The Essential Difference?

Perhaps jealous of his cousins riches, Simon Baron Cohen seems to have given up doing real science and joined the Mars/Venus gold-rush. As far as I know he’s not yet writing for the Womens page of the Daily Mail, but his latest book ‘The Essential Difference’ can’t help the hype it was obviously designed to attract.

It attracts the Guardian too, who have got a couple of his quizzes online (click on this posts title)
Agree or disagree to a series of statements like ‘As a child, I liked to cut up worms to see happened’ or ‘I can tune into how someone else feels rapidly and intuitively.’ to see if you are wailing sympathetic irrational woman or an emotionally inept, meccano-obsessed bloke. Of course, it isn’t quite that simple but it’s not far off his gist. He has two axes Empathizing and Systematizing Quotients, I knew I’d be an organised unfeeling idiot but was surprised by how autistic I turned out.

EQ: 15
On average, most women score about 47 and most men about 42. Most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 20.
0-32 = You have a lower than average ability for understanding how other people feel and responding appropriately.

SQ: 41
On average women score about 24 and men score about 30.
40-50 = You have an above average ability for analysing and exploring a system.
(51-80 = You have a very high ability for analysing and exploring a system. Three times as many people with Asperger Syndrome score in this range, compared to typical men, and almost no women score this high)

First reaction was ‘Oh, I’m more rubbish than I thought’. I or others could justify labelling me ‘Aspergers’, that this could have certain consequences or explain or excuse things. But then I reflected that actually I get by quite nicely as I am and there’s nothing right or wrong about it and that labels are dangerous things that let people of the hook of personal responsibility.

The disclaimer summed it up excellently.

Disclaimer:
Please note that psychological test scores are not diagnostic. If you score in the low E range, this is by no means an indicator that you have any kind of problem.

Although research indicates that some people with a diagnosis (eg of autism or Asperger Syndrome) may score in the low E range, it is NOT the case that a low E score is indicative of a problem.

A diagnosis is the result of an extensive assessment, not the result of a test score. And a diagnosis it typically only relevant for individuals who are seeking help because they are suffering in some way.

If you are concerned about yourself, NOT as a result of this test but for other long-standing reasons, you should consult your GP.

About caspar

Caspar is just one monkey among billions. Battering his keyboard without expectations even of peanuts, let alone of aping the Immortal Bard. By day he is an infantologist at Birkbeck Babylab, by night he runs BabyLaughter.net
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