Are systemizing and autistic traits related to talent and interest in mathematics and engineering? Testing some of the central claims of the empathizing-systemizing theory.

Kinga Morsanyi, Caterina Primi, Simon Handley, Francesca Chiesi, Silvia Galli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


In two experiments, we tested some of the central claims of the empathizing-systemizing (E-S) theory. Experiment 1 showed that the systemizing quotient (SQ) was unrelated to performance on a mathematics test, although it was correlated with statistics-related attitudes, self-efficacy, and anxiety. In Experiment 2, systemizing skills, and gender differences in these skills, were more strongly related to spatial thinking styles than to SQ. In fact, when we partialled the effect of spatial thinking styles, SQ was no longer related to systemizing skills. Additionally, there was no relationship between the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and the SQ, or skills and interest in mathematics and mechanical reasoning. We discuss the implications of our findings for the E-S theory, and for understanding the autistic cognitive profile.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-96
Number of pages25
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


Bibliographical note

©2011 The British Psychological Society.


  • Young Adult
  • Questionnaires
  • Thinking
  • Sex Factors
  • Anxiety
  • Humans
  • Attitude
  • Italy
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering
  • Theory of Mind
  • Autistic Disorder
  • Adult
  • Self Efficacy
  • Language
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Male
  • Psychological Tests
  • Aptitude
  • Empathy

Cite this