The ‘extreme male brain’ theory suggests females with Autism Spectrum Conditions are hyper-masculinized in certain aspects of behavior. We predicted that females with Gender Identity Disorder (who are masculinized) would have elevated Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) scores. AQ scores from five groups were compared: (1) n = 61 transmen (female-to-male transsexual people); (2) n = 198 transwomen (male-to-female transsexual people); (3) n = 76 typical males; (4) n = 98 typical females; and (5) n = 125 individuals with Asperger Syndrome (AS). Transmen had a higher mean AQ than typical females, typical males and transwomen, but lower than individuals with AS. Transmen have more autistic traits and may have had difficulty socializing with female peers and thus found it easier to identify with male peer groups.
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We are grateful to the MRC (UK), the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation, and the Gates Cambridge Trust for funding during the period of this work. RJ presented this work at the IMFAR Conference, London, May 2008. We are grateful to Melissa Hines, Rebecca Knickmeyer, Bonnie Auyeung, Emma Chapman, and Vivette Glover for valuable discussions; and to the participants who kindly helped us with this project.
The research protocol was approved by the Cambridge University Psychology Research Ethics Committee. This work was conducted in association with the NIHR CLAHRC for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.
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Jones, R.M., Wheelwright, S., Farrell, K. et al. Brief Report: Female-To-Male Transsexual People and Autistic Traits. J Autism Dev Disord 42, 301–306 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1227-8
- Autism Spectrum Conditions
- Gender Identity Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ)