One of the biggest studies of it’s kind revealed which professions people with more autistic-like traits were involved with, and some of the results are quite surprising…
The nationwide experiment revealed that people working in science and engineering jobs were more likely to have these personality traits compared to less technical professions and that men tend to be more autistic than women.
The experiment- which nearly involved half a million members of the public – was an online questionnaire made up of 50 statements such as “I am fascinated by numbers” and “I find it hard to make new friends”.
The questionnaire was called The Autistic Spectrum Quotient and was developed by scientists at Cambridge University and led by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. The tests quickly assessed whether someone is likely to fall on the autistic spectrum and where.
No links were found between age or location, but there was a startling correlation which emerged between the sexes and occupation.
The higher the score revealed the further along the spectrum someone fell and the average male score was 21.6 compared to 19.0 for women. Those who work in science, technology, engineering, computing or accountancy scored an average of 21.9 compared to lesser technical professions who scored 18.9 on average.
Professor Baron-Cohen told The Independent:
Previous studies have found the number of autistic traits a person has is influenced by both genetic factors and prenatal testosterone levels.These may shed light on why we find males in the population on average have slightly more autistic traits than females do, and why fathers and grandfathers of children with autism are over-represented in Stem fields.
Researchers believe the findings support that autistic traits are linked to both sex and to have a ‘systems-thinking mind’ and explain why those who work in Silicon Valley and high-tech jobs tend to exhibit more autistic-like behaviour than the wider population.
You can take the questionnaire here.