The eyes have it

The eyes really are the window to the soul. So how good are you at looking in? To find out, try the following test, in which you have to guess which emotion is being expressed by each pair of eyes:






So, how did you do? Although there is quite a bit of individual variation, the average person would be expected to get about 26/36 correct. Interestingly, there is some evidence to suggest that females generally perform slightly better than males (but only to the tune of one or two faces).

What is the point of this test? The researcher who developed it, Simon Baron-Cohen (cousin of the comedian and actor Sasha Baron-Cohen [Ali-G, Bruno, The Dictator]) did so as a diagnostic tool for autism and its milder form Asperger Syndrome. People with this syndrome (or high-functioning autism) would be expected to score considerably lower. However don’t worry if you didn’t get that many correct. For one thing, there are many factors that could have affected your performance (e.g, tiredness, the quality of the screen on the device you used to take the test). For another, this test investigates just one of the symptoms of Asperger Syndrome, and nobody would qualify for such a diagnosis on the basis of just one such test.

A complete version of the test (and versions in different languages, and for children) can be downloaded from:

Remember, though, this is just for fun! If you are seriously concerned that you or your child may have Autism or Asperger Syndrome, you should contact your doctor or your child’s teacher, who will be able to request a formal assessment from an qualified professional.

You can complete more tests of your intelligence, personality, moral values, thinking style, impulsivity, capacity for logical reasoning, susceptibility to visual and mental illusions, musical taste and preferences in a romantic partner in Ben Ambridge’s book Psy-Q, out now in the UK and US, and in translation in China and Turkey.


Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, J. Hill, Y., Raste and I. Plumb (2001). The ‘Reading the Mind in the eyes’ test revised version: A study with normal adults, and adults with Asperger Syndrome or High-Functioning autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 42, 241-252.

1 Comment

  1. the eyes are a very personal thing. they should actually be called “I’s” and they are the psychological tool par excellence like the skin is the sexual organ par excellence. the human gaze is far more dangerous than that of a big cat on the african savannah

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