The Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) is an indirect assessment that uses a questionnaire designed to identify situations a behavior is likely to be elicited. It is comprised of questions with response selections that use a Likert Scale, ranging from 0 (Never) to 6 (Always). Each question asks about how the behavior occurs, given a direct situation. From this information, more informed decisions can be made regarding appropriate reinforcers, treatments, and replacement behaviors.

When completing the MAS, the target behavior has to be specific. Typical examples given include “hitting others” and “hitting (specific person)”. Typical non-examples (too general) include “physical aggression” and “aggressive”. After selecting the target behavior, read each question and circle the scaled number response (rating) that you feel best describes the behavior frequency.

After you have responded to all the questions, each one corresponds to a different behavioral function (Sensory, Escape Demands, Escape Attention, Attention, and Tangible), resulting in a total score for each function. This score is then averaged for each function (not all functions will have the same number of corresponding questions). The average score for each function is then ranked from 1st to 5th, indicating the hierarchy of behavioral functions reinforcing behaviors.

MAS-II (2nd edition) Sample Questions

  1. Would the behavior occur continuously, over and over, if this person was left alone for long periods of time? (For example, several hours.)
  2. Does the behavior occur following a request to perform a difficult task?
  3. Does this behavior occur when others are attending to him or her?
  4. Does the behavior occur in response to your talking to other persons in the room?
  5. Does the behavior ever occur to get a toy, food, or activity that this person has been told that he or she can’t have?

MAS II Rating Scale

0 – Never
1 – Almost Never
2 – Seldom
3 – Half the Time
4 – Usually
5 – Almost Always
6 – Always