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Social Reciprocity

Social reciprocity is the back-and-forth flow of social interaction. The term reciprocity refers to how the behavior of one person influences and is influenced by the behavior of another person and vice versa. Social reciprocity is the dance of social interaction and involves partners working together on a common goal of successful interaction. Adjustments are made by both partners until success is achieved. The skills involved in social reciprocity in very young children begin with showing interest in interacting with others and exchanging smiles. This builds to being able to share conventional meanings with words, and later topics, in conversation. Impairment in social reciprocity may be seen in not taking an active role in social games, preferring solitary activities, or using a person’s hand as a tool or a person as if they are mechanical objects. This may lead to not noticing another person’s distress or lack of interest in the focus or topic of conversation.