The recently published “Monotropism Questionnaire” has gone viral on TikTok.
Our Monotropism pages at stimpunks.org are getting a corresponding spike in traffic. Likewise monotropism.org.
- Monotropism – Stimpunks Foundation
- Stimpunks Guide to the NeurodiVerse Issue #5: Redefining Autism Science with Monotropism and the Double Empathy Problem – Stimpunks Foundation
- Flow – Stimpunks Foundation
- Monotropism Questionnaire – Stimpunks Foundation
Below, we gather context and helpful links to monotropism’s viral moment, including an important caveat from the questionnaire’s authors: the questionnaire should not be regarded as an autism assessment.
(If you haven’t taken the questionnaire yet, there’s a big button to take it below.)
From the abstract for the questionnaire:
Monotropism seeks to explain autism in terms of attention distribution and interests. Despite having strong subjective validity to autistic people, and potential to explain the overlap between autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it has been little investigated formally. This is in large part due to lack of reliable and valid measures to capture the construct. In this study, we aimed to develop and validate a novel self-report measure, the Monotropism Questionnaire (MQ), in autistic and non-autistic people. The MQ consists of 47 items, which were generated by a group of autistic adults based on their lived experience and academic expertise.OSF Preprints | Development and Validation of a Novel Self-Report Measure of Monotropism in Autistic and Non-Autistic People: The Monotropism Questionnaire
“Monotropism provides a far more comprehensive explanation for autistic cognition than any of its competitors.” Note, however, that this questionnaire is not an autism assessment. Here is a video from one of the authors of the questionnaire clarifying “what it is, where it came from, and what we want to do with it in the future.”
Dr. Joey, a clinical psychologist in Australia, said “I believe this is probably the best assessment of autism” – high praise, but misleading; the MQ is really not an autism assessment as such. The questionnaire is designed to assess a person’s degree of monotropism, and while Monotropism was developed as a theory of autism, it is too early to say whether all autistic people are monotropic, or whether all monotropic people are autistic. It is also not entirely clear how ADHD fits into this picture.Monotropism – Monotropism Questionnaire Online
Here are threads by three of the questionnaire’s authors on why it isn’t an autism assessment.
I love that so many people are getting excited about the Monotropism Questionnaire, but I really wish people would stop calling it an “autism assessment”.
I hope that it can be used to inform future autism assessments, but that’s not what it is and it also needs further testing.@MxOolong
I’m also excited at folks trying out the monotropism questionnaire, but I’m also concerned about it being misconstrued. Essentially we wanted to test the idea that there might be a significant overlap between autistic folks and monotropic experience (and questions around ADHD).@scrappapertiger
Co-author here: this isn’t designed as and shouldn’t be used as an autism assessment (and definitely not a clinical one!), and some folks who score highly in autism assessments might score differently in this.@scrappapertiger
A bit more on this #MonotropismQuestionnaire thing.
I’ve been emphasising that the new quiz is NOT an autism assessment not bc I’m making an academic point or bc I’m trying to be overly precise, but because I believe that there can be harm at this stage from using it that way.@scrappapertiger
Important thread on our recently published (open access) monotropism questionnaire.
In a nutshell: monotropism is super interesting and important…
…but our questionnaire is NOT a new way to classify who is / isn’t autistic.@SueReviews
This brings us back round to Dr Joey Lawrence, a clinical psychologist and TikTok star, calling the MQ “probably the best assessment of autism.”
Is it possible for something that’s not an autism assessment to nevertheless be the best assessment of autism?@MxOolong
We especially highlight this important safe-guarding from a questionnaire co-author.
I’ve been emphasising that the new quiz is NOT an autism assessment not bc I’m making an academic point or bc I’m trying to be overly precise, but because I believe that there can be harm at this stage from using it that way.
Monotropism as a way of being is likely to greatly overlap with being autistic (and our study strongly suggests this), but it may well NOT overlap with everyone who meets the current dx criteria for autism.
It will be great to find out more about the autistic folks who aren’t monotropic, and also if and how our questionnaire is not currently capturing all the ways in which monotropism can look.
So, some autistic people will score very low on this questionnaire, and that doesn’t mean that they’re not autistic.
It’s also very possible that some non-autistic people will score highly for monotropism. Again, it’ll be great to find out more about that population.
The questionnaire is also in its first iteration, so accounting for anxiety, other types of weighting, question design, all still need work in future.
Yes, I believe there are huge problems with most autism assessments. But I’m wary of the impact of this questionnaire on folks who, for example, are autistic and score low in the MQ, to be told it’s an autism assessment designed by other autistic people.
We don’t need to put more folks through that kind of rejection.
I think it’s incredibly irresponsible to be promoting this questionnaire as an autism assessment, at this stage, in this form.
However, I also believe that more folks learning about their monotropic ways of being can be really valuable, and using The MQ or questions and ideas from it to do that, learn about ourselves, support others, can be great.
I believe that this work is really important (or I wouldn’t be part of the co-author team working on it!), and I really hope that folks can use these ideas as helpful prompts for thinking about neurodivergence, rather than anything definitive at this stage.
I really don’t want to see folks turned off the whole theory of monotropism and how it relates to autism as a result of some poorly framed science communication. You get to think about and explore this for yourself too, and how it might apply to you.Sonny Hallett on Twitter
This questionnaire should not be used to invalidate identity.
That said, we’re happy to see the questionnaire getting attention and encourage our readers to take the questionnaire. Click/tap this button to open an auto-scoring version of the Monotropism Questionnaire.
The questionnaire is getting really encouraging feedback, much of it along the lines of this:
“This feels like it was written by people who understand why the other questionnaires are so hard. This was so much easier for me.”
We share that sentiment.
After you take the questionnaire, head on over to monotropism.org. It’s a wonderful and accessible resource.