May 7, 2020
Category:

Systemizing Quotient–Revised

Last updated on August 24, 2022

The Systemizing Quotient–Revised (SQ–R) is a self-report questionnaire comprising 75 items, which is used to assess so-called systemizing cognitive styles. Systemizing is the drive to analyze or construct systems. Look at the What it tests section for a more comprehensive explanation of systemizing.

Basic information
Statements: 75
Duration: 10–15 minutes
Type: screening tool
Authors: Sally Wheelwright & Simon Baron-Cohen et al.
Publishing year: 2006
Seminal paper: Predicting Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) from the Systemizing Quotient–Revised (SQ–R) and Empathy Quotient (EQ) (Wheelwright & Simon Baron-Cohen et al., 2006)

Original SQ
Statements: 60 (40 systemizing items + 20 control items)
Publishing year: 2003
Seminal paper: The systemizing quotient: an investigation of adults with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism, and normal sex difference (Baron-Cohen et al., 2003)

Take the test here:


Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht’s rating: 4 stars for appropriate and respectful wording, 3 stars for clarity & lack of ambiguity, and 3 stars for testing accuracy.Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht’s rating: 4 stars for appropriate and respectful wording, 3 stars for clarity & lack of ambiguity, and 3 stars for testing accuracy.


Who the test is designed for

  • Adults (age 16+) of average or higher intelligence.

What it tests

The EQ–R measures your proclivity to systemize, or think in terms of systems. Someone who scores high on this measure is keen on analyzing systems and classifications, they explore categories and the relationships between concepts, they are able to discern and manipulate causal patterns, and they have great attention to detail. They may also collect and organize things.

According to Simon Baron-Cohen, systemizing is particularly strong in innovators in all fields—the sciences as well as the arts—and autistic people tend to score high on this cognitive mechanism.[1]Book Review: ‘The Pattern Seekers’ links human invention—past, present and future—to autism traits | Spectrum News


Versions & translations


Taking the test

You don’t need to create an account, but you need to fill in age, gender, and diagnostic status.
Click the “I accept” button to consent to your test results’ potential use for research purposes.

The SQ–R consists of 75 statements, giving you 4 choices for each statement:

  1. Strongly agree
  2. Slightly agree
  3. Slightly disagree
  4. Strongly disagree
Important

When you take the SQ–R, try to interpret the
statements on the test as generally as possible.

The SQ–R is supposed to measure your tendency
to analyze systems and observe patterns;
it’s not supposed to measure your interest in
trains and football cards specifically.

So try to relate the statements to your own interests;
ask yourself what your tendency is with respect
to things that interest you.


Scoring

Since there are 75 items on the SQ–R and each can be scored with a maximum of 2 points, the maximum score on the instrument is 150, and the minimum is 0. Any score above 75 is indicative of autism.

  • Scoring range: 0–150
  • Threshold score: 75↑

On the following 39 items, ‘strongly agree’ responses score 2 points, and ‘slightly agree’ responses score 1 point:

1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30, 32, 36, 38, 41, 42, 43, 46, 50, 53, 55, 60, 61, 62, 66, 68, 69, 72, 74 and 75.

On the following 36 items, ‘strongly disagree’ responses score 2 points and ‘slightly disagree’ responses score 1 point:

3, 6, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 26, 28, 31, 33, 34, 35, 37, 39, 40, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 51, 52, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 63, 64, 65, 67, 70, 71 and 73.

Average scores

In the graph below, you can see how autistic (blue) and non-autistic (tan) men (dashed lines) and women (solid lines) score on the SQ–R, based on research by Simon Baron-Cohen et al. from 2014.[2]Attenuation of Typical Sex Differences in 800 Adults with Autism vs. 3,900 Controls (Baron-Cohen et al., 20014)

Embrace Autism | Systemizing Quotient–Revised | diagram SQ R Scores
The distributions of Systemizing Quotient–Revised (SQ–R) scores by the four groups: males and females with and without autism spectrum conditions. (Credit: Attenuation of Typical Sex Differences in 800 Adults with Autism vs. 3,900 Controls)

In the table below, you can see the mean scores of autistic people and neurotypicals on the SQ–R, based on research by Sally Wheelwright et al. from 2006.[3]Predicting Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) from the Systemizing Quotient-Revised (SQ–R) and Empathy Quotient (EQ) (Wheelwright et al., 2006)

SQ–R mean scores
GroupMaleFemaleTotal
Autistic77.876.477.2
Neurotypical61.251.755.6

On the results page of the Systemizing Quotient on the Aspie Tests website, you will also see a table with average scores.[4]Systemizing Quotient | Aspie Tests Although these scores approximate the results from the table above, do note that the neurotypical scores are inflated. The reason is that some people that take the test assume and report that they are non-autistic, whereas their results do indicate autism. Although the table on the results page is subject to change as new results come in, we have reproduced the results as of 2 November, 2021 in the table below.

SQ average scores
GroupMaleFemale
Autistic80.677.4
Suspected autistic80.574.6
Neurotypical69.762.4

Validity

The ability of the empathizing–systemizing (E–S) theory to predict autism is under debate. However, the scores of autistics on the Empathy Quotient (EQ) and the Systemizing Quotient (SQ) show a significant difference, so there does seem to be some validity to the model, although we aren’t convinced the EQ accurately measures empathy in autistic people.

Sensitivity & specificity

In the table below, you can see how the SQ-R performs on the following measures:[5]The Empathy and Systemizing Quotient: The Psychometric Properties of the Dutch Version and a Review of the Cross-Cultural Stability (Groen et al., 2015)

  • Sensitivity: the ability of the test to correctly identify autistic people.
  • Specificity: the ability of the test to correctly identify non-autistic people.
  • Positive predictive value: the probability that someone who scores autistic on the test actually is autistic.
  • Negative predictive value: the probability that someone who scores non-autistic on the test actually is non-autistic.
 SensitivitySpecificityPPVNPV
Perc ≥ 97.52.495.27.186.2
Perc ≥ 6542.947.011.284.1

Sensitivity was found to be insufficient for the hyper-systemizers, meaning that if you have a low EQ and a high SQ, autism cannot be properly distinguished from non-autism. The combinations of sensitivity and specificity can therefore be regarded as suboptimal in the detection of autistic males.[6]The Empathy and Systemizing Quotient: The Psychometric Properties of the Dutch Version and a Review of the Cross-Cultural Stability (Groen et al., 2015)

Internal consistency & cross-cultural stability

A paper from 2015 that looked into the validity of the Dutch SQ (not the SQ–R) and the EQ found that the research literature showed good cross-cultural stability of the SQ and EQ in Western countries, but that the EQ is less stable and less sensitive to sex differences in Asian countries.[7]The Empathy and Systemizing Quotient: The Psychometric Properties of the Dutch Version and a Review of the Cross-Cultural Stability (Groen et al., 2015) See the table below.

StudyYearCountryInternal consistency (Cronbach’s α)Test–retest reliability (Pearson r)
Baron-Cohen et al.2003United Kingdom0.79
Wheelwright et al.2006United Kingdom0.90
Wakabayashi et al.2007Japan0.88
Ling et al.2009United Kingdom0.83
Van Horn et al.2010Sweden
Manson & Winterbottom2012United Kingdom
Wright & Skagerberg2012United States0.91–0.94
Zeyer et al.2012Switzerland0.83
Baron-Cohen et al.2014United Kingdom
Groen et al.2015Netherlands0.87.79

An illustration of Natalie pointing to the title ‘Discussion’.

Discussion

Natalie:

The negative questions were a problem for me, not because they were hard to understand, but because I kept misreading them. In essence, when my brain took out the negative, I realized that my answer was the opposite of what it should be because I had read it as the positive. Aside from that, the statements were simple and clear.

I appreciate that Simon Baron-Cohen has produced several theories as well as tests. However, his tests don’t always test what the names suggest. For example, the Empathy Quotient measures social and communication skills as opposed to empathy. Some of Simon’s theories must be based on his thoughts about autism, rather than based on speaking to autistics.

I scored 44, which was far below either the average autistic or neurotypical scores!

Kendall:

As with other questionnaires, statements regarding whether something is easy or difficult can be hard for me—I have no way to contrast or qualify the point. The options of agree or disagree concerning negative statements I found much easier to make rather than recursive replies such as rarely or always. The wording is clear, concise, and readily understood, making the test quick and simple.


Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht pointing at a psychometric test.

The SQ–R

Please read each statement below and choose the answer that best fits your experiences.

1. I find it very easy to use train timetables, even if this involves several connections.
2. I like music or book shops because they are clearly organised.
3. I would not enjoy organising events e.g. fundraising evenings, fetes, conferences.
4. When I read something, I always notice whether it is grammatically correct.
5. I find myself categorising people into types (in my own mind).
6. I find it difficult to read and understand maps.
7. When I look at a mountain, I think about how precisely it was formed.
8. I am not interested in the details of exchange rates, interest rates, stocks and shares.
9. If I were buying a car, I would want to obtain specific information about its engine capacity.
10. I find it difficult to learn how to programme video recorders.
11. When I like something I like to collect a lot of different examples of that type of object, so I can see how they differ from each other.
12. When I learn a language, I become intrigued by its grammatical rules.
13. I like to know how committees are structured in terms of who the different committee members represent or what their functions are.
14. If I had a collection (e.g. CDs, coins, stamps), it would be highly organised.
15. I find it difficult to understand instruction manuals for putting appliances together.
16. When I look at a building, I am curious about the precise way it was constructed.
17. I am not interested in understanding how wireless communication works (e.g. mobile phones).
18. When travelling by train, I often wonder exactly how the rail networks are coordinated.
19. I enjoy looking through catalogues of products to see the details of each product and how it compares to others.
20. Whenever I run out of something at home, I always add it to a shopping list.
21. I know, with reasonable accuracy, how much money has come in and gone out of my bank account this month.
22. When I was young I did not enjoy collecting sets of things e.g. stickers, football cards etc.
23. I am interested in my family tree and in understanding how everyone is related to each other in the family.
24. When I learn about historical events, I do not focus on exact dates.
25. I find it easy to grasp exactly how odds work in betting.
26. I do not enjoy games that involve a high degree of strategy (e.g. chess, Risk, Games Workshop).
27. When I learn about a new category I like to go into detail to understand the small differences between different members of that category.
28. I do not find it distressing if people who live with me upset my routines.
29. When I look at an animal, I like to know the precise species it belongs to.
30. I can remember large amounts of information about a topic that interests me e.g. flags of the world, airline logos.
31. At home, I do not carefully file all important documents e.g. guarantees, insurance policies.
32. I am fascinated by how machines work.
33. When I look at a piece of furniture, I do not notice the details of how it was constructed.
34. I know very little about the different stages of the legislation process in my country.
35. I do not tend to watch science documentaries on television or read articles about science and nature.
36. If someone stops to ask me the way, I'd be able to give directions to any part of my home town.
37. When I look at a painting, I do not usually think about the technique involved in making it.
38. I prefer social interactions that are structured around a clear activity, e.g. a hobby.
39. I do not always check off receipts etc. against my bank statement.
40. I am not interested in how the government is organised into different ministries and departments.
41. I am interested in knowing the path a river takes from its source to the sea.
42. I have a large collection e.g. of books, CDs, videos etc.
43. If there was a problem with the electrical wiring in my home, I’d be able to fix it myself.
44. My clothes are not carefully organised into different types in my wardrobe.
45. I rarely read articles or webpages about new technology.
46. I can easily visualise how the motorways in my region link up.
47. When an election is being held, I am not interested in the results for each constituency.
48. I do not particularly enjoy learning about facts and figures in history.
49. I do not tend to remember people's birthdays (in terms of which day and month this falls).
50. When I am walking in the country, I am curious about how the various kinds of trees differ.
51. I find it difficult to understand information the bank sends me on different investment and saving systems.
52. If I were buying a camera, I would not look carefully into the quality of the lens.
53. If I were buying a computer, I would want to know exact details about its hard drive capacity and processor speed.
54. I do not read legal documents very carefully.
55. When I get to the checkout at a supermarket I pack different categories of goods into separate bags.
56. I do not follow any particular system when I'm cleaning at home.
57. I do not enjoy in-depth political discussions.
58. I am not very meticulous when I carry out D.I.Y or home improvements.
59. I would not enjoy planning a business from scratch to completion.
60. If I were buying a stereo, I would want to know about its precise technical features.
61. I tend to keep things that other people might throw away, in case they might be useful for something in the future.
62. I avoid situations which I can not control.
63. I do not care to know the names of the plants I see.
64. When I hear the weather forecast, I am not very interested in the meteorological patterns.
65. It does not bother me if things in the house are not in their proper place.
66. In maths, I am intrigued by the rules and patterns governing numbers.
67. I find it difficult to learn my way around a new city.
68. I could list my favourite 10 books, recalling titles and authors' names from memory.
69. When I read the newspaper, I am drawn to tables of information, such as football league scores or stock market indices.
70. When I’m in a plane, I do not think about the aerodynamics.
71. I do not keep careful records of my household bills.
72. When I have a lot of shopping to do, I like to plan which shops I am going to visit and in what order.
73. When I cook, I do not think about exactly how different methods and ingredients contribute to the final product.
74. When I listen to a piece of music, I always notice the way it’s structured.
75. I could generate a list of my favourite 10 songs from memory, including the title and the artist's name who performed each song.


Recommended next steps

After the SQ, consider taking one of the tests below.

ASRS-5

Measures ADHD in adults

RBQ-2A

Measures restricted and repetitive behaviours in adults

VIA Inventory of Strengths

Gives a rank of your 24 character strengths and virtues

Online autism tests can play an essential role in the process of self-discovery, and may inform your decision to pursue a formal diagnosis. For a formal assessment, please see a knowledgeable medical professional trained in assessing autism.


An illustration of a clipboard with a checklist or assessment.

If you are looking for an autism assessment,
Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht can offer help!
You can find more information here:

Autism assessments

References

This article
was written by:
dr-natalie-engelbrecht
Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht ND RP is a dually licensed naturopathic doctor and registered psychotherapist, and a Canadian leader in trauma, PTSD, and integrative medicine strictly informed by scientific research. And not only do I happen to be autistic, but my autism plays a significant role in who I am as a doctor and how I interact with and care for my patients and clients.

Disclaimer

Although our content is generally well-researched
and substantiated, or based on personal experience,
note that it does not constitute medical advice.

Comments

Let us know what you think!

A hand pointing down (an index symbol).
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
44 Comments
Inline feedbacks
View all comments
44
0
We would love to hear your thoughts!x