Aims: To test if autistic people have strengths in systemising.
Background: Systemising is the drive to analyse or construct a system. A system is anything that follows rules and is thus lawful. It might be a mechanical system (e.g., a machine or a spinning wheel), an abstract system (e.g., number patterns), a natural system (e.g., water flow, or the weather), or a collectible system (e.g., classifying objects such toy cars by shape, colour, size).
Method: We are developing new tests of systemising, both performance measures and questionnaires such as the Systemizing Quotient (SQ), with different versions for different age groups. We are correlating individual differences in systemising with brain activity using fMRI, genetics, and prenatal hormonal levels. We are also testing if systemising correlates with tests of attention to detail and sensory sensitivity.
Results: Results will appear on our website.
Importance: This research helps us to understand one aspect of perception and cognition in autistic people.
Relevance: This has relevance to how to design educational approaches for autistic children, and to identify areas of strength relevant to autistic adults in the workplace.
Funding: The Autism Research Trust.
- Dr Carrie Allison
Dr Rosie Holt
Dr Amber Ruigrok
Dr Varun Warrier
Dr David Greenberg
Dr Owen Parsons
- Empathizing-Systemizing cognitive styles: Effects of sex and academic degree, PLoS ONE /10.1371/journal.pone.0194515 (2018), R Kidron, L Kaganovskiy, S Baron-Cohen
- Testing the Empathizing-Systemizing theory of sex differences and the Extreme Male Brain theory of autism in half a million people, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115, 12152-7 (2018), D M Greenberg, V Warrier, C Allison, S Baron-Cohen
- Sensory reactivity, empathizing and systemizing in autism spectrum conditions and sensory processing disorder, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience DOI: 10.1016/j.dcn.2017.05.005 (2017), T Tavassoli, LJ Miller, S Schoen, JJ Brout, J Sullivan & S Baron-Cohen
- Sex and STEM Occupation Predict Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) Scores in Half a Million People, PLoS ONE 10(10):e0141229 (2015), E. Ruzich, C. Allison, B. Chakrabarti, P. Smith, H. Musto, H. Ring, S. Baron-Cohen
- Empathizing, Systemizing, and Autistic Traits: Latent Structure in Individuals With Autism, Their Parents, and General Population Controls, Journal of Abnormal Psychology 122(2):600-609 (2013), R Grove, A Baillie, C Allison, S Baron-Cohen, R Hoekstra