cial interaction, which may include a failure to develop friendships or to seek shared enjoyments or achievements with others (for example, showing others objects of interest), a lack of social or emotional reciprocity, and impaired nonverbal behaviors in areas such as eye contact, facial expression, posture, and gesture.
People with AS may not be as withdrawn around others as those with other, more debilitating, forms of autism;
they approach others, even if awkwardly. For example, a person with AS
may engage in a one-sided, long-winded speech about a favorite topic,
while misunderstanding or not recognizing the listener's feelings or
reactions, such as a need for privacy or haste to leave. This social awkwardness has been called "active but odd".
This failure to react appropriately to social interaction may appear as
disregard for other people's feelings, and may come across as
insensitive. However, not all individuals with AS will approach others. Some of them may even display selective mutism, speaking not at all to most people and excessively to specific people. Some may choose to talk only to people they like.
The cognitive ability of children with AS often allows them to articulate social norms in a laboratory context,
where they may be able to show a theoretical understanding of other
people's emotions; however, they typically have difficulty acting on
this knowledge in fluid, real-life situations.
People with AS may analyze and distill their observations of social
interaction into rigid behavioral guidelines, and apply these rules in
awkward ways, such as forced eye contact, resulting in a demeanor that
appears rigid or socially naive. Childhood desire for companionship can
become numbed through a history of failed social encounters.
The hypothesis that individuals with AS are predisposed to violent or criminal behavior has been investigated but is not supported by data. More evidence suggests children with AS are victims rather than victimizers. A 2008 review found that an overwhelming number of reported violent criminals with AS had coexisting psychiatric disorders such as schizoaffective disorder.