Taking the Aspergers Quiz

I discovered a new Aspergers quiz that wasn’t around (AFAIK) when I did the original Take a Test Tuesday series. At first I was excited because it says that it was created by an MD who is on the spectrum and the range and wording of the questions looked good at first glance.

Unfortunately, that’s about all there is to like about it. I’m hesitant to link to the site because of the way it talks about Aspergers. Lots of pathologizing language and functioning labels and pandering to the search engines along with some blatant misinformation. It’s also visually overwhelming and loaded with ads.

Consider yourself forewarned if you want to check it out anyway.

The Aspergers Quiz

The Aspergers Quiz website says that the quiz was created by Dr. Logan Cook from the University of Michigan. My Google-fu failed to turn up any further information about Dr. Cook or any research the quiz might have been based on, so I’m assuming that it’s based solely on the creator’s anecdotal evidence or personal experience. If that’s the case, it’s the only AS “screening” quiz that I’ve reviewed here that isn’t based on any sort of statistical analysis at all.

The site states upfront that it’s an informational quiz and not diagnostic, which is good. But it also presents the results in terms of a “percentage chance you might have Asperger’s”, which in the absence of any underlying statistical testing, is completely baseless. Answering a screening quiz 75% positive is totally different from having a 75% chance of having a condition. It’s great that there’s a disclaimer at the top of the page, but giving a specific percentage result at the end of quiz without disclosing how that percentage was arrived at is irresponsible. 

Having said that, I actually liked the wording of many of the questions and the range of topics that the questions cover. I don’t feel like there is the level of gender bias that we’ve seen in other screening instruments. The questions cover physical as well as social and emotional traits. There isn’t much emphasis on sensory traits, but it does cover some things that tend to be omitted from other quizzes, like sleep difficulties. However, the limited range of answer choices (yes/no/don’t know) often made the questions hard to answer accurately.

Pros and Cons of The Aspergers Quiz

Pros

  • Created by a person who is on the spectrum

  • Short (21 questions)

  • Questions are mostly neutrally worded, free of gender bias

  • Anonymous, no personal information collected

 

Cons

  • No research or statistical basis of results

  • Gives a single numeric result with no explanation of what that number means or how it was derived

  • Doesn’t work in Chrome or Firefox

  • Formatting is broken and website is visually cluttered, making the test hard to follow

  • Excessive number of advertisements on the site

  • The test uses check boxes instead of radio boxes, which allows for multiple conflicting answers to each question

  • The use of yes, no and I don’t know as the only answer choices makes the questions hard to answer accurately in some cases

  • Background information provided by the site is a mix of helpful information, ableist stereotypes and misinformation

  • Presentation of results is ethically irresponsible

  • Lack of background information about how the quiz was created or what the rationale is for the choice of questions

 Taking the Aspergers Quiz

I’ve pulled the links to the quiz, but you could find it by googling if you want to. I had to use Internet Explorer to get it to work. Using Chrome (Win8) resulted in bunch of code being displayed instead of the test result on the final page. (Alex confirmed that it doesn’t work in Firefox either.)  The questions are divided into 3 categories: social, life skills and physical. However, the programming of the site seems to be flawed, so the questions appear under the wrong headings and the fourth page of the quiz is blank. I just hit continue on the fourth page and it took me to the results page.

SCORING THE TEST

I got “Based on your answers, there is a 76.2% chance that you have Asperger’s Syndrome.” The outcome is obviously accurate if “a 76.2% chance” is implying that I’m more likely on the spectrum than not, based on my answers. However, I have serious reservations about the use of a percentage-based figure, given the lack of supporting research or documentation.

THE BOTTOM LINE

There are better options available when it comes to online AS quizzes (for example, The Aspie Quiz). While the results of this quiz are probably going to be in the right ballpark–more likely to be on the spectrum if you get a larger percentage result–the way they’re presented is flawed and not very useful. Most people who are taking online AS quizzes are doing it because they seriously suspect that they might be autistic. Presenting a quiz solely for entertainment does them a disservice and undermines the seriousness of that early exploration process.

42 thoughts on “Taking the Aspergers Quiz”

      1. I hope you mean that literally. Kitty rescue go!

        And man, I thought I’d go ahead and give this a shot, but I only got through the first seven questions before I gave up in annoyance and disgust. Such a shame.

        1. Nattily! What would “rescuing a kitty” be a euphemism for? 😉 We found an abandoned cat in a crate on the side of the road this morning. So yes, literal kitty rescuing ensued.

          Yeah, I feel your pain on this one. I doubt I’ll leave the link to it up beyond a few days because I don’t want to be sending traffic to the site.

          I hope you’re doing okay.

          1. I have no idea what it could be a euphemism for. I wasn’t thinking euphemism at all actually. I was just thinking it might have been a joke of “I’m doing super important things and can’t do anything else!” because we all feel that way from time to time, especially about things we know other people think are silly.

            Literal kitty rescues, however, are never silly.

            Now, of course, my mind is jumping to all the possible things “rescuing a kitty” could be a euphemism for. The list I’ve got going in my head so far is pretty entertaining. 😛

            I’m so glad it was a success! Hope the little one is ok. 🙂

            1. Well of course my brain went directly to euphemism. Silly me. 😛 From now on when I’m doing something super important I’m going to refer to it as “rescuing a kitty!” 🙂

              The kitty is at a shelter which was the best I could do since I’m allergic to cats and can’t have another pet under our lease (but it was so very tempting). At least (s)he is no longer alone in a crate on the side of the road with no food or water. Ack. The poor thing. (S)he was super mellow and looked healthy and well-cared for so hopefully will make a good candidate for adoption.

      1. It did go through the quiz but I guessed it had gone wrong when it showed 0.0% – and then I spotted error messages on the page. It’s one of the most poorly-implemented quizzes I’ve seen.

  1. I always appreciate your thoughtful assessments of these things. Sounds like the Aspie Quiz is the current and still-reigning champion of self-diagnostic tests…

  2. It didn’t work for me…But I like your thorough assessment.

    Hey I have a question…have you ever written about Autism and Gut issues? I know there is that whole movement that if Autistics eat Gluten, dairy and sugar free we will be “cured” and while I do not believe that…my doc wants to see if it will decrease anxiety which will in turn decrease some social awkwardness or some other symptoms I have.

    More so I am curious to how many Autistics have severe gut issues? I have to have a Gastroscopy because my stomach is so bad right now and I also think I suffer from Gerd/ IBS symptoms. I am very sensitive to foods and can not consume all food groups due to these…I am just wondering what people’s thoughts are on Autism and Gut. I am tired of being told that it can “cure” us but I KNOW there is a difference in most of our guts:) At least there seems to be a connect between my extra pain filled gut and my brain. For instance, when i get the same flu as my NT hubby I am hospitalized. I become in so much extra pain with any gut things. I was wondering if it is just me or…? Anyway, if you have any thoughts on that or a post already written let me know:)

    1. I haven’t written about autism and gut issues because I don’t believe there is a direct link in the sense of improved gut health = cured of autistic traits. However, there does seem to be a high co-occurrence of GI issues with autism, and for some people that includes a gluten intolerance or food allergies or IBS.

      I know that discovering that I’m lactose intolerant and changing my diet has definitely made me feel physically better. It wasn’t until I cut out lactose that I realized how much low level discomfort I’d been having. Without that constant “background noise”, my body feels less stressed. So I can see how addressing GI issues could lower stress/anxiety/discomfort and contribute to feeling healthier and perhaps lead to feeling overloaded less often (by taking an ongoing source of stress off our plates).

      I hope you’re able to find some relief. Elimination diets are usually the first thing doctors suggest when it comes to allergies and intolerances, so if you can manage it, I guess it can’t hurt to try it and see how you feel.

      Also, it may be that your pain perception is very different from your husband’s so similar symptoms are much less tolerable for you. It’s very common for autistic people to be either hypo- or hypersensitive to things like pain or temperature. So something to consider if you don’t see any improvements in your sensitivity level from diet changes.

      1. I have IBS and several food intolerances and have been trying to follow various restrictive diets and keep food diaries to work out what additional dietary triggers I have.

        Eventually I realised that by far my worst trigger is actually anxiety and stress, something which I hadn’t considered before. Often my main sign that I’m at all anxious is my gut.

        I now wonder how much our anxiety levels factor in to the high levels of gut/digestion issues experienced by autistic people. I think it’s probably one of the main factors affecting our high levels of sleep problems too.

        1. I think anxiety can be a big factor. It isn’t for me personally–my biggest anxiety symptoms are cognitive (shutdown, withdrawal, brain fog, difficulty concentrating)–but it definitely makes sense that anxiety could trigger digestion issues and sleep problems. But I also think that we’re predisposed to sleep problems by a disrupted sleep cycle, maybe tied to poor interoceptive and/or sensory processing of the typical sleep cues that trigger and regulate melatonin production. I tend to sleep poorly on a relatively consistent cycle–a few days of shift sleeping followed by a few days of regular sleeping, regardless of how much or little anxiety or stress I’m experiencing. It’s annoyingly biological. :-/

        2. @quarries and quarters:
          Yes I have that same link. My anxiety and gut are completely tied together and it makes it far worse. Thanks for the thoughts back!:) Rieki actually helps me when my gut is purely acting up from being with other people. It really helps with sleep. I have learned from someone how to perform reiki on myself and it makes a big difference. I go through the Chakras when I need to sleep and usually fall asleep by the time I am breathing into my heart Chakra. Sounds too easy but it takes a lot of mind focus and it mostly works on my good nights anyway:)
          I am currently trying the Paleo diet and it is really working well but hard to implement. I am lucky my husband is on board and basically preparing most things for me…It also takes a lot of the guess work out of food…unfortunately I also have other trigger foods in that like tomatoes, squash and melons ( I may have a gullbladder issue maybe.) The stomach flu scares me more than anything. I had pneumonia this year and it was an inconvenience and sucky but I would take it over the stomach flu any day as my stomach really is super sensitive…it’s like death.

  3. I scored 54% on this test. I am professionally diagnosed with AS and score 40 on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) Test.
    The test annoyed me, the website is way too busy.

  4. For those with Apple products, Android devices, or running on Linux, the Opera web browser works fine if you really want to try this test.

    Personally, I feel the site was designed to earn revenue from the distracting ads. rather than a being a useful or informative site
    FWIW my score was 66.7%. I score 43 on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) Test.

  5. It works in OS X Safari. As much as it works in anything, that is. I tried it in Chrome first, before reading the rest of your description, and got the errors, annoyingly.

    The test questions are badly written and limited – Why are sleep problems only limited to waking up early? Why are friendships only people much younger, not also much older? Why are sensory issues only sound, not light, smell, touch, taste? It very much gives the impression of someone assuming their traits or certain very stereotypical traits are what Asperger’s is, not accounting for the variability of spectrum conditions.

    Interestingly, the original version seems to have had 1 less question, with two combined into one:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20130228042648/http://aspergersquiz.com/
    “Do you have few-to-no friends, or do your friendships tend to be with others much younger than you?”
    – you’ll note that this is a trait usually applied to screening for Asperger’s in children.

    Listing all the questions in the format of a list of traits where answering yes always counts towards your score is very poor design too. Leading questions, easy to game.

    Initially I went through the test ticking all the boxes, because I could, and got a 0.00% chance of having Asperger’s – ha! Then I re-did it and attempted to take the poor user interface seriously. I scored under 50%, possibly because I answered ‘Not sure’ too often.

    I especially liked(!) this bit from the What Is An Asperger’s Test page:

    “The test will not tell you if you have Asperger’s. Sorry. In fact, if you are sitting here reading this and glancing at the quiz, wondering if you have Asperger’s, I’ll just cut to the chase—you probably don’t. You’re probably perfectly normal, or some variant of what we call normal.”

    This is not helpful advice.

    That page and the books page also heavily imply that the American Life episode is about this test, when it’s actually the Aspie Quiz, which seems unethical. It reads like a poor attempt at SEO – lots of slightly reworded bits from several different (and somewhat contradictory) articles sourced from elsewhere, mushed together with added links back to the quiz.

    The 10 Books page has gone to lengths to set up redirects to hide the fact that clicking through to learn about the books earns the site commission from Amazon. I assume this is to trick Google into thinking it’s a higher quality page than it is. Maybe I’m being very cynical (or the site creators are), but the whole thing feels like a honeytrap for ad revenue,

    In summary: I am very unimpressed by this test. You did a good job in critiquing it. I worry that we’re all increasing the Google ranking of this test by linking to it to critique it though. It does seem like a cynical attempt to grab traffic, probably after securing a relevant URL.

    (BTW, your second paragraph says ‘Lost of pathologizing language’. I think the first word should be ‘Lots’? Sorry if you didn’t want typo reports, I’m never sure if people want that kind of feedback, but I always do on my sites).

    1. Thank you for pointing out the typo – I fixed it. And I do definitely want to know about typos like that. I have so much trouble spotting them these days, in spite of many proofreadings.

      I had a serious ethical dilemma prior to posting this, based on all of what you said here. I considered posting without linking to the site, but that seemed pointless. I considered not posting about it at all, but I think this kind of post along with the critical comments serves the public good. If people take this horrible quiz and then go looking for an explanation of the results, maybe they’ll find this post. Also, I was kind of hoping that they’d see a lot of traffic coming from here and show up to defend themselves so we could get some more information. A few of the test designers have posted in the comments on their test’s write up, which has been a great addition to the conversation.

      No such luck in this case, I guess. One more reason to believe that this is just an ad-revenue generating site and should be avoided by anyone serious about exploring Aspergers. I pulled the links so that they aren’t benefiting from a back link. I doubt being linked from here for a day will do much for their Google ranking. 🙂

      I thought the questions were a mixed bag–some felt well done and others biased or limited. It’s interesting to look at the archived version and compare the wording. Looking at the original version, which lacks much of the terrible “informational” content of the current version, I have a feeling that the current “publisher” found this quiz that was created by an individual and purchased it to use on their ad-heavy site as a traffic generator.

      Your scoring test makes it easier to guess at how they’re arriving at the results – probably yes = +1, no = -1 and not sure =0. Checking all the boxes would result in the yeses and nos canceling each other with the not sures have no impact. If not sure is 0, that would also account for some of the lower scores that dx’d people ended up with.

      1. “If people take this horrible quiz and then go looking for an explanation of the results, maybe they’ll find this post.” – When I Googled it to try to find the test myself (search string: “logan cook asperger’s quiz”), this blog post came up first while the test itself was only the 4th result. It seems likely that someone might find this post if they start looking for an explanation of the results.

  6. I got 81% but the last page, Physical Descriptions, or whatever it was titled, didn’t have any questions so I just submitted the test. I did it in IE11 on Win8. Yeah, that page has too many distracting ads.

  7. Dammit! I’m scheduled for an assessment in July and at the gathering proof phase. I am so glad you told me not to bother with it though, saves time.
    I’ve often claimed I have to rescue my goldfish from drowning when I have better things to do 😉

      1. I took the one that did the picture thingie at the end and another that took childhood stuff into account (I know I’m being vague, I am sleepy) both ones you reviewed and said were good!
        Definitely on the spectrum according to both. Not surprised though =)

  8. I found this test back when my doctor first told me he thinks I might be autistic. I admit I did find it discouraging and added to the “he’s probably wrong” thoughts, and self-doubt I was having. It’s a shame it’s so high up in google’s results for searching aspergers. I didn’t like the patronising tone of the writing at the top of the test. It was generally unpleasant and off putting even before it failed to generate answers.

    Thanks for writing about this so hopefully others will find your article before the test.

    It also doesn’t work in safari.

    1. Yes, part of the reason I ended up going ahead with the write-up is the hope that my post will end up high enough in the search results to help others realize how useless the test is and that there is a better alternative.

      I’m sorry that you got victimized by it when you were in such a vulnerable spot. 😦

  9. Tested it out in Internet Explorer 8. It appears as though the site was taking advantage of Google Chrome Frame coding, and was woefully outdated (which is fine, as Chrome Frame is ending). Removed Chrome Frame, tried at again. Like the others here, page 4 failed to load, but I clicked on “Submit’ anyway and got 81%. I agree with the assessment that this was simply a way to push ads. Otherwise, yeah, another test that says “hey, you are quite probably an Aspie/ are on the spectrum”. Fancy that.

  10. I went ahead and took these tests. I took this test and got a 57.1%, whatever that means. I also took the longer “Aspie Quiz” and got 164/200 towards Aspie. I’m not diagnosed but I’ve been wondering about myself. I was diagnosed with ODD and ADD as a child but I don’t know if I was ever really assessed. Plus, that was in the 90s and it seems a lot has changed since then. I’m starting to think I should get some professional’s opinion.

    Thanks for sharing all of this. It’s very helpful to someone who is unsure and curious.

    1. There’s a lot of overlap between ODD and ADD traits and autism traits so it’s possible that you were misdiagnosed or the ADD was just more obvious (my feelings about ODD are . . . complicated).

      The aspie quiz is amazingly accurately, so getting a high score on it is a good indicator that Aspergers/autism might be a good fit for you. I wrote a whole series about getting a diagnosis as an adult if you’re interested (linked from the top of the page). It can be a somewhat complex process but a lot of people end up deciding to go through with it because it provides the explanation they’ve been searching for. Either way, welcome and I’m glad you found the post helpful!

  11. It’s a joke that it doesn’t work in Firefox and doesn’t even bother to mention that fact. I wasted my time thinking about complicated questions.

  12. He probably botched the coding to work in Firefox because he knows that you can run stuff like Adblock Plus and Ghostery to get rid of all those obnoxious advertisements. 😀

    So I fired up IE, adjusted the window to 700px to trigger the “mobile” CSS file, and enjoyed a non-working quiz ad-free. Seriously, it didn’t work. In any browser. Couldn’t get past Page 1 without that snarky little “quit trying to take two quizzes at once” message. I goof off with websites as a hobby. Sometimes I make my own quizzes. I’ve got gobs of web browsers on my machine for testing purposes. Didn’t work in a single one. This guy don’t know squat about making quizzes or coding websites!

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