Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Multiple Choice Diagnosis

I think a lot about how the media and internet culture influences diagnosis. With information at our fingertips people scramble about on WebMd and filling out online quizzes to see what kind of disease or disorder they have this week. I think Asperger syndrome has been hit by this media frenzy, suddenly any adult who is socially awkward is well, put in a box with a label and tag. America's Next Top Model on its last season included a model with Asperger's and talked about her difficulties on the show because of the disorder, even giving her extra help for memorization challenges. In the end she got booted off, but I wonder if the introduction of the label in a prime time reality show really helps.

In class earlier today I learned about the AQ Test, or the 'Autism Quotient Test' developed by Simon-Baron Cohen. All issues with online diagnosis aside, I can't lie, I took the test. Now, I know as well as all my family and friends that I do not have Autism, but my curiosity was at an all time high wondering, what will my score be? The test itself says that scores are not "definitive and do not diagnose the presence of autism. If you're concerned about your score, you should see a doctor." I start to think that maybe this could help and that the age of technology with all its faults in aiding and abetting hypochondriacs could really help some people.

Newsweek has an easy online version of the 'Autism Spectrum Quotient' test for any who are interested.


Tim Worstall said...

This might interest:
Another Simon Baon Cohen test: this time about systemizing and empathizing brain types. The AQ test can be seen almost as a subset of this.

Tim Worstall said...

Sorry, "Simon Baron Cohen" of course.