May 7, 2020

Systemizing Quotient–Revised

Last updated on January 19, 2022

Embrace Autism | Systemizing Quotient–Revised | Rating 433

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:


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.


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:

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This article
was written by:
dr-natalie-engelbrecht
I’m a dually licensed registered psychotherapist and naturopathic doctor, 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.

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