The effects of sharing an experience on social interest in children and young adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and traits of Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Rachel Spooner


Sharing an experience is seen to increase liking and create bonds in typical individuals. Individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are typically isolated; they do not to appear have the skills necessary to form bonds with others. The current research used an intervention consisting of listening to music to cause those with ASD to share an experience with a confederate. There were two conditions; one where the participant and confederate listened to the same piece of music, one where they listened to different music. 24 participants with ASD and traits of ASD took part in the study. A modified version of Nadel et al's (2000) still-face task was used as an observation measure, along with ratings in the intervention phase. A trend was seen in the overall differences between the two conditions. Social interest appeared to increase in the same music condition from before the intervention to after. Participants moved further away from the confederate but this was correlated with turning to face them, implying that sharing an experience with someone encourages eye-to-face and eye contact with that person. Findings from the present research suggest that sharing an experience with a partner increases social interest in that person. This could be the important first step in forming bonds with individuals with ASD.

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