew up having some of my more…bizarre…tendencies pointed out to me, so I usually have a clue what is and is not autistic-ish. And since I generally identify as some form of it, that biases my answers towards autism-spectrum. On the other hand, I’m in ivory tower science and have been for going on 7 1/2 years. So what I can compare myself to on a daily basis is not exactly neuro-typical.

With those caveats–non-scientific, poorly calibrated, and my own biases–I still found it interesting that my score was 41.

So, what does it mean? Who knows. Nothing in any possibly rigorous sense, except that as an informed taker of the test I consider myself moderately autistic-ish. But it’s a way of reducing the whole of my personality to a number, so as a self-identified autistic-ish I feel somewhat compelled to report it if not attach terribly much meaning to it.

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