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
To take an auto-scoring version of the questionnaire, click/tap this button:
Disclaimer from the questionnaire authors: this is not an autism assessment (more on this below).
The questionnaire will return a score formatted like Ryan’s.
Monotropism Score: 227 / 235
This score means that you are more Monotropic than about 98% of autistic people and about 100% of allistic people based on data from the initial validation study.
After taking the questionnaire, return here for context to your score.
The questionnaire statements are reproduced below. You can scroll past these if you take the auto-scoring version linked above. Context to scores will be provided after the statements.
Read the statements and indicate to what extent you agree or disagree with them on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) or NA if not applicable.
|After a period of instability, I need a quiet and predictable environment.|
|I need a quiet and predictable environment for me to switch from one task to another easily.|
|I often struggle to concentrate in busy and/or unpredictable environments.|
|I find sudden unexpected disruptions to my attention startling.|
|It’s distressing to be unexpectedly pulled away from something I’m engaged in.|
|I rarely find simultaneously holding eye contact and making a verbal conversation with another person uncomfortable. *|
|I often notice details that others do not.|
|Involvement in an activity of interest often reduces my anxiety level.|
|I find social interactions more comfortable if communicating about a topic of interest to me.|
|I am often totally focused on activities I am passionate about, to the point I am unaware of other events.|
|I can get quite good at something even if I’m not especially interested in it. *|
|I often lose sense of time when engaging in activities I am passionate about.|
|I sometimes avoid talking because I cannot reliably predict how others will react, especially strangers.|
|I tend to do activities because I find them interesting, instead of due to societal expectations.|
|I rarely find social situations chaotic. *|
|I don’t mind if someone interrupts me when I’m in the middle of an activity. *|
|When I’m working on something, I’m open to helpful suggestions.*|
|I often find it difficult to switch topics after engaging in an activity for a long time.|
|I often engage in activities I am passionate about to escape from anxiety.|
|Routines provide an important source of stability and safety.|
|I manage uncertainty by creating routines.|
|I often experience anxiety over matters I have little certainty over.|
|I find it difficult to engage in a task of no interest to me even if it is important.|
|I often find engaging in stimming (e.g., fidgeting, rocking) to be relaxing.|
|I am usually passionate about a few topics at any one time in my life.|
|I have trouble filtering out sounds when I am not doing something I’m focused on.|
|I usually mean what I say and no more than that.|
|I often engage in lengthy discussions on topics I find interesting even though my conversational partner(s) do not.|
|I sometimes accidentally say something others find offensive/ rude when I am focused on a task.|
|I can sometimes be very distressed by a topic that others think of as trivial.|
|I find it easy to keep up with group discussions where everyone is speaking. *|
|Often when I am focused on activities, I do not notice I am thirsty or hungry.|
|Often when I am focused on activities, I do not notice I need the bathroom.|
|When there is a lot of information to consider, I often struggle to make a decision.|
|Sometimes making a decision is so hard I get physically stuck.|
|I sometimes focus on an incident for a substantial time (days) after the event.|
|I sometimes become highly anxious by focusing on the many possible situations that might occur at a future event.|
|Sometimes when I am focused on an activity, I do not recall all the information I might need to make good decisions.|
|People tell me I get fixated on things.|
|I find a problem I can’t solve distressing and/or hard to put down.|
|I tend to feel quite self-conscious unless I’m deeply absorbed in a task.|
|I often get stuck thinking about all the possibilities that might come out of a decision.|
|When I am interested in something, I tend to be passionate about it.|
|When I am interested in a topic, I like to learn everything I can about that topic.|
|I am still fascinated by many of the things I was interested in when I was much younger.|
|I rarely find myself getting stuck in loops of thought. *|
|I often loop back to previous thoughts.|
License: This questionnaire is published under a Creative Commons license, CC-BY-NC-SA. Full text for this license can be found on the Creative Commons website here.
To score your questionnaire manually: Add up the numbers you indicated for each statement. Reverse score the questions with asterisks. There are 235 points total. The higher your score, the more monotropic you are.
For context on your score, keep scrolling.
This Is Not an Autism Assessment
“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
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
This questionnaire should not be used to invalidate identity.
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 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. If you haven’t yet, click/tap this button to open an auto-scoring version of the Monotropism Questionnaire.
Summary of Report
Monotropism Questionnaire & Inner Autistic/ADHD Experiences
- The MQ consists of 47 items, which a group of autistic adults generated based on their lived experience and academic expertise.
- 1,110 participants (756 autistic, 354 non-autistic) completed the MQ
- As predicted, MQ scores are significantly higher for autistic participants compared to non-autistic participants.
- ADHD and autism were both significantly associated with higher mean monotropism scores (see graphs below)
The phenomenal response to the Monotropism Questionnaire (a first attempt at measuring monotropism) shows that there is a huge appetite for ideas of this sort, but also many questions still to answer.Monotropism – Monotropism and Wellbeing
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.
Tens of thousands have responded to say how validated they think now, having a word and a concept to describe many aspects of the inner experiences of being autistic / ADHD. The benefits of further research into monotropism are immeasurable to enable those that resonate with this theory to feel understood, connected to others and have a feeling of things finally ‘making sense’.Monotropism Questionnaire & Inner Autistic/ADHD Experiences
Monotropism Questionnaire & Inner Autistic/ADHD Experiences
Our favorite contextualizer for your score is “Monotropism Questionnaire & Inner Autistic/ADHD Experiences” by Autistic Realms. There, you will learn about:
- Benefits of embracing monotropism
- Monotropism key words
- Experiences of being Monotropic
- Monotropism, Autism, and ADHD
- Monotropism and Burnout
- Monotropism and Education
- Thoughts and Questions arising from the Monotropism Questionnaire
What Is Monotropism?
- 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 – Monotropism Questionnaire Online
- The Monotropism Questionnaire Is Going Viral – Stimpunks Foundation
- Viral Monotropism Questionnaire: Autism Diagnosis Breakthrough? (Medical Channel Asia)