Autism Spectrum Quotient

The Adult AQ (Autism Spectrum Quotient) was developed by the ARC to test if adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome are just an extreme on a dimension of autistic traits that runs right through the general population. Our studies have shown that people with a clinical diagnosis tend to score above 32 out of 50 on the AQ, first-degree relatives tend to score higher than average on the AQ, males in the general population tend to score higher than females, and scientists tend to score higher than non-scientists on the AQ. We have also found the AQ shows heritability (from twin studies) and cross-cultural stability, and that it predicts clinical diagnosis. We are currently investigating if the Adult AQ can be used as a screening instrument to detect undiagnosed cases of autism or Asperger Syndrome. It is recognized that at best the AQ is a screening instrument - it is not itself diagnostic. We have also found genetic polymorphisms (SNPs), patterns of brain activity and brain structure, and patterns of hormonal profile, are associated with AQ. We have also developed an Adolescent and a Child Version of the AQ, and are in the process of evaluating short forms of all the AQ tests, for use in frontline clinical practice as potential "red flags". Finally, we are testing if AQ is a predictor of performance on various cognitive tests, such as social-attentional cueing.


Selected References

679: E. Ruzich, C. Allison, B. Chakrabarti, P. Smith, H. Musto, H. Ring, S. Baron-Cohen (2015)
Sex and STEM Occupation Predict Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) Scores in Half a Million People
PLoS ONE 10(10):e0141229

638: E Ruzich, C Allison, P Smith, P Watson, B Auyeung, Howard Ring, S Baron-Cohen (2015)
Measuring autistic traits in the general population: a systematic review of the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) in a nonclinical population sample of 6,900 typical adult males and females
Molecular Autism 6:2

527: C. Allison, B. Auyeung, S. Baron-Cohen (2012)
Toward Brief "Red Flags" for Autism Screening: The Short Autism Spectrum Quotient and the Short Quantitative Checklist in 1,000 Cases and 3,000 Controls
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 51(2):202-212

486: R. Hoekstra, A. Vinkhuyzen, S. Wheelwright, M.Bartels, D. Boomsma, S. Baron-Cohen, D. Posthuma, S. van der Sluis (2011)
The construction and validation of an abridged versions of the Autism-Spectrum quotient (AQ-Short)
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 41:589-596

427: B. Chakrabarti, F. Dudbridge, L. Kent, S. Wheelwright, G. Hill-Cawthorne, C. Allison, S. Banerjee-Basu, S. Baron-Cohen (2009)
Genes Related to Sex Steroids, Neural Growth, and Social-Emotional Behavior are Associated with Autistic Traits, Empathy, and Asperger Syndrome
Autism Research 2:157-177

392: R. A. Hoekstra, M. Bartels, C. J. H. Verweij and D. I. Boomsma (2007)
Heritability of Autistic Traits in the General Population
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 161:372-377

380: R. Hoekstra, M. Bartels, J. Hudziak, T. Van Beijsterveldt and D. Boomsma (2007)
Genetic and Environmental Covariation Between Autistic Traits and Behavioral Problems
Twin Research and Human Genetics 10(6):853-860

322: N. Goldenfeld, S. Baron-Cohen and S. Wheelwright (2006)
Empathizing and Systemizing in Males, Females, and Autism
Clinical Neuropsychiatry 2(6):338-345

321: S. Wheelwright, S. Baron-Cohen, N. Goldenfeld, J. Delaney, D. Fine, R. Smith, L. Weil and A. Wakabayashi (2006)
Predicting Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) from the Systemizing Quotient-Revised (SQ-R) and Empathy Quotient (EQ)
Brain Research 1079:47-56

320: S. Baron-Cohen, R. A. Hoekstra, R. Knickmeyer and S. Wheelwright (2006)
The Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) - Adolescent Version
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 36:343-350

312: M. Woodbury-Smith, J. Robinson and S. Baron-Cohen (2005)
Screening adults for Asperger Syndrome using the AQ : diagnostic validity in clinical practice
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 35:331-335

160: S. Baron-Cohen, S. Wheelwright, R. Skinner, J. Martin and E. Clubley (2001)
The Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) : Evidence from Asperger Syndrome/High-Functioning Autism, Males and Females, Scientists and Mathematicians
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 31:5-17

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