Are You Autistic? Let Dr. Facebook Tell You

Julie Ryan Evans
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Autism Quotient TestWhile raising awareness about autism is virtuous and vital, something about doing it via a quiz on Facebook -- you know, the same kind that tells you what kind of serial killer or redneck you are -- just doesn't sit right.

Have you seen it yet -- the Autism Spectrum Quotient quiz? After what seemed to be a lull in the continuous posting of quiz results, this one has started popping up in news feeds in the past week or so.

Basically, it's a set of 50 questions that you answer: Definitely agree, slightly agree, slightly disagree, or definitely disagree. It gets tedious plugging in all the answers, but it's also too tempting not to find out just how autistic you might be.

In the end, you receive a numeric score. Apparently, 80 percent of adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders scored 32 or more.

Assuming your score is below that mark, you find out you're likely not autistic and can freely move on to the next quiz and find out which kind of narcissist you are ... or something like that.

So what purpose does this quiz serve?

It's designed to raise awareness of autism and how it affect individuals, which is great. And it's not some random grouping of questions someone made up. It's an actual questionnaire published in 2001 by Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, UK.

It "aims to investigate whether adults of normal intelligence have symptoms of autism or one of the other autism spectrum conditions" 

So it isn't without merit, and if there are some out there wondering if they might be on the spectrum, it could provide some insight I suppose. But those cases are likely few and far between for those who are taking it for "fun" ... which seems a little too flip for such a serious subject. 

Of course, there's breast cancer -- which is just as serious -- that used Facebook for the whole sexy "I Like It" campaign, which was largely received as cute and clever. And the Shutdown campaign earlier this week for autism awareness was entirely appropriate.

So it's not that serious topics shouldn't use social media for marketing purposes. On the contrary, it's great to see some good come from what can be a mindless time suck.

But in the case of the Autism Quotient Quiz, it just seems wrong to do so in the form of a quiz where the results are shared with your hundreds of "friends."

What do you think of the Autism Quotient Quiz -- useful for promoting awareness of autism or too flip of a forum for such a serious subject?


Image via Facebook


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