Largest ever study of psychological sex differences & autistic traits

Going by this, it's when individuals map somewhere on the autistic spectrum that the sexes are prone to becoming psychologically less different. Of course, in the human sciences, just wait and a _blank_ conclusion will often change somewhere down the line on that mutable, volatile turf...

EXCERPT: Scientists at the University of Cambridge have completed the world's largest ever study of typical sex differences and autistic traits. They tested and confirmed two long-standing psychological theories: the Empathizing-Systemizing theory of sex differences and the Extreme Male Brain theory of autism.

Working with the television production company Channel 4, they tested over half a million people, including over 36,000 autistic people. The results are published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Empathizing-Systemizing theory predicts that women, on average, will score higher than men on tests of empathy, the ability to recognize what another person is thinking or feeling, and to respond to their state of mind with an appropriate emotion. Similarly, it predicts that men, on average, will score higher on tests of systemizing, the drive to analyse or build rule-based systems.

The Extreme Male Brain theory predicts that autistic people, on average, will show a masculinised shift on these two dimensions: namely, that they will score lower than the typical population on tests of empathy and will score the same as if not higher than the typical population on tests of systemizing.

Whereas both theories have been confirmed in previous studies of relatively modest samples, the new findings come from a massive sample of 671,606 people, which included 36,648 autistic people. They were replicated in a second sample of 14,354 people. In this new study, the scientists used very brief 10-item measures of empathy, systemizing, and autistic traits.

Using these short measures, the team identified that in the typical population, women, on average, scored higher than men on empathy, and men, on average, scored higher than women on systemizing and autistic traits. These sex differences were reduced in autistic people. On all these measures, autistic people's scores, on average, were 'masculinized': that is, they had higher scores on systemizing and autistic traits and lower scores on empathy, compared to the typical population.

The team also calculated the difference (or 'd-score') between each individual's score on the systemizing and empathy tests. A high d-score means a person's systemizing is higher than their empathy, and a low d-score means their empathy is higher than their systemizing.

If autistic spectrum and a reduction of sex differences are directly correlated then a greater display of sex differences is presumably a sign of mental health.

So, it's literally retarded (developmental disorder, like autism) to think that men and women only differ by social construct.
I don’t know. There’s lots of studies linking testosterone and cortisol to autism but there’s also lots of conflicting data. I still think that defining autism as “maleness” is over simplistic and gets reinforced by stereotypes.

Quote:Finally, the authors highlight that although autistic people on average struggle with 'cognitive' empathy—recognizing other people's thoughts and feelings—they nevertheless have intact 'affective' empathy—they care about others. It is a common misunderstanding that autistic people struggle with all forms of empathy, which is untrue.

Dr. Varun Warrier, from the Cambridge team, said: "These sex differences in the typical population are very clear. We know from related studies that individual differences in empathy and systemizing are partly genetic, partly influenced by our prenatal hormonal exposure, and partly due to environmental experience. We need to investigate the extent to which these observed sex differences are due to each of these factors, and how these interact.

I haven't finished it yet but I started watching that movie "Equals". I think that’s how some people think autism is but they feel emotions. They just have trouble communicating them.

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