The effectiveness of strategies a physically disabled person can use to increase a nondisabled person's willingness to engage in social interaction were investigated. In the strategies, the disabled person engages in behavior demonstrating that he/she is not preoccupied with the disability.

Female college students chose the amount of time to be spent listening to music versus social interaction before and after learning that the other was a disabled male. The subject witnessed via “closed circuit” TV (actually a videotape) a brief interaction between the male and another female in the waiting room from which the subject had just come. In the Interest in others condition, the male encouraged the female to talk about herself. In the Typical activities condition, the male mentioned he had to pick up tickets, organize a party, and study for an exam. In the Athletic activities condition, the male mentioned he went swimming and bowling. In the Request condition, the male asked the female to pick up a paper he had dropped. In the Control condition, there was limited interaction. In the Inappropriate communication condition, the male mentioned the same activities as in the Typical activities condition but talked continuously without waiting for polite interest from the female.

Changes in preference for social interaction were significantly more positive in the Attentive to others, Typical activities and Athletic activities conditions than in the Control conditions. It was concluded that demonstrating interest in others, typical activities and athletic activities are effective strategies.