An Investigation Into the Effects of Eye Contact On Child Compliance

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Daniel H. Tingstrom

Advisor Department



The effects of eye contact on compliance were examined with three participants in an alternate treatment design. Contingent praise followed child compliance across baseline and experimental sessions. Following baseline, commands were altered so that Effective Instruction Delivery (EID) was present in both treatment conditions. In the Eye Contact (EC) conditions, a request for eye contact preceded every command. In the No Eye Contact (No EC) conditions, commands were delivered without a request for eye contact. Overall compliance percentages improved for by 17% and 60% for 2 participants, but did not improve for the third. When eye contact was requested, compliance was higher for all 3 participants. Average compliance was 3% higher for Participant 1, 15% higher for Participant 2, and 18% higher for Participant 3. Although visual analysis of the graphical data demonstrated only slight gains for two of the participants, an evaluation of compliance under discrete situations in which eye contact was and was not established resulted in finding differences that were greater for Participant 2. Thus, it appears that eye contact does contribute positively to compliance training procedures.