Yet more on gender stereotypes

Language Log is continuing their series of posts on gender stereotypes; I found this one on personality differences interesting. They look at a Science paper which ranks groups of men, women, and individuals with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome in terms of an “empathizing quotient” and “systematizing quotient”. Men on average score as more systematizing and women as more empathizing but there’s a large overlap between the distributions:

Those are the SQ distributions but the EQ ones look similar from the scatter plot. It turns out that one can take this personality test online. I come up with SQ=69 and EQ=32; perhaps surprisingly I am within 1σ of the mean for the male population on both indices.
It’s not entirely clear what these numbers say about me, other than that I’m more likely than most to have an organized record collection (alphabetized by artist, and each artist’s records ordered by release date, in case you’re wondering).

13 thoughts on “Yet more on gender stereotypes

  1. Justin

    Do you think the online tests are accurate? I come out as EQ 10 and SQ 78… I don’t think I’m that much more extreme than you (in fact if I understand SQ correctly I’d expect to be a bit lower than you on that one). In fact I don’t know how SQ came out so high at all – I was consistently against the event or business planning questions, for example.
    The EQ test did highlight that I care a lot less about humans than about most other mammals. So throwing out the empathy-for-animals questions would make my EQ even lower, woohoo!

  2. Susan

    Thanks, that was an interesting side-trip… I came out 56 on the EQ and 80 on the SQ. I didn’t know what to expect but this was somehow a surprise. Must be the math and bookkeeping experience throwing my SQ into such a high range…esp. for a girl :-)
    AG, I would have thought you’d get a higher SQ than you did, what with your elaborate organization of your music, blog entries, etc.
    I find that the older I get, the less extreme my responses are on these questionnaires, usually resulting in more middle-of-the-road scores or scores strangely skewed from what I expected. I wonder if anyone has ever studied that? I had that experience when I did the Myers-Briggs survey a few years ago — I think I was around 50 or so, and ended up smack-dab in the middle between two types.
    JSpur, what’s your experience of that? Are there any other 50-somethings around to weigh in on this?

  3. shellock

    Not sure I agree with the test. EQ 22 SQ 63. The SQ sounds about right I am curious about lots of thing and how they work. Also I am relative organized and good with finances and maps. But the EQ seems rather low I am not THAT bad ad being a people person. Ok retook the EQ answering to opsite on all the border line cases where i was not sure if a slightly agreed or disagreed and got a 32. SThe truth may be in the middle.

  4. Mason

    85 and 24 for me. Do you want to guess which was which? ;P
    So it looks like I may be “not more than two” standard deviations from the norm.
    By the way, my CD collection is organized similarly to Travis’s, but I get confused about the proper place where, for example, tribute albums should go. I put it with the artist after all of their works (even ones that came out after the tribute album) because it’s related but not quite the same.
    Wow, imagine how high my SQ could have been had I actually been able to read maps, care about business, or was good about organizing things? Damn.
    Anyway, so it seems that this test has judged me to be extremely tactless and anal, so it’s obviously complete crap.
    For what it’s worth, we were talking about this stuff at dinner last night, so it’s too bad I couldn’t bring this aspect into the conversation last night because I was the one who brought up the continuous spectrum.

  5. Wren

    EQ: 21 SQ: 108
    *My* CD collection is two toppling piles, one next to the player at home, one at school. I do however get very upset if anyone organizes them.

  6. Arcane Gazebo

    Justin: The online tests are “accurate” in the sense of being the same ones used in the study. I looked at the Brain Research paper and it explains the methodology a bit.
    After seeing the other scores posted here, I am now very surprised that I didn’t score further away from the mean.

  7. JSpur

    Sorry for the slow response, gang. I have been in Madison, Wisconsin for the annual Bouchercon conference, whooping it up with a bunch of fellow angsty crime writers and their adoring fans. And I do mean THEIR adoring fans.
    So I took this test on the fly and came out with an SQ of 67 and an EQ of 52 which I reckon is about right for an entrepreneur/writer. And Susan I do think there is some age-induced gravitation toward the emotional mean that could account for the scores of the likes of us (he said, with a sigh of resignation).

  8. Lemming

    Alright, SQ 72 and EQ 44. Disappointingly middle of the road, but I’ll live.
    I’d love to see results on how self-consistent the answers for a given test are. I saw myself *constantly* filling out seemingly contradictory answers, though technically they were all truthful.
    Example: I would never actually write out a shopping list (despite the fact that I reliably forget things), but if I’m heading to multiple stores I’ll definitely be running TSP heuristics in my head before I leave.

  9. Mason

    A study of a decent-sized collection of individuals over time would be extremely interesting. (There have been similarly long-term studies of other things — such as obesity of people in a social network — so I foresee this happening. Sadly, it will be a while before I see any results. :) )

  10. Jenny

    Ok, I feel like a freak
    EQ 54 SQ 93
    Apparently, I’m incredibly anal and very attuned to the fact that everyone feels that I am anal.

  11. Mason

    Heh, JSpur had the same reaction I did. It’s a good thing I didn’t go back to this comment thread before commenting above. Otherwise, I would have lost a “publication.”

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