Archive for September, 2012

Gender bias in the Aspie population

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

I’ve made a new research project with some promising possibilities. I went through all 1,800 questions that has been in Aspie Quiz looking for gender bias in the Aspie population where there was none in the neurotypical population (or a reversed bias). While there are quite a few questions that have a gender bias in both populations (a rough estimate is at least 10%, or several hundred questions), it was far harder to find a gender bias only in the Aspie population. I ended up with a list of 47 possible questions. Some of these were discarded based on other datasets, while some were already a permanent part of final version 2 of Aspie Quiz. I tested 36 of the questions in Aspie Quiz to try to confirm the gender bias. It turned out that 17 of these did have a gender bias in the new dataset (with a little more than 9,000 answers), a majority of which was related to female Aspies.

The following issues were biased in the male population:

  • Is it harder for you than for others to get over a failed relationship? (Aspie social group)
  • Do you believe in love at first sight? (Aspie social group)

The following issues were biased in the female population:

  • Do you flap your hands (e.g. when excited or upset)? (Aspie communication group)
  • Do you rock back-&-forth or side-to-side (e.g. for comfort, to calm yourself, when excited or overstimulated)? (Aspie communication group)
  • Do you enjoy hanging upside down? (Aspie hunting group)
  • Do you enjoy walking on your toes? (Aspie hunting group)
  • Do you have a fascination for slowly flowing water? (Aspie hunting group)
  • Do you have an urge to observe the habits of animals? (Aspie hunting group)
  • Have you experienced stronger than normal attachments to certain people? (Aspie social group)
  • Do you have an alternative view of what is attractive in the opposite sex compared to most others? (Aspie social group)
  • Do you prefer to have friends of the opposite gender? (Aspie social group)
  • If you have to be touched, do you prefer it to be firmly rather than lightly? (Aspie perception group)
  • Do you dislike being hugged when you haven’t asked for it? (NT social group)
  • Do you have an urge to observe the habits of humans? (Aspie hunting, Aspie social, Aspie communication groups)
  • Do you have an urge to learn the routines of people you know? (Aspie communication, Aspie compulsion, Aspie social groups)
  • Do you naturally fit into the expected gender stereotypes? (reversed, NT compulsion, Aspie social groups)
  • Are you asexual? (Aspie social, NT social, NT communication, Aspie perception groups)

 Basically, all the biased questions are primarily linked to Aspie groups (15 of 17), with the exceptions needing further research in order to find the key trait. For instance, being asexual is related to many different groups, so is probably a result of several factors, but one of them should be a key Aspie trait. Asexual also has a considerable correlation to dislike for touch / hugs, which is also biased in a similar fashion, and relates to both sensory issues and NT social issues.  

In summary, it seems like the traits are related to three different domains:

  1. Gender bias in hunting adaptations (Aspie hunting group)
  2. Gender bias in mating behavior (Aspie social group)
  3. Gender bias in nonverbal communication (Aspie communication group)

The gender biases in hunting behavior might mean that Neanderthal females had some specific hunting roles, namely to keep track of animals and their behavior.

The gender bias in mating behavior needs further research. It is clear that both genders experience stronger attachments than normal, and that this seems to give different outcomes with males bonding quicker and having more failures in relationships. A key research area is to elaborate on why asexuality is biased only in the female Aspie population.

The gender bias in nonverbal communication provide key traits that might be used to signal interest. Research on this in the neurotypical population seems to show that females have some unique courtship behaviors, which might have some parallels in the Aspie population, but the two would probably be largely incompatible.