An experimental analysis of "spillover" effects on the social interaction of behaviorally handicapped preschool children

J Appl Behav Anal. 1976 Spring;9(1):31-40. doi: 10.1901/jaba.1976.9-31.


The effects of prompting and social reinforcement directed to target subjects on their social behavior and that of peers who never received prompting and reinforcement for positive social behavior, were examined. In a combined reversal and multiple-baseline design, three behaviorally handicapped preschool boys who exhibited divergent social behavior repertoires and varied histories with social reinforcement events were sequentially exposed to intervention conditions in order to investigate "spillover" of treatment effects. Prompting and reinforcement increased positive social behavior and decreased negative social behavior emitted by all target subjects. The results also demonstrated a "spillover" effect on two target subjects, who at various times were not under intervention, and on the peers as well. The findings suggest that: (a) the direct and indirect effects of intervention procedures may be enhanced by designing treatment based on the social repertoire and reinforcement histories of the subjects; and (b) the treatment "spillover" effect may be increased by applying procedures to two children at once, rather than at one at a time.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / therapy*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Imitative Behavior*
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Peer Group
  • Reinforcement, Social*
  • Verbal Behavior