Those of you who didn’t like the flashing photos in the last two tests will be relieved to know that this week’s test is a series of multiple choice questions. The Personality and Emotion test at Test My Brain looks at three areas:
how frequently you experience negative emotions like fear, worry, anger, frustration, and self-consciousness
how sensory seeking you are
how much you enjoy social interaction
Their working hypothesis is that people who score higher on the second two will score lower on the first. In other words, if you enjoy sensory and/or social aspects of life, you are less likely to experience high levels of negative emotions. I like the inclusion of sensory elements in this test. I’m not “social seeking” but I’m highly sensory seeking. In fact, much of what I find enjoyable about life falls under the heading of sensory input. It’s nice to see that acknowledged as valid, alongside the more traditionally valued social interaction.
I want to talk some more about the individual sections when I share my scores, so let’s take the test first.
TAKING THE TEST
The test takes 10 to 15 minutes. To start, go to testmybrain.org and click on the Go! button next to the “Personality and Emotion” test.
You’ll be asked to make your browser window large. I kept mine the size I normally use and it worked fine. The next screen is a simplified informed consent form. You’ll be told what the research is being used for and asked to consent (agree). The next screen collects some anonymous demographic information.
Once you’ve entered your demographic info, you’ll begin the test. There are three questionnaires, that you’ll answer on a 5-point scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree:
24-question Emotions Questionnaire
30-question Physical Pleasure Questionnaire
40-question Social Pleasure Questionnaire
That’s it! On to the results . . .
SCORING THE TEST
Part 1: 24-question Emotions Questionnaire. My score was 41. The average score was 47.36. I scored in the 40th percentile, so slightly below average experiencing of negative emotions.
I’m really on the fence about how accurate that result is. Weirdly, I’m generally a pretty content person and yet I experience frustration and self-consciousness quite often. Not so much anger or fear. Probably an average or slightly below average amount of worry. I guess I don’t find happiness/contentment and some of these emotions to be mutually exclusive.
That, combined with how hard I found it to answer a lot of the questions in this section (because, you know, emotions), might be throwing off my results. Also, being autistic is basically going to skew the results of the social interaction questions because I’m probably answering more based on my autistic social preferences and tendencies than on my emotional states/traits.
Part 2: 30-question Physical Pleasure Questionnaire. I scored 95. The average score was 76.68. That put me in the 90th percentile.
Unlike the emotion questions, I had very strong feelings about all of these questions and rarely hesitated in answering. I’m very tuned in to my physical state of being. If I feel physically good, I’m a lot more likely to feel emotionally contented. Conversely, if I feel physically out of balance, I’m going to be emotionally out of whack too. I think if more nonautistic people understood this aspect of being autistic, there would be fewer misunderstandings about things like stimming and meltdowns and sensory sensitivities.Our bodies play a hugely important role in our emotional and mental contentment.
Also, possibly the best question ever: When I have seen a statue, I have had the urge to feel it. Yes, yes, yes! I walk through museums imagining what all of the sculptures and statues feel like.
Part 3: 40-question Social Pleasure Questionnaire. I scored 59. The average score was 93.75. That put me in the first percentile.
I’m not surprised at my little blue man being all the way over on the left, but I am surprised that I’m so far below average. I thought my answers were pretty socially positive. Well, for me at least. I think this questionnaire might fail to take into account the sort of people who have one or two close relationships and value them highly but have little need for social/friend interaction beyond that.
Are my results in line with the hypothesis? Kind of. I have below average experience of negative emotions and way above average sensory pleasure. However, I also have rock bottom social pleasure. Do the two extreme results in the “pleasure” categories cancel each other out? I have no idea. (I also suspect that results like mine may get discarded in the analysis phase as outliers).
THE BOTTOM LINE
Since autistic people tend to have atypical experiences of emotions, sensory input and social interaction, this test is a nice way to locate yourself on all three scales. It doesn’t take into account the atypical relationships that autistic people may have, but it does capture sensory experiences well and may be a good measure of emotional experience, assuming you are able to gauge your emotions accurately.
76 thoughts on “Taking the Personality and Emotion Test”
What fun!! 😀 My results:
Emotions: Your score was 68. The average score is 47.56. You scored higher than nine out of every ten people who took this test.
Physical Pleasure: Your score was 80. The average score is 76.67. You scored higher than five out of every ten people who took this test.
Social Pleasure: Your score was 78. The average score is 93.48. You scored higher than two out of every ten people who took this test.
I expected to score high on the Emotions part because I have depression and also suffer with frequent anxiety. I also expected to score high in the Physical Pleasure part but I guess my total score was affected by aversion to heights and physical touch along with other sensory issues. My Social Pleasure score was higher than I expected, and I agree with your suggestion that having a small number of close friends while not having much interest in socializing outside that could skew the result.
I think the emotions portion is meant to be a defacto measure of depression based on how they talked about it and the article they linked to in the summary results, so your high score makes sense in that context.
I decided to answer the one about looking over a fantastic view at a great height as being looking from a nice safe spot, far enough from the edge not to terrify me! If it had insisted I was standing on the edge then I’d have had a very different answer 🙂
For me it depends on what I’m standing on. I’ve stood on top of mountains and on top of the Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame in Paris and the view certainly is exhilarating, but I’ve also found myself unable to stand on a chair or approach the railings on an elevated walkway. It depends on how solid I believe what I’m standing on to be. Mountains are good and solid 😉 as are towers with solid stone parapets, but low or flimsy-looking railings scare the heck out of me!
My fear of heights is tied to compulsive thoughts about jumping so I’m okay if I’m in an enclosed space but terrified by open high places. Also, I’ve read that a lot of autistic people have a fear of heights that related to proprioceptive impairments/balance difficulties. Maybe that plays a role in your fear of unsteady heights? I know my balance is pretty terrible when it comes to standing on anything other than solid ground.
I suffer anxiety and vertigo when I don’t feel I’m on something solid. I think there’s a reasonable chance it’s proprioceptive impairment because I rely on vision to aid my balance.
Just had another thought: I wonder if it’s connected to the severe motion sickness I suffer when I’m traveling and can’t keep my eyes on something external such as the horizon?
Oh, that’s an interesting thought! I have the same problem. Just the thought of my husband sitting beside me busily emailing and reading on his phone while I drive makes me queasy.
I got 59 on the first one, 74 on the second one (hey, I’m remarkably average for once!) and a delightfully low 41 on the third. That third one doesn’t surprise me because I’m the most introverted person by far that I’ve ever met. I’d be happy as Larry if I got stranded on a desert island as long as it had electricity, a good shower, a flushing toilet and internet access. And obviously lots of supplies. People, nope, don’t need them.
The statue question made me laugh because I immediately thought of the statues of naked men and my reaction (I’m gay) was ‘noooooooo I don’t think so!’ so running to touch them wasn’t going to score highly!
What bothers me is when you could read the questions in more than one way – like the one about only feeling content with close friends – I’m only really content on my own (or with my animals), not with friends. But if I said no to that it sounds like I’m actually saying I’m content with anyone which is so not the case. I do wish people would be more accurate in their word choice!!
Good point about how a lot of the questions could be read more than one way. I especially felt like I was having that problem a lot on the social questionnaire and thought I was rounding up as Otterknot put it.
I got a negative thoughts 70 (average 47.57), physical pleasure 106 (average 76.67), and social pleasure 95 (average 93.42). That seems in line with my feeling that I’m more depressed than ASD (though I think ASD, or something similar, is still playing a role, particularly looking at my family background), but I do think I ’rounded up’ for the social quiz. A lot of “Neither agree nor disagree,” which usually means I’m not being totally honest with myself.
The physical pleasure one is very interesting! Almost everything on there sounded extremely pleasurable to me, with no hesitation. I’ve never thought of myself as physically-oriented, but maybe I should be paying more attention to keeping my surroundings properly hedonistic, and getting outdoors more often. (Now I have an excuse to buy the really nice sheets I covet.)
(I’m going to print out the physical part of that quiz and keep the questions around for self-soothing. If nothing else, just thinking of doing most of those things perked me up remarkably. What I would do if I didn’t have extremely soft, tolerant cats, I do not know.)
That’s a great idea! I liked the variety of physical sensations they included.
I had a lot of ‘neither agree nor disagree’ on the emotions questionnaire because I just couldn’t pin down an appropriate answer.
I’m certain I misunderstood a fair share of those. They needed a write-in box on the social one for “It’s complicated.”
It’s complicated should definitely be an option!
I love that idea!
Good idea that
Emotions Questionnaire – Your score was 62. 90th percentile. The average score is 47.57
Physical Pleasure Questionnaire – Your score was 89. 90th percentile. The average score is 76.65
Social Pleasure Questionnaire – Your score was 96. 60th percentile. The average score is 93.39
Not surprised by the emotional test result – I suffer depression and anxiety for many many years now.
I hadn’t realised those ‘physical pleasures’ weren’t enjoyed by all!
I have to agree with others comments regarding only needing one or 2 close friends but having little interest in lots of acquantances.
I have a feeling we’re going to really goof up their results. You scored above average in all three and you’re not the only one.
Yep, that we are; )
My score was 50 for emotions. The average score is 47.57.
My score for physical pleasure was was 84. The average score is 76.65. I hate long walks but that is because I have very bad Fibromyalgia…I feel some of these questions should have had alternative answers to click. And handshakes? Ew- germs and unnecessary social contact! Awkward:) The test was not too accurate I felt.
And my score for social interaction was 86. The average score is 93.39. This one was tricky because I answered according to my relationship with my husband, best friend and two other close friends…everyone else I would have answered differently to the questions…so if it was to people in general I would have scored in less than 1% but as it is I scored way higher because I thought of my best possible relationships. So in that regard I do not think it was a well thought out test and should have been more specific. Also, I feel there should have been a “sometimes” answer on many questions.
It’s interesting how there are other things entering into the answers for each of us–your Fibromyalgia, Alex’s aversion to heights. I wonder if that’s the case for everyone and those differences “come out in the wash” when the responses are aggregated for analysis.
I mostly answered the social questions based on the few people that I’m closest to too and expected to score higher than I did.
Emotions Questionnaire – Your score was 70. The average score is 47.57
Physical Pleasure Questionnaire – Your score was 90. The average score is 76.65
Social Questionnaire – Your score was 64. The average score is 93.39
I have a perfectionism problem, that pretty much drives my negative emotions and worry.
For what it’s worth, I’ll throw my hat into the ring and volunteer that I got a 26 on the Emotions section, a 95 on the Physical Pleasure section, and a 123 on the Social Pleasure section. Probably the last result surprised me most; but I don’t think the questions were good at accommodating someone who deeply enjoys and needs solitude and also deeply enjoys and needs close friends / significant others. The questions about solitude too much evoked for me almost a kind of misanthropy or isolationism. Where I didn’t like the question, I chose the neutral answer. I’m certainly the furthest thing from a social butterfly. I would’ve expected the soaring tally to be in the area of physical pleasure. I’ll have to spend a little more time being tactile, I guess!
I tried to overlook the implied meaning on some of the social questions, but you’re right, these types of questionnaires often lack neutral wording.
That makes sense. Perfectionism can cause some really intense feelings of not measuring up.
Emotions: 59 (higher than 7 out of ten)
I have diagnoses for social anxiety, ocd, and panic disorder as well as a history of depression. I thought a few of the questions were a bit ambiguous, so this score could have easily been higher for me.
Physical Pleasure: 103 (higher than nine out of ten)
Yaay! Hiking, backpacking, whitewater canoeing – can even override my problems with anxiety. I have a strong fear of heights, but climbing and rappelling have been interests of mine since I was a teenager. I’d put my love for music and the visual arts into this catagory too.
Social Pleasure: 69 (higher than one out of ten)
I have that pattern of a few close relationships that I value. It only seems to work for me when there are shared interests to act as a bridge.
I admire you for being brave enough to enjoy climbing and rappelling even though you have a fear of heights. I would love to try climbing but my fear of heights is overpowering.
Emotions- 50, average 47.57, higher than 5/10
Physical- 82, average 76.66, higher than 6/10
Social- 85, average 93.38, hicher than 3/10
Anxiety and general alexithymia account for most of the negative feelings, I think, although I’ve been feeling rather worse than usual lately.
Definitely agree with Kmarie that the other parts might not have been well thought out. I felt like I was answering at both extremes depending on the question, because some sensations I actively seek while others I actively avoid. Similarly, there are a handful of close friends whom I’ll actively seek out for interaction, while everyone else I’ll avoid as best I can.
I felt like I was answering at both extremes on the social and emotions questions–both of which I also struggled a bit with. For the physical questions, I had clear answers and felt like my answers were more consistent. That’s really interesting.
For emotional I got 80th percentile and for social I got 20th. Emotional makes plenty of sense to me, and I think the social one makes sense considering the whole “I don’t like people generally but I love love love the people I’m very close to” thing.
BUT I got higher than 0/10 people on physical pleasure, which, confuses me. A lot. I mean, I admit I’m super afraid of most food. But everything else is very context dependent and an extreme one way or the other – I figured it would sort of balance out. Like, I don’t enjoy walks or traditional exercise, but I love feeling my muscles move and deep pressure. I hate nature and I can’t touch plants at all, but I would go crazy at a museum filled with statues and wall-to-wall plush carpeting. Meh. Sensory processing disorder at its finest I guess.
I wonder if the questions are weighted? It does seem like being at both extremes would result in an at least average score if the rating scale was simply based on positive point values.
Not surprised by results!
Emotions Questionnaire – 59; scored higher than 7 out of every 10 people who took the test. Growing up my emotions were usually “neutral, neutral, neutral, sad, anxious, neutral, neutral, neutral, neutral, angry, neutral, neutral neutral” and so on. I don’t usually feel genuine happiness, even when someone gives me presents.
Physical Pleasure Questionnaire – A lot of this makes sense to me too. My score was 86; higher than 7 out of every 10 people who took the test.
Social Pleasure Questionnaire – I scored a 63, higher than zero out of every ten people who took this test: I don’t put as much value on friendships even though I do have friends although to be honest I would LOVE to have someone go exploring with me! (Even if we’re really just exploring a place we’ve already been to, like a university or a mall. XD)
I think I’m getting more tuned in to happiness, but generally I more often feel content than happy. And yeah, presents don’t usually make happy either. I’ve always felt guilty about that.
Apparently I scored high in everything.
I probably should have scored higher on the negative emotions things, except that I was being a bit conservative with my answers. I wasn’t sure what kind of scale they were really working with for honesty until the second set of questions (It’s really hard to judge, do they mean in a constant state of worry all the time to the extreme? Because if this is a test made for people with extreme worries then I’m not quite that bad… Or is this a test made for normal people? In which case I’m way closer to that than I am to normal.)
Emotions: Your score was 52. The average score is 47.56
You scored higher than six out of every ten people who took this test
Physical Pleasure: Your score was 87. The average score is 76.66:
You scored higher than seven out of every ten people who took this test
Social Pleasure: Your score was 94. The average score is 93.39
You scored higher than four out of every ten people who took this test
That last one I’m a little surprised about, I thought I’d score a lot lower, given I’m not a very social person. I, like you, have a few close friends that I can really enjoy being around… But I mostly enjoy being solitary with the exception of my husband.
** Correction for wording. I means “Higher than I expected” in everything.
It’s so interesting to see what our results are like versus what we expected. I was really surprised by how low my social score was because I thought I was answering conservatively.
I know! I think it’s partially because the wording is so ambiguous, in their ‘comments and suggestions’ I told them that I would have liked to have a separate option for ‘sometimes’ versus for apathy. Because I only sometimes want to see the people I really love to be around, sure I enjoy it when I do, but most of the time I don’t want to see them at all.
Where as I was indifferent to firm handshakes. (Don’t have any special fondness for them, and also don’t oppose them)
Yes, the handshake thing! I prefer not shaking hands at all; but if hands need to be shook, then I’d like them to be very firm. The question was worded in such a way that I felt “disagree” would mean that I like soft, gentle handshakes.
Yes! That is an excellent example.
There were several questions where for those exact reasons I wasn’t sure how to answer, because even if I didn’t like something often, disagreeing made it sound like I never would enjoy it, which wouldn’t be accurate. Maybe it’s the literal-mindedness, but I dislike being unclear, especially on things which contribute to other peoples knowledge through statistical data.
Exactly! I don’t go overboard for a good firm handshake but I detest soft limp handshakes.
I read it the same way. Limp handshakes make me uncomfortable because I’m a firm handshaker by default and end up feeling like I’ve crushed the other person’s hand if they don’t give a firm squeeze back.
Emotions: Your score was 43. The average score is 47.56.
Physical Pleasure: Your score was 113 [!!!]. The average score is 76.67
Social Pleasure: Your score was 78. The average score is 93.35.
Always knew I’m a pure new pleasure seeker. Funny to see it confirmed. 😀
The social score seems to fit with being an extroverted Aspie. Love being with people, but it’s still exhausting because of the social challenges. And I’m pretty content with my life, but I do feel stressed out often, so the negative emotions score seems spot on as well.
I’d thought the top possible score was 100, but I see a few people have gone way above 100 on the physical pleasure score. I think that has to be one of the most awesome things about being autistic – the ability to appreciate certain physical experiences in the extreme.
Definitely! It’s also funny how I am both sensory avoidant and sensory seeking in nearly all of my senses. Like how I am incredibly sensitive to noises like engines, car alarms or even the high tone of the TV on standby – drives me nuts. But on the other hand I love the sound of rain on the roof and organ music (like mentioned in the questionnaire). Same with taste, touch, sight, smell, and proprioception. I have both intense avoidance and intense seeking in all of them.
Similar here: some sounds trigger my anxiety, rain on the roof being one (get that at work when it rains heavily and I have to crank up the volume on my headphones). But I also love to experience thunderstorms and I love organ music (especially Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor). Tactile sensations: I avoid contact with people except for hugs. I love the feeling of certain textures such as fur or silk but detest others; there’s not much pattern to it.
69, 38 and 52, respectively. Somewhat expected, what with multiple disabilities and things… but then again, I do have a really hard time with questionnaires.
Thanks for sourcing another TTT!
Emotions Questionnaire – Your score was 72. The average score is 47.56: Anger, frustration and irritation check. But alongside this comes intense joy and exhilaration too, which didn’t seem to be part of the test…
Physical Pleasure Questionnaire – Your score was 80. The average score is 76.65: This was asking questions about physical contact with others, which on the hole I don’t enjoy (a back massage for example) I reckon my score could be much higher if social/physical contact wasn’t included.
Social Pleasure Questionnaire – Your score was 56. The average score is 93.3: Woah! What a surprise that was! 😉
It was disappointing that they didn’t measure pleasurable feelings because often we experience both types of feelings at the extremes. I guess this test was focused solely on depression related symptoms. Although it could also be argued that experiencing a lot of anger, frustration and irritation isn’t necessarily related (or only related) to depression, especially for autistic people.
Emotions 57, physical pleasure 107, social pleasure 63. Not surprised. I found the social and emotional parts difficult to answer based on what people above have mentioned. I am very close to my husband, kids, brother, mum, and best friend but I don’t socialize much otherwise and when I do I find it interesting or exhausting rather than pleasurable. I already knew that I was sensory seeking.
Guess that I should add that there are some sensory experiences that I passionately avoid especially around food, smells, and certain noises but generally I love *pleasurable to me* sensory input.
Emotions: 23; average 47.56; higher than 0/10
Physical: 61: average 76.67, higher than 1/10
Social: 63, average 93.35, higher than 0/10
Yikes! The results would seem to be contrary to expectations.
I agree with result of the Emotions Questionnaire. I have a very positive view of things and I can only think of 2 occasions when I’ve felt really angry. And one of those was over 50 years ago. I didn’t have any problem in choosing an answer.
I found the Physical Pleasure Questionnaire very difficult to answer and it took the longest time. I gave a neutral answer to all the questions I couldn’t work out the context. I have problems with terms such as “seldom”, “sometimes”, “often” and “always”. When does “seldom” become “sometimes”, and when does “sometimes” become “often”, and when does “often” become “always”? Apart from “never” (which is absolutely unambiguous), I find it perplexing. To me these are relative and overlapping terms. They need to have comparisons to make any sense. I have to know what is “often” and what is “sometimes”. Give me a number, frequency, a comparison to something else so I can use something to measure against.
Also some of the questions were ambiguous. for example: “The bright lights of a city are exciting to look at”. It all depends on where I am. If I’m in or under the bright lights I really dislike them. On the other hand, When I’m at a distance from them, they are delightful to observe. As I don’t know which circumstance the question is referring to, I have no idea how I should answer.
I was a little surprised by the result of the Social Pleasure Questionnaire. I wasn’t sure whether I should answer the questions in terms of those who are near and dear to me, or whether it should be people in general. In the end I went for the latter, except where I felt the statement clearly referred to those very close to me, such as “Although I know I should have affection for certain people, I don’t really feel it.”
In summary, I found I was wanting to answer “It depends on the circumstances” to many of the statements in the questionnaires. As I have no way of knowing what circumstances the researcher was thinking of when the statement was framed, I simply have know idea how I should answer.
Emotions Questionnaire – Your score was 56. The average score is 47.56: You scored higher than seven out of every ten people who took this test:
Physical Pleasure Questionnaire – Your score was 106. The average score is 76.66: You scored higher than nine out of every ten people who took this test:
Social Pleasure Questionnaire – Your score was 93. The average score is 93.29: You scored higher than four out of every ten people who took this test:
The physical pleasure part of this test was easiest for me, and as some others have said, nice just to think about. A good retreat from those negative emotions and social interactions :P. I already indulge a fair amount but should probably do more. I’m surprised the average was so low though… I would think most people would find many of these things pleasurable. (Handshakes… no. Furry soft things, yes. I like to try new foods more now than when I was younger, perhaps because I have more input into the new foods and an idea of what I will like. When I was younger, the “new” foods were generally not things I chose, but things imposed on me :P).
Emotions: I have a hard time deciding if this is accurate or not. The problem for me I guess, is though I have a lot of lows, I also have a lot of highs. I’ve always felt this was kind of the tradeoff of the extreme good feelings… feeling the bad feelings intensely as well. I think I actually tend to be more positive and stress less in general than most people I know, but I also get overwhelmed much more easily.
The social part was the hardest for me. I felt I was sort of guessing a lot of the time because I feel very differently depending on WHO the people I’m interacting with are… if they are people I am very close to or people who I know but I don’t really care about :P. Or people I want to be close to, but am not that close to. And then there are other people that don’t seem to bother me as much even though I don’t know them very well. There’s also the fact that while I would dearly love to be able to be happy living in that cabin in a hilltop in the middle of a forest or whatever the example was, I have come to accept the fact that for some strange reason I need other people and care strongly about SOME of them, for undetermined reasons. But, also that doesn’t mean that they aren’t sometime exhausting too… it was hard to answer this part and I’m surprised I scored so close to average. I feel like compared to the average person I know, I need much closer friendships, and far fewer (or no) “acquaintanceships” than most people seem to want.
Emotion: Your score was 42. The average score is 47.56. You scored higher than three out of every ten people who took this test.
Physical pleasure: Your score was 91. The average score is 76.65. You scored higher than eight out of every ten people who took this test.
Social Pleasure: Your score was 69. The average score is 93.21. You scored higher than one out of every ten people who took this test.
Pretty much what I expected. I agree that the first one was kind of hard…those emotions aren’t always mutually exclusive, and although I generally am pretty chill and easy going, and I don’t get my feathers ruffled terribly often, when I do, it’s BAD. I feel like even though I experience these types of emotions about average with other people, I feel like it’s always so much worse when I do, and always harder to recover from. Loved the physical sensation one. It was so funny how almost all of the questions were things that I get absolutely euphoric about doing. Hehe. But I also feel that I’m sensory avoidant to the same extreme, just with different things. Social, also not surprising. I do connect deeply with people, but only with very specific people, and I still only want to be with them for a short amount of time. I care for people deeply, but I get worn out very easily.
Continuing to love Take a Test Tuesday. 😀
I scored over a 100 on social. ;D
Emotional: 65 vs. avg 47.56. >8/10
Physical: 88 vs. avg 76.64 >7/10
Social: 116 vs. avg 93.16 >8/10
Now, I don’t think this is too accurate since the dominant mood of the questions definitely tugged my answer in one direction or the other. It’s true that I have a higher than average rate of negative emotions, but I also have a high rate of positive emotions, only the questions got me focusing on the negative and dragged all my answers that way. Same for exaggerating how much I value friendship on the social one.
One interesting thing that I hadn’t quite realized though always was aware of: I have exceedingly strong abstract/ideal/conceptual value on friendship and people, but in reality I often flounder trying to connect. I’ve been sad at OTHER PEOPLE’S high school friend groups falling apart, but in high school I never really managed to have a friend group. And when it comes to listening and empathizing with my friends, I try feeling their emotions and absorbing their attitudes/thoughts, because that’s what I think a good person should do, but it’s a fight because my own thoughts and emotions are often going off in tangential directions or running back and forth over whatever was already on my mind. I end up interrupting a lot, for example, and then verbally circling back and telling them to continue talking, often reprimanding myself for the interruption. Note that I did better than 0 out of 10 people on the mountain/city test, and it was a failure of cognitive inhibition, not concentration or ability to identify the scenes–I have the same issue with talking to people, often speaking in kind of a disordered stream of consciousness and unable to “get all of my brain pointed in the same direction” as I tend to put such problems to myself.
Have you ever taken this test? http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp I got INFJ (counselor) which is a bit of a surprise – confidence in the ability to read people? Huh. (But the rest fits somewhat.)
I have, multiple times. 🙂 I’m an INTJ, which seems to mostly fit when I read the various descriptions of it online.
I’ve taken so many Myers-Briggs / Jung personality type tests that I’ve lost count, and I *always* get a different result. One of the few problems I’ve identified is my extroversion coupled with my autistic tendencies, which depending on the test will land me square into introversion territory. Even though I’m not introverted. It’s just that my social communication impairments wear me out. But my autistic traits seem to spill over into Sensing/Intuitive, Thinking/Feeling and Perceiving/Judging territory as well. It’s completely unpredictable for me. I’ve actually been thinking about doing a post on that for some time now, how the standard definitions of those personality types don’t really work if you have a different type of neurology.
I also usually come out as INTJ on these. This time I took it and got:
Introvert(56%) iNtuitive(12%) Thinking(50%) Judging(78%)
Being me I went back and tried changing single answers that were possibly ambiguous and found that changing just 1 answer would change the N to an S (for Sensing), but the other letters seem relatively stable.
I should do that test for introversion where you measure saliva production – that theory has introversion simply be a sensory thing, how easily stimulated you are – by that measure I probably am an introvert rather than an extravert, but I certainly perceive myself as needing to be around people and know from experience that I start getting low level depressed if I don’t get time with friends. ‘Introversion’ is a pretty flawed idea really, I don’t think it’s as simple a binary concept as is usually implied.
Negative Emotions – 41, average 47.55, higher than 3 out of every 10.
Physical pleasure – 82, average 76.58, higher than 6 out of every 10.
Social pleasure – 94, average 92.85, higher than 4 out of every 10.
Physical pleasure; in some cases sensory issues meant that I wouldn’t seek the types of sensations they were describing. Like I will huff on fruit teabags I like but would generally avoid flowers. I generally seek out activities that I find physically pleasurable a lot, and an generally indulging my senses in some way.
Social pleasure; I’m an extrovert and like doing things with other people and feel lonely if I don’t get to spend time with friends a few times a week. However I get overwhelmed by unstructured social situations if they’re more than one-on-one, and my friends are mostly also on the autistic spectrum (or turned out to be after I became friends with them), and even then sensory issues can cause problems. But I love things like board game evenings and go to a number of social groups, but very much like to live alone and have a lot of alone time. In the past I lived with other people but felt very social isolated and unhappy, so I guess it’s good that I’m feeling much more balanced and contented since my diagnosis 🙂
I was pleased to generally come out as average, or on the positive side of average for everything on this one, because I generally feel like I’ve sorted myself out and am generally happy and contented these days (although I note that all of us doing these tests has seemingly pushed down the average since the original posts!)
I feel like I should be sending letters of apology to the creators of all of these nonautism tests for skewing their results. 😀
It’s great to hear that you’re feeling so good these days. I think I can say the same (except for some brain weirdness that’s bumming me out). Since getting diagnosed, I’m feeling probably the best I’ve ever felt about myself in terms of self-image. Kind nice, ain’t it?
Yes, absolutely 🙂
Regarding your brain weirdness, I keep meaning to ask if you’ve read the long article in the archives at Autistics.org on reasons why someone might get ‘more autistic’:
I know that fatigue and tiredness have a massively exaggerated effect on me; I lose the ability to communicate coherently, struggle more with multitasking, make a lot more mistakes and don’t notice etc, so by extension I think a minor reduction in my cognitive capacities due to all sorts of possible factors would have a large effect on how autistic I seemed. Certainly when I was chronically ill in my early 20s I was seriously struggling to function in life.
Someone at Autscape was talking to me about autistic burnout and catatonia and how common it is but very rarely talked about. I wonder how much fatigue or ageing can have similar ‘regression’ style effects but not be recognised as such. I know my diagnostic reports make a point of saying how much my understanding of idioms and other non-verbal cues are not natural to me but take intellectual effort than can be cognitively demanding and tiring if sustained.
This year’s Autscape theme is ‘Autism Through The Lifespan’ and I’m hoping there’ll be more talk of how ageing interacts with spectrum traits. I swear my older family members are now attributing things that they done for as long as I’ve known them to ageing, almost all of them SpLD, dyspraxia or autistic traits that I have myself. I have no idea if they’re actually happening more or they’re just noticing them more often (or quite possibly some combination of the two).
(Oh and I know I keep saying this but all your missing words and messing up words issues in speech and writing are common dyslexia / SpLD traits, and that might be a useful place to direct your research extra to just autism resources – SpLDs overlap hugely with the autistic spectrum and there’s a lot of useful information to be found by reading about research and copying strategies related to them).
See page 10 in this, for example:
Click to access universityanddyslexia.pdf
I’ve looked at the symptoms of dyslexia and there are a lot that fit but there are also some that I don’t experience at all and in fact I feel like until recently I experienced the opposite of, if that makes sense (I’ve always been a very fast reader and I think I’m a fundamentally clear writer, expect not so much lately). Is it possible to develop dyslexia this late in life? I was under the impression that it was like autism, something that someone has pretty much throughout their life span.
I definitely think this is some sort of reduction in cognitive capacity due to age or hormones/menopause. It doesn’t seem to be stress-related as I can’t tie good/bad days to how stressed I’m feeling or how demanding life is. It also isn’t tied to how sharp/fatigued I’m feeling because some days I feel really mentally sharp and energetic but my language abilities are surprisingly bad. And I say surprisingly in a literal way – I’m quite sure that whatever I’m going to write or say will come out fine and the mess that does come out is entirely unexpected.
The most frustrating thing these days is that I’m losing the ability to understand the subtext of language and to express subtext/non-literal language. Language has very little feeling to me now (whereas before words had very definite shapes and I wrote by feel as much as by an intellectual process). I differentiate between synonyms much less than I used to and often can’t come up with the right word, even though I have a vague feeling that I know there is a word that means what I want to say and it has a very specific shape in my head–but it’s not immediately retrievable, like it’s covered with a blanket. Argh, this sounds weird, even to me.
Some days I’ll say to my husband “I don’t know what you’re talking about” a half dozen or more times and I don’t get his meaning until he simplifies or gives me added context. My ability to express myself seems to be getting reduced more and more to literal and straightforward language. (so definitely “more autistic”) Also, my reading comprehension for complex conceptual content is impaired and I get so easily fatigued when reading or writing. It’s incredibly frustrating because I’ve always been the type of reader who will finish an entire book in one or two long sittings.
I’ve been consistently reducing the demands on my language processing and my cognitive function in general but I feel like I’m just staying one step ahead of a speeding train at this point. I’m down to doing a small fraction of what I was capable of a year ago and even that is exhausting. Sorry, I’m rambling in the extreme. I’m going to take your advice and look into SpLD literature to see what looks helpful.
Labels like ‘dyslexia’ are increasingly considered harmful and misleading because specific learning differences are as varied a spectrum as autism but the individual labels have very strong stereotypes. People are more likely to be diagnosed with a generic SpLD label and a set of traits; an individual ‘spiky’ cognitive profile of strengths and challenges. This includes all the traits within executive function, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and dyslexia, which can all co-exist within one individual. Traits can be the opposite extreme to the stereotype for a particular label, for example some people with SpLDs can be hyperlexic or have impressively fast reading speeds, while having impairments in memory, numbers, executive function and/or non-verbal reasoning.
Whether you can develop SpLD traits later in life? You can definitely lose cognitive abilities that were compensating for or masking your traits and get them move obviously. Personally I rely heavily on brute force verbal reasoning and effortful attempts to keep lots of important things in my very fragile working memory, and to maintain concentration. These things take a lot of effort and the more socially exhausted or sensory overloaded I am, the more likely I’ll start forgetting words, saying completely wrong words, missing out words, or losing social context to the point where I can’t follow conversations. When I had low level chronic fatigue and a degree of permanent ‘brain fog’ all those things were constant and I really struggled to function.
The ‘covered by a blanket’ thing you describe is incredibly familiar to me, in fact just about everything you’ve described sounds like how I am when I get fatigued or overloaded. All the missing words or parts of words and substituted words I’ve seen you talk about or do are just the kinds of errors I find when proof reading myself, so feel like a SpLD thing to me (although I obviously also have Asperger’s, I understand these are being very common to dyslexia due to going to DANDA events). Not being able to remember words is a kind of expressive aphasia or dysphasia – a developmental kind rather than being acquired by brain damage – a very specific kind of memory.
Last time I complained about my SpLD trait of mixing up two opposite or paired options without noticing when tired (very common in dyslexia and related conditions) someone on Twitter responded asking if I had some other dyslexia traits associated with tiredness: “verbal dysfuency and a nervous clutter; Mid sentence speech breaks down esp if there are r’s and l’s in the middle. And going ummm alot.” This was very familiar to me and triggered me to do lots of interesting Googling that I sadly don’t seem to have bookmarked.
For essay writing, I rely really heavily on my visual-spacial memory to hold the ‘shape’ of what I want to say in my head and compensate for how poor my working memory is otherwise and my tendency to fixate on details and be far too verbose (I was actually used in a friend’s thesis on how visual cognitive styles could compensate for dyslexia traits). If my memory was impacted so I was unable to do that any more, I think I’d also suddenly look a lot more stereotypically SpLD, even if it was a relatively small reduction in my thinking capacity.
I know that hormonal changes can have a huge affect on perceptual abilities as I have transgender friends who lost the ability to understand an electrical circuit just by looking at it after starting HRT, and others who lost most of their dyspraxic perceptual impairments after starting testosterone. (I made this connection when I found myself also talking about ‘shape’ just now).
I’ve also seen research that suggests that autistic brains route all sorts of reasoning through parts of the brain that are usually used for something else – such as using the visual parts of the brain for verbal reasoning. I wonder if reductions in capacity of these areas could therefore have an exaggerated effect on functioning?
I haven’t looked into SpLD books for years, but I’d definitely recommend That’s The Way I Think by David Grant as a good one that looks as them all as overlapping conditions in one spectrum http://www.amazon.com/Thats-Way-Think-Dyspraxia-Explained/dp/0415564646
Oh and I’d recommend getting a full cognitive profile and SpLD assessment including the WAIS. I recall that you already had one of these with your Asperger’s assessment, so you should be able to compare to see what if anything has got worse, which would be very useful quantitive information. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s some combination of memory (of some type), concentration and/or non-verbal reasoning that’s disrupting a previous coping strategy (or several of them) causing an exaggerated effect. (I also wonder if you have ADHD traits but put such a concerted hyperfocused effort into ‘passing’ that test during your assessment so that you managed to mask it).
(Sorry for the long post full of so many ideas, most of which are entirely speculative and scattershot. I hope it’s vaguely useful or interesting anyway. I’ve hyperfocused on this and stayed up 90 minutes after I meant to go to bed ~_~).
Random extra thought, have you considered having a sleep study? I know people with undiagnosed sleep apnea who were having all sorts of unexplained cognitive issues before it was finally identified as a problem. There’s some compelling evidence that long term sleep problems can cause significant impacts on concentration and other executive functioning:
Some vitamin or mineral deficiencies or other non-menopause-related hormones like thyroid and parathyroid issues can also have cognitive effects, so it might be worth asking your doctor for a more in depth set of blood tests if you haven’t had that already.
As previously discussed, relatively small changes in capacity can derail autistic and SpLD coping strategies and have an exaggerated effect.
(Again, sorry if my scattershot stream of possible suspects is not welcome or is causing you more worries, I’m suggesting things because I care and want to help and it’s what I’d like people to do in similar circumstances).
Stalker popping in again to say yes, if you (general, anyone reading this) ever notice big changes in your coping ability, do get your thyroid checked out! I had a breakdown in February (a very serious one, the worst I’ve ever had, properly suicidal), and the ER discovered that I was hyperthyroid and had a ‘hot’ nodule (a rogue part of the thyroid constantly producing T3 or T4, which it should not be doing). I had probably had it for at least a few years, and wonky thyroid levels can severely mess with mood and fight-and-flight responses. So I’m going to be radioactive this weekend, which ought to kill the nodule. No idea yet what having it out of the way will do to my coping levels, but I’m excited!
Yes it’s very very worth doing and easily tested. I hope your treatment goes well and is helpful!
Parathyroid is something else entirely (regulates calcium) that’s not usually tested for in standard blood tests that would include thyroid hormones. Excessive calcium has cognitive effects including concentration and memory, also serious long term health problems if it’s not spotted:
Oh wow, that sounds frightening! I’m glad you found out what the problem was and are getting it zapped. Good luck with the procedure and the recovery. Hopefully you’ll see a big change once it’s taken care of.
That sleep article is really interesting. My sleep patterns are a mess and always have been, though the melatonin has helped a lot over the past year.
And it’s awesome that you’re throwing out so many ideas. Thank you for that. It gives me all sorts of directions for reading and thinking. Mostly I’m at the point where I’d love to find some workarounds beyond “do less” and “don’t worry” which is the main advice I’m getting. 🙂
The sleep disorders like sleep apnea can be particularly bad because they stop you from getting any deep sleep, so even when you’re not lying awake all night with insomnia, you’re actually chronically sleep deprived.
I wonder if there are ways to monitor sleep quality without undergoing a full on sleep study.
And I’m glad to hear that my scattershot helpfulness is actually helpful and not overwhelming or worrying 🙂
I’m sorry this kept you up so late! But thank you, it’s all really helpful stuff to think about. I’m the process of moving but once I get settled I’m planning to make a doctor’s appointment to specifically get my hormones tested. I’ve been reading a lot about testosterone and what you say about the drastic cognitive changes associated with changes in T levels makes a lot of sense. I’m having some other physical symptoms that seem to point in that direction as well.
I’ve had my thyroid tested multiple times, but not recently, though it’s always been within normal ranges. I’m sure that will come up again when I explain everything to the doctor. Once I see what my hormone levels are like (and if they’re especially low, I’d consider that a very good explanation) I’ll decide where to go from there. Probably a neurological workup of some sort is in order and I think I would really benefit from seeing a speech therapist to help me develop some concrete strategies to get through this (assuming it’s a short term thing) with a bit less frustration.
I don’t think ADHD fits me. I’ve spent the last 26 years living with 2 people who do have ADHD (in slightly different forms) and we’re night and day when it comes to EF issues and such. It just doesn’t ping for me the way autism did. But clearly something has been derailed over the past 18 months–either I’m losing coping skills or my cognitive function is eroding due to physical changes or both. The steady progressive decline is frustrating and a bit scary. The menopause symptoms have leveled off a bit in the past two months (no more night sweats, I’m sleeping better, the fatigue is less persistent) but with that I’ve seen another big leap backwards in language processing after feeling like I’d plateaued for a few months.
Also, thank you for the link to that long article. I’ve bookmarked it for reading. I’m familiar with some of the causes of regression/burnout but I see from glancing at the headlines that there is some new-to-me information there.
I would love to hear about anything you learn about aging at Autscape or any written material that might come out of the sessions. It’s so underdocumented.
I think there are sleep-monitoring bracelets and possibly some smartphone apps that claim to measure sleep cycles. I’ve never tried them, so I have no idea if they work.
I had one and wore it for about a month (then wrote a post about it!). It showed general sleep/wake patterns, which was helpful. Not as detailed as a true sleep study that monitors different types of sleep, but it did demonstrate that I spend about 20% of the time in bed each night not sleeping. 🙂
I agree on the emotions part being a measure for stuff like depression, etc… especially because of the high score I got. (Your score was 77. The average score is 47.55. You scored higher than nine out of every ten people who took this test.) I have suffered from depression, anxiety, and mood swings for a looong time now.
The others were… interesting. I was surprised that my physical pleasure score was distinctly average, as I have touch aversion and such. (Your score was 76. The average score is 76.54. You scored higher than four out of every ten people who took this test.)
The social pleasure one DID surprise me a lot. I did not expect my score to be this high. (Your score was 113. The average score is 92.5. You scored higher than eight out of every ten people who took this test.) However, I believe the tradeoff comes in that when social interaction goes badly, or what I perceive to be badly, I feel much more negatively about it than I imagine a “normal” person would.