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Cognitive Distortions Test

Cognitive distortions represent subjective misinterpretations of reality produced by maladaptive, involuntary personal beliefs harbored in the depths of individual psychology.

This Cognitive Distortions Test measures the intensity of these attitudes as they impact impression, perception, and interpretation of informational stimuli as well as both conscious and unconscious choices to deliver a personal result reflecting cognitive distortions across seven different domains.

The Cognitive Distortions Test is inspired by the Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale (DAS), a measurement tool commonly used to identify dysfunctional beliefs contributing to depressive symptoms. The Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale is authored by Arlene Weissman at the University of Pennsylvania.

Want to know your cognitive errors? For each of the following questions, indicate how well it describes you below.

Question 1 of 35

If a child is having emotional or behavioral difficulties, this shows that the child’s parents have failed in some respect.


The Cognitive Distortions Test is inspired by the Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale (DAS) authored by Arlene Weissman at the University of Pennsylvania. IDRlabs is not affiliated with either author or the University of Pennsylvania or any other institution.

The test uses the following scales:

Approval Distortions: Denotes the tendency to measure one’s self-worth according to how others react to oneself and one’s assumptions about what that means in terms of what they think of you. A low score indicates social independence and a healthy sense of personal worth, even when faced with criticism or disapproval from others. A high score indicates excessive social dependence related to low self-worth as one evaluates oneself through the eyes of others and internalizes perceived insults, criticism, or ambivalent reactions from others. People with low scores on Approval thus defensively split themselves based on a good/bad model of self without many nuanced reflections. If they feel put down by someone, they automatically look down on themselves, as their emotional well-being is particularly sensitive to imagined assumptions of what others think of them. They are more easily manipulated and vulnerable to anxiety than people with lower scores.

Love Distortions: Reflects the tendency to assess one’s own worth based on perceptions, and thus possible misinterpretations, of whether or not you are lovable as a person. A low score indicates that one sees love as something desirable yet has a prioritized and nuanced view modulated by a wide range of other gratifying and fulfilling interests. Those with low scores do not require love from others to experience happiness or self-worth in terms of positive self-judgments. A high score indicates that one experiences love as a need for which fulfillment is necessary for happiness and positive self-worth. In other words, the higher the score on this scale, the more dependent on love the person is. Very high scorers tend to adopt an inferior role in relationships because they fear alienating others and being abandoned by them. They may also resort to manipulative behavior to satisfy their need to feel loved.

Achievement Distortions: Represents the tendency to measure self-worth based on productivity. A low score indicates that one enjoys the creative process of being productive without experiencing it as a necessity for positive self-judgments and satisfaction with oneself. A high score indicates a tendency toward workaholism and a somewhat constricted sense of self-worth, typically defining one’s self-worth in terms of one’s own value as a commodity in a marketplace. The higher one’s score, the more the person depends on their productivity to positively assess their self-worth and feel joy. Low scorers also attach their sense of self and capacity for happiness to how much they achieve.

Perfectionism Distortions: Denotes the tendency to measure self-worth in terms of failures, successes, performance, and outcomes. A low score indicates a capacity for flexible, appropriate, and meaningful standards. People with low scores feel satisfaction from experiences and processes without being fixated on their outcomes. For them, it is not necessary to stand out or be the best in order to feel fulfillment or joy, and they do not fear mistakes that they instead perceive as opportunities to learn and grow. A high score indicates a demand for perfection in oneself and a tendency to be inflexible, rigid, and irrationally high standards for oneself. To such people, failures are defining moments and good outcomes of the Holy Grail. Such people feel they are supposed to behave, think, feel, and look perfect at all times. Sensing that they’re less than the high standards demand may prompt anxiety or depressive episodes. They believe that their issues are connected to their performance while they’re actually connected to them living with unrealistic expectations and impossible personal standards.

Entitlement Distortions: Represents the tendency to feel entitled to, e.g., happiness, love, or success. A low score indicates that one doesn’t automatically expect and demand one’s wants to be met but instead recognizes that negotiation and personal agency are more likely to deliver what one desires. One recognizes that other people are different and unique and thus realizes there is no inherent reason why one’s expectations and demands should be fulfilled by default. Low scorers thus experience negative outcomes as disappointments but rarely as tragedies hindering their joy and happiness. A high score indicates that one expects and demands one’s wants to be accommodated automatically by others on account of one’s inherent uniqueness, goodness, or other positive self-judgments. If fulfillment does not happen, high scorers tend to become frustrated, and one of two reactions manifests from the resulting feelings of inadequacy. The frustration is either inwardly directed and depressive self-judgments or directed onto the environment as one becomes irritable and irate. Excessive amounts of mental energy are consumed by being frustrated, and much time is spent seeing life as a negative experience, making high scorers likely to complain while doing little to address the issues they feel entitled to have others solve for them.

Omnipotence Distortions: Reflects the tendency to experience oneself as the center of the universe and to feel responsible for what goes on around oneself. A low score indicates that the person recognizes that they’re not the center of the universe and that since they’re not in control of everything, they are not ultimately responsible for everything that goes on around them, but only for themselves. A high score indicates that a person unconsciously imagines themselves to be the focal point of the universe, believing that everything that goes on around them is related to them in some way, as if they were the main character in a movie. High scorers thus feel inappropriately responsible for events or the negative actions and attitudes of others, driving them to experience feelings of guilt and self-condemnation. They personalize what has nothing to do with them and feel threatened by disagreement. They frequently push people away by making everything about their own false sense of centrality.

Autonomy Distortions: Refers to the tendency to seek happiness from outside sources as opposed to within oneself. A low score indicates an ability to find happiness within oneself and an automatic recognition of one’s moods as products of one’s personal thoughts and attitudes. Low scorers assume responsibility for their positive and negative feelings as they understand them to ultimately be created by themselves and to the meaning they assign meaning to the subjective interpretations of their experiences. A high score indicates a belief that your potential for happiness and self-esteem comes from the outside, representing a severe disadvantage as everything outside is ultimately beyond one’s control. One’s mood becomes the result of external variables and conditions, wherefore one thus falls victim to factors outside of one’s control.

The Cognitive Distortions Test is inspired by the Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale (DAS), which was developed by Arlene Weissman at the University of Pennsylvania. While the Cognitive Distortions Test is based on the well-known DAS test, it cannot be used to provide clinical assessments or accurate evaluation of your personality. Clinical assessments should always be done in cooperation with a mental health professional. For more information about any of our online tests and quizzes, please consult our Terms of Service. Terms of Service.

Why Use This Test?

1. Free. The Cognitive Distortions Test is provided to you free of charge and allows you to obtain your scores related to autism in several different domains.

2. Scholarly oriented. Feedback derived from this test is based on the research of professionals in the field of cognitive psychology with the intent of delivering a clear picture of the respondent’s characteristics indicating cognitive distortions as measured according to standardized items in a self-report questionnaire format.

3. Acceptable validity and reliability. The Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale demonstrated high internal consistency as measured with Cronbachs’ alpha (a = .93).

4. Statistical controls. Test scores are logged into an anonymized database. Statistical analysis of the test is conducted to ensure maximum accuracy and validity of the test scores.

5. Made by professionals. The present test has been made with the input of people who work professionally with psychology and individual differences research.