The Power of Systemizing in Autism


Identifying autism in clinical practice is complex because the causes of autism are still unclear and the features of autism are highly diverse. The Empathizing–Systemizing theory is successful in interpreting the core features of autism, both social and non-social, compared to other current theories of autism. This study provides an overview of the current state of research regarding the systemizing concept. High systemizing abilities are characteristic and specific in autism and as a result, three non-social features of autism are seen: restricted and repetitive behavior, obsessional interests, and, savant skills. We found solid evidence that, in order to identify autism in clinical practice, at least the use of an instrument which is specialized in measuring one’s systemizing abilities is required.

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Fig. 1

Availability of Data and Materials

The datasets/literature during and analysed during the current study available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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EZ searched and analyzed the available literature, and designed and wrote the paper. JD made substantial contributions to the design of the work and substantively revised it. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Evi van der Zee.

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van der Zee, E., Derksen, J.J.L. The Power of Systemizing in Autism. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 52, 321–331 (2021).

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  • Autism
  • Empathizing–systemizing theory
  • Systemizing concept
  • Systemizing
  • SQ-R
  • SQ Child_NL