shows the percentage of intervals of inappropriate social behavior (top panel) and appropriate social behavior (bottom panel) for the analyses conducted with Carl. During the first phase, he engaged in frequent inappropriate social behavior during the attention-social condition (M = 46%), with lower levels of inappropriate verbalizations occurring in the escape-social and control conditions. His appropriate social behaviors occurred at low levels. Reversal of the attention-social condition contingency in the second phase resulted in decreases in inappropriate social behaviors (M = 10%) with little change in appropriate verbalizations (M = 23%). Returning to Phase 1 conditions resulted in a pattern of behavior that was consistent with the first phase.
Percentage of intervals of Carl's inappropriate (top panel) and appropriate (bottom panel) social behavior during the attention-social, escape-social, and control conditions across the two phases of the functional analysis.
Bryan's data are shown in . Results of the first phase showed that Bryan's inappropriate social behavior was highest in the attention-social condition (M = 27). His appropriate social behaviors remained at low levels. A reversal of the reinforcement contingency in the attention-social condition in Phase 2 showed a decrease in inappropriate social behaviors (M = 7%) and an increase in appropriate social behaviors (M = 18%). Returning to the conditions of Phase 1 resulted in a pattern of social behavior that was similar to the initial baseline.
Percentage of intervals of Bryan's inappropriate (top panel) and appropriate (bottom panel) social behavior during the attention-social, escape-social, and control conditions across the two phases of the functional analysis.
The findings for Carl and Bryan suggest that their inappropriate and appropriate social behaviors constituted a response class of behaviors that were maintained by positive reinforcement in the form of social attention. Which topography of social behavior that occurred most frequently was a function of the reinforcement contingency for social attention. Such an observation suggests that interventions that manipulate matching law variables (Davison & McCarthy, 1988
) may serve as appropriate approaches for increasing social behaviors, just as they do for decreasing behaviors such as self-injury or aggression.
Stephen's data are shown in . Levels of inappropriate social behaviors gradually differentiated across sessions, with the highest level occurring during the attention-social condition (M = 21%). No occurrences of appropriate social behaviors were observed. The absence of any appropriate behavior during the analysis suggests that the student may not have had these behaviors in his repertoire. Anecdotal evidence suggested this was the case in that teachers reported the absence of appropriate social interactions; however, it could be that the behaviors occurred at an extremely low rate. To test the social skills deficit hypothesis, we could have placed all inappropriate social behaviors on extinction to determine if this would evoke other social behaviors. If results indicated a social skills deficit, social skills instruction would be the first intervention, so that alternative behaviors could be established in his repertoire.
Percentage of intervals of Stephen's inappropriate (top panel) and appropriate (bottom panel) social behavior during the attention-social, escape-social, and control conditions across the two phases of the functional analysis.
Although the participants' inappropriate social behavior was maintained by positive reinforcement, it is likely that similar behaviors can be maintained by social negative reinforcers. Negatively reinforced social behavior also may be amenable to function-based analysis. When analyzing escape-based social behavior, our procedures should be augmented to eliminate the provision of positive social comments by the peer. In addition, we speculate that some forms of inappropriate social behavior may serve an automatically reinforcing function for students with AS, similar to other forms of stereotypy. Whether instances of nonsocially reinforced behaviors occur in this population remains unknown. We offer these observations to help occasion additional research on the operant functions of inappropriate social behavior in individuals with AS, both in terms of assessment development and the construction of interventions.