Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ)

The Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) Test is a self-administered questionnaire developed to assess the presence of Autism-Spectrum traits in adults. Created by Simon Baron-Cohen and his team at the Cambridge Autism Research Centre, the AQ was introduced to the academic community through a study published in 2001. This study, titled The Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ): Evidence from Asperger syndrome/high-functioning autism, males and females, scientists and mathematicians, has since been widely referenced in both clinical and research settings. The AQ provides individuals with a means to evaluate their own behaviors and preferences through a series of questions, aiming to quantify traits associated with the Autism Spectrum.

Since its inception, the AQ has undergone numerous validations through subsequent research efforts, solidifying its place as a reliable tool for identifying traits consistent with the Autism Spectrum. Its design allows for a broad application, encompassing clinical diagnostics as well as academic research. The questionnaire’s structure facilitates an introspective look into the respondent's social interaction, communication patterns, imagination, attention to detail, and tolerance for change. Through its comprehensive approach, the AQ helps to bridge the gap between personal self-reflection and professional assessment, offering a preliminary gauge of Autism-Spectrum traits.

The utility of the AQ extends beyond its initial diagnostic purpose. In clinical settings, it serves as a valuable preliminary screening tool, guiding healthcare professionals in determining the need for further, more detailed assessments. In the realm of research, the AQ provides a standardized measure for studying Autism-Spectrum traits across various populations, including gender differences and the prevalence of traits among certain professional groups. Its ease of use, combined with the depth of insight it offers, makes the AQ an effective instrument for expanding the understanding of autism spectrum conditions.

The AQ's accessibility contributes significantly to its widespread use. By allowing individuals to conduct a self-assessment, it promotes greater self-awareness and can facilitate the decision to seek professional evaluation. The questionnaire's straightforward format and the relevance of its content to everyday behaviors and experiences enhance its applicability to a diverse adult population. This aspect of the AQ underscores the importance of accessible tools in the broader effort to recognize and support individuals with Autism-Spectrum conditions.

As a bridge between self-assessment and professional evaluation, the AQ plays an important role in the early identification and support of individuals exhibiting Autism-Spectrum traits. Through its continued use in both clinical and research contexts, the AQ contributes to a deeper understanding of the Autism Spectrum, enhancing the capacity for empathy, support, and intervention.

For each statement below, choose one response that best describes how strongly that statement applies to you:

  Definitely Agree Slightly Agree Slightly Disagree Definitely Disagree
1. I prefer to do things with others rather than on my own.
2. I prefer to do things the same way over and over again.
3. If I try to imagine something, I find it very easy to create a picture in my mind.
4. I frequently get so strongly absorbed in one thing that I lose sight of other things.
5. I often notice small sounds when others do not.
6. I usually notice car number plates or similar strings of information.
7. Other people frequently tell me that what I’ve said is impolite, even though I think it is polite.
8. When I’m reading a story, I can easily imagine what the characters might look like.
9. I am fascinated by dates.
10. In a social group, I can easily keep track of several different people’s conversations.
11. I find social situations easy.
12. I tend to notice details that others do not.
13. I would rather go to a library than to a party.
14. I find making up stories easy.
15. I find myself drawn more strongly to people than to things.
16. I tend to have very strong interests, which I get upset about if I can’t pursue.
17. I enjoy social chitchat.
18. When I talk, it isn’t always easy for others to get a word in edgewise.
19. I am fascinated by numbers.
20. When I’m reading a story, I find it difficult to work out the characters’ intentions.
21. I don’t particularly enjoy reading fiction.
22. I find it hard to make new friends.
23. I notice patterns in things all the time.
24. I would rather go to the theater than to a museum.
25. It does not upset me if my daily routine is disturbed.
26. I frequently find that I don’t know how to keep a conversation going.
27. I find it easy to “read between the lines” when someone is talking to me.
28. I usually concentrate more on the whole picture, rather than on the small details.
29. I am not very good at remembering phone numbers.
30. I don’t usually notice small changes in a situation or a person’s appearance.
31. I know how to tell if someone listening to me is getting bored.
32. I find it easy to do more than one thing at once.
33. When I talk on the phone, I’m not sure when it’s my turn to speak.
34. I enjoy doing things spontaneously.
35. I am often the last to understand the point of a joke.
36. I find it easy to work out what someone is thinking or feeling just by looking at their face.
37. If there is an interruption, I can switch back to what I was doing very quickly.
38. I am good at social chitchat.
39. People often tell me that I keep going on and on about the same thing.
40. When I was young, I used to enjoy playing games involving pretending with other children.
41. I like to collect information about categories of things (e.g., types of cars, birds, trains, plants).
42. I find it difficult to imagine what it would be like to be someone else.
43. I like to carefully plan any activities I participate in.
44. I enjoy social occasions.
45. I find it difficult to work out people’s intentions.
46. New situations make me anxious.
47. I enjoy meeting new people.
48. I am a good diplomat.
49. I am not very good at remembering people’s date of birth.
50. I find it very easy to play games with children that involve pretending.
  1. Simon Baron-Cohen, et al. The Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ): Evidence from Asperger Syndrome/High-Functioning Autism, Males and Females, Scientists and Mathematicians. 31: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 5-17. .
  2. M Woodbury-Smith. Screening Adults for Asperger Syndrome using the AQ: a Preliminary Study of its Diagnostic Validity in Clinical Practice. 35(3): 331-335. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. .
  3. Dorothy VM Bishop, et al. Using Self-Report to Identify the Broad Phenotype in Parents of Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders: A Study using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient. 45(8): 1431-1436. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry ().