Gender bias in the Aspie population

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.


7 Responses to “Gender bias in the Aspie population

  • oliverthered
    June 23rd, 2013 05:48

    The underlying trait you are looking for is a diminished sense of self, aka autism.

    You may be able to pin down some questions by looking at neurology in relation to the areas you are interested in.
    So, for instance, the default mode network and mirror neurons relate to a sense of self. visual input is directly opposed to the default mode network, so visual stimulus is related to the sense of self in that way.
    The emotion of rejection and the sense of pain are directly (inseparably) related.
    default mode network also relates to depression, schizophrenia and in the other direction post traumatic stress disorder.

    etc….. basically there’s lots of stuff, but if you corrilate it with a sense of self (and other selfs/humans, anthrophamorphic beings etc…) you should be able to pin down some questions.

  • admin
    June 27th, 2013 09:16

    I don’t think the concept of “self” makes any sense whatsoever, and neither does “self consciouness”. This is just poorly defined things that makes no sense.

    The gender biased traits clearly are related to social and mating behaviors in Neanderthal. This is what we expect.

    There is another set of NT biased traits that are recent adaptations in modern humans.

  • overand
    March 24th, 2014 07:34

    I’m surprised that nobody has commented on these two things!

    1: Men and women are socialized differently, at least as of 2014, so perhaps questions like:

    “Do you prefer to have friends of the opposite gender? (Aspie social group)”

    Would be more meaningfully expressed as two (or three) different questions, such as:

    A: Do you prefer to have male friends over female friends?

    Additionally, your comments about ‘opposite sex’ seem explicitly geared towards an assumption of heterosexuality. You may want to include a sexual-orientation component to the lead-in questions, and change the attraction-based questions to something like:

    “Do you have an alternative view of what is attractive in the gender(s) you are attracted to?”

    I think the critical questions here are:

    “Are you mostly friends with men?”
    “Are you mostly friends with women?”
    “Do you have unusual taste in the people you’re attracted to?”

    and perhaps also correlating that ‘mostly friends with men’ vs ‘mostly friends with women’ not just with gender but *also* sexual orientation

    Remember, a *very* significant portion of the population is bisexual or homosexual – you may want to check out the “Demographics_of_sexual_orientation” article on Wikipedia.

  • admin
    April 18th, 2014 14:31

    That would be a useful approach if and only if sexual orientation (as in HBTQ) was related to Aspie status, which is not the case. All these things have such a low correlation to Aspie score that the questions do not qualify. What is related to Aspie status is instead unusual sexual preferences, BD/SM and polyamory. This dimension currently is represented in Aspie Quiz contact group.

  • adri
    March 10th, 2015 16:45

    How should one respond to “Do you have an alternative view of what is attractive in the opposite sex compared to most others?” if one is gay or lesbian? Yes, because one is not at all attracted to the opposite sex? Or no, if one has a standard view of what is attractive in the same sex?

  • lesbaspie
    April 18th, 2015 15:53

    You seem to have been confused about what overand was asking. Recognizing homosexuality has nothing to do with finding correlation between Aspie status and sexuality. If the questions themselves have such low correlation to the score then maybe you should remove them and quit alienating LGBT people who take your quiz.

  • admin
    April 27th, 2015 13:46

    It is possible to ignore these questions (using the “I don’t know” answer). Additionally, I’m not sure that it’s a good idea that gay and lesbian participants get to judge people of their own biological gender. Such a design must first make sure that this is how these questions actually operate, and I’m far from convinced that they do.

    And questions about LGBT are not part of Aspie Quiz (because they have no relevance), while many of the listed are (because they are relevant).

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.