One of my interests is economics and one of my favorite economists is Tyler Cowen. I love his interviews on the Econ Talk podcast. This summer I’ve read three of his books. One of the books is titled Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World. At first, I didn’t know where this book was going. It began with a long discussion of the autism spectrum. Then it connected how those on the autism spectrum often excel at categorizing and organizing data relationships, which is characteristic of the Internet itself.
Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World by Tyler Cowen
Create Your Own Economy is three years old so many of us are more knowledgeable about social networking today than when it was published. I still enjoyed the book and ended up learning more about autism than economics. Instead of viewing autism and Aspergers as something you have or don’t have, the book explains there exists a wide spectrum.
Until I read this book, I thought I had nothing in common with autistic individuals. I find social interactions mostly easy. But I also have other traits, such as strong data analysis skills and pattern recognition. I often notice a change that others don’t recognize. I can smell coffee roasting from a mile away and sometimes I can detect sounds that escape others. Some of my blog readers might recall how I obsessed over a spacing issue with the layout of this blog. When I look at a menu, my first task is usually to find spelling errors and not to pick out what I want to order.
So this morning I took the Autism Spectrum Quotient Test. Here are the score brackets for the test.
- 0 – 10 Low
- 11 – 22 Average (Male Average is 17, Female Average is 15)
- 23 – 31 Above Average
- 32 – 50 High
The test states that those with Asperger Syndrome or high functioning autistic people score about 35. I scored a 24, which places me in the Above Average category. Had I taken this test prior to reading Tyler’s book, this might have alarmed me. But I learned in Create Your Own Economy that having some autistic characteristics can be leveraged and extremely valuable in the digital age.
Photo by hepingting
My only concern after taking this quiz is how I can go about improving my relationships in a way that is most effective for me. Kind of like how I hacked my diet and exercise. Find the rules that yield the maximum gains, implement, and test. Spoken like someone with slightly above average autism tendencies. 🙂
UPDATE October 2014: Retook the quiz and got an 18.
Jun 20, 2012 — 9:59 am
i am socially akward, love details and numbers. i scored a 30….not surprised and not concerned. it is interesting though.
J. Scott Shipman
Jun 20, 2012 — 10:22 am
Scored a 28; no surprise. I hate mindless chit-chat.
Jun 20, 2012 — 10:43 am
Very interesting… I scored 18 (above average for women)
I listened to a program on the radio about autism, and how most autistic people can count on an ancestor being an engineer–that the same traits that mark an autistic person can also be beneficial in an engineer.
Jun 20, 2012 — 10:44 am
I wonder how many people in the general population are above average. I’m actually autistic – significantly impaired – and tend to find these issues not that simple (I tried working in a high tech company and it was a seriously horrible experience). But if more people appreciated some of our gifts maybe they’d make more room for us.
Jun 20, 2012 — 11:02 am
I am 32, which surprises even me! My birth father was an engineer, so maybe that’s why.
Jun 20, 2012 — 5:32 pm
@Scott – I loathe chit-chat when it doesn’t quickly move into novel territory. Having the same conversations over and over are hell. These days the mindless boring conversations seem to be about cell phones.
@Marian – Your score surprises me as well. I would have pegged you at half that number.
Jun 20, 2012 — 5:36 pm
@Anemone – Tyler makes a similar case in his book on how we treat those with autism. They do have strong gifts, especially in a digital world.
This is a topic that is still new to me and I will be exploring further.
Jun 20, 2012 — 5:46 pm
Hmmmm I am a 26
Since I am in sales I figured my score would be lower than that
Jun 20, 2012 — 6:19 pm
I scored an 8, not surprising! I’m terrible at remembering dates and noticing details… and have no engineers in my family haha
Jun 20, 2012 — 6:23 pm
Interesting. Thanks for sharing this! I had no idea what a test for Autism would look like.
Jun 20, 2012 — 11:48 pm
23, I can and will do chit-chat and even enjoy it for a while, but it has to be intentional on my side.
Jun 21, 2012 — 12:07 am
I got a lucky 13 score – but then this is what I do for a living: I’m a business relationship coach and a management psychologist.
Most people I work with in finance are about 3/4s of the way up the Asperger’s/Autism Spectrum.
For anyone who wants to be more successful in a social business environment, I encourage them to focus on learning how to say:
– Thank you
– I’m sorry
And once they can do that consistently, to work on saying those phrases as sincerely as possible and to do so even when under pressure and even if you don’t think you need to and/or you’re convinced you’re 100% in the right…
Jun 21, 2012 — 5:52 am
I got a 24,
Socially anxious, but a good talker. I think my problem is more knowing when to cut it off… Very interesting stuff. I only talk about stuff of substance though, the idle chit chat is horrible.
Jun 24, 2012 — 6:51 pm
25…but I don’t think this test is comprehensive enough or accurate enough to be meaningful. We all have autistic characteristics based on situation and context. Anywayz, have been reading TC’s blog marginalrevolution.com for years. He is a pretty interesting dude that is a bit of a polymath. Sometimes the depth is too much for some topics but its always interesting.
Jun 27, 2012 — 2:00 pm
I have a tendency to become obsessive in regards to how I organize the information I have on the Web. Every few months I’ll spend hours on end organizing my blog, my Facebook account, and my Flickr account. I’m sure that bumps me up on the autism spectrum somehow.
Anyway, thanks for the link — glad to hear you enjoyed my review too 🙂
Jul 3, 2012 — 4:00 pm
New to this site, but thank you for hosting it. Got a 30 on this test…interesting. Found this site because of the nutrition info, but really appreciate the other topics as well. 🙂
Jul 3, 2012 — 6:26 pm
@Renee – Welcome to the site. This autism stuff has really interested me. I expect there will be additional posts on the topic later this summer.