Thoughts and illustrations on living on the autism spectrum.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Systematic Like Me

Hey, do you like personality tests? Maybe you know your Myers-Briggs type, but do you know your communication style? Before you read the rest of this post, take this 25 question test. [PDF]  

Note: When scoring, you may notice that question 8 has no number. The scoring form (page 5) goes in order, numbering is just off by 1 starting with #9. Please excuse the glitch; this is the only “free” version of the test available online.


So, which style did you score?

If you’re on the autism spectrum, I have a hunch that your dominant score was Analytical. (Also called Systematic.) The vast majority of my answers were in this category. Many common autistic traits can be found under the Systematic type. (Introverts in general will probably score here too.) But I also scored in other categories for certain questions… weird!

The HDRQ Personality Style Model posits that there are four communication styles, based on your choice of words, the way you say them, your body language, and personal space preferences.

It can also be described as a continuum from low to high expression of emotions, and low to high assertiveness in influencing others, with the four styles representing four quadrants. Read a more detailed analysis of the HRDQ model here. [PDF]

There’s something fascinating about this test. Look what they say! Systematic is one of four normal communication styles you find. All four styles have their strengths and weaknesses - and none is considered undesirable! I find that a nice bit of neurodiverse thinking, don’t you?

I wrote some time ago about “chasing typical,” how back in school, I was told my style was a weakness, limited my potential, needed to be changed, and so on. Imagine if my "shortcomings" had been viewed as a normal personality style instead. Not only normal, but valued! Hm, perhaps I am more typical than I thought...

So, to review: When an acquaintance puts their hand on your arm, you get annoyed: Normal!

When someone messes with your neat, organized desktop*, you get upset: Normal!

When people get upset or cry in front of you, you try to remove yourself from the situation: Normal!

So if you’re Systematic like me, use your strengths! Flex dem muscles! You don’t need to change.

* Thanks @shitmyaspiesays for words to live by.


  1. I love your work, Matt. Can you tell me where to locate the one you reposted a few months ago on how Aspies make great employees?

  2. Cool stuff. Love it. Can't wait for my kid to be old enough to appreciate it.

  3. I tested as direct (10), systematic (8), spirited (6--half from the self-chosen adjectives which I skewed in my favor), and considerate (5), but from the descriptions I'm pretty overwhelmingly spirited with a minor in direct. For me I think there's kind of a flow:

    Strong analytic/logical thinking leads to strong emotions (because I see implications) and general extreme expressiveness causes those to come out passionately so in turn I'm a driver because I'm passionately arguing for or against something with both logic and emotions. I WANT to be a considerate person but in the heat of a discussion or dispute all that gets steamrollered--just like the occasional conversation partner involved, and any other priorities I had. I have to step back and have some time and emotional space to apply that logic/feeling combo to strengthening relationships, and that's only going to happen when I'm in a lull, even though I try to moderate myself.

    Mental health professionals in the past have disagreed on whether or not I should have an ASD diagnosis, but I definitely have severe anxiety and can't always speak. Work has definitely helped bring out my excessively assertive communication style, but it's always been there when I was able to communicate freely. I think it's great if many aspies and introverts see themselves in the "systematic" pattern, but also remember that plenty of us aren't going to fit any given stereotype.

    1. Very interesting results, you're nearly evenly split among the 4 styles. I'm glad the test was insightful.