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AofA Science Summary: Are systemizing and autistic traits related to talent and interest in mathematics and engineering?

Posted Oct 01 2012 12:00am
Science post image Professor Simon Baron Cohen's research includes the theory of the extreme male brain: "Research on relatives of people with Asperger syndrome and autism has found that their fathers and grandfathers are twice as likely to be engineers as the general population. Natural science students have more relatives with autism than humanities students. Asperger syndrome is found more often in mathematicians and their siblings than in the general population. Both mothers and fathers of children with Asperger syndrome tend to score high on systemizing. Both mothers and fathers of children with autism or Asperger syndrome often have father who worked in systemizing occupations. Both mothers and fathers of children with autism have a strongly masculine pattern of brain activity when doing systemizing activity.*"  The study below found otherwise.

Item 1 of 1 (Display the citation in PubMed) 1. Br J Psychol. 2012

Nov;103(4):472-96. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.2011.02089.x. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

Are systemizing and autistic traits related to talent and interest in mathematics and engineering? Testing some of the central claims of the empathizing-systemizing theory.

Source

School of Psychology, University of Plymouth, UK Department of Psychology, University of Florence, Italy.

Abstract


Testing some of the central claims of the empathizing-systemizing theory. Morsanyi K, Primi C, Handley SJ, Chiesi F, Galli S. Source School of Psychology, University of Plymouth, UK Department of Psychology, University of Florence, Italy. Abstract In two experiments, we tested some of the central claims of the empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory.

Experiment 1 showed that the systemizing quotient (SQ) was unrelated to performance on a mathematics test, although it was correlated with statistics-related attitudes, self-efficacy, and anxiety. In Experiment 2, systemizing skills, and gender differences in these skills, were more strongly related to spatial thinking styles than to SQ. In fact, when we partialled the effect of spatial thinking styles, SQ was no longer related to systemizing skills.

Additionally, there was no relationship between the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and the SQ, or skills and interest in mathematics and mechanical reasoning. We discuss the implications of our findings for the E-S theory, and for understanding the autistic cognitive profile. ©2011 The British Psychological Society. PMID: 23034108 [PubMed - in process]

*The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, Edited by Robin Dunbar and Louise Barret, Oxford University Press, 2007, Chapter 16 The evolution of empathizing and systemizing: assortative mating of two strong systemizers and the cause of autism, Simon Baron-Cohen.

Posted by Age of Autism at October 10, 2012 at 5:45 AM in Science Permalink

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