Brief Report: Eyewitness identification in child witnesses on the autism spectrum: eyewitness identification in children with Autism

Rachel Wilcock, Laura Crane, Zoe Hobson, Gilly Nash, Mimi Kirke-smith, Henry Lucy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background. Although there is increasing interest in the capabilities of children with autism at different stages of the criminal justice process, there is little research into how well this group perform when asked to identify perpetrators from identification lineups. This is despite theoretical and empirical literature suggesting that autistic children experience face recognition memory difficulties. Method. As part of a broader study into eyewitness memory skills, 50 children with autism and 162 children with typical development (TD) (all with IQs > 69) watched a mock crime event (either live or on a video) involving two male perpetrators. One week later, their eyewitness identification skills were compared, with children asked to identify the perpetrators from two ecologically valid video lineups. The children were also assessed on a standardised face memory task. Results. When asked to identify perpetrators in the video lineups, in many respects the autistic children performed at an equivalent level to the TD children. This was despite the TD children outperforming the autistic children on the standardized face memory task. Conclusions. These preliminary findings suggest that group differences between autistic and TD children may not always emerge on an ecologically valid, real world eyewitness identification lineup task, despite autistic children showing poorer performance on a standardized face memory task. However, as identification performance in both groups was low, it remains important for future research to identify how to scaffold eyewitness identification performance in both children with and without an autism diagnosis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume66
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Child witnesses
  • Eyewitness memory
  • Face memory
  • Identification lineup

Cite this

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title = "Brief Report: Eyewitness identification in child witnesses on the autism spectrum: eyewitness identification in children with Autism",
abstract = "Background. Although there is increasing interest in the capabilities of children with autism at different stages of the criminal justice process, there is little research into how well this group perform when asked to identify perpetrators from identification lineups. This is despite theoretical and empirical literature suggesting that autistic children experience face recognition memory difficulties. Method. As part of a broader study into eyewitness memory skills, 50 children with autism and 162 children with typical development (TD) (all with IQs > 69) watched a mock crime event (either live or on a video) involving two male perpetrators. One week later, their eyewitness identification skills were compared, with children asked to identify the perpetrators from two ecologically valid video lineups. The children were also assessed on a standardised face memory task. Results. When asked to identify perpetrators in the video lineups, in many respects the autistic children performed at an equivalent level to the TD children. This was despite the TD children outperforming the autistic children on the standardized face memory task. Conclusions. These preliminary findings suggest that group differences between autistic and TD children may not always emerge on an ecologically valid, real world eyewitness identification lineup task, despite autistic children showing poorer performance on a standardized face memory task. However, as identification performance in both groups was low, it remains important for future research to identify how to scaffold eyewitness identification performance in both children with and without an autism diagnosis.",
keywords = "Autism, Child witnesses, Eyewitness memory, Face memory, Identification lineup",
author = "Rachel Wilcock and Laura Crane and Zoe Hobson and Gilly Nash and Mimi Kirke-smith and Henry Lucy",
year = "2019",
month = "6",
day = "18",
doi = "10.1016/j.rasd.2019.05.007",
language = "English",
volume = "66",
journal = "Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders",
issn = "1750-9467",
publisher = "Elsevier BV",

}

Brief Report: Eyewitness identification in child witnesses on the autism spectrum : eyewitness identification in children with Autism. / Wilcock, Rachel; Crane, Laura; Hobson, Zoe; Nash, Gilly ; Kirke-smith, Mimi; Lucy, Henry.

In: Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Vol. 66, 18.06.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Brief Report: Eyewitness identification in child witnesses on the autism spectrum

T2 - eyewitness identification in children with Autism

AU - Wilcock, Rachel

AU - Crane, Laura

AU - Hobson, Zoe

AU - Nash, Gilly

AU - Kirke-smith, Mimi

AU - Lucy, Henry

PY - 2019/6/18

Y1 - 2019/6/18

N2 - Background. Although there is increasing interest in the capabilities of children with autism at different stages of the criminal justice process, there is little research into how well this group perform when asked to identify perpetrators from identification lineups. This is despite theoretical and empirical literature suggesting that autistic children experience face recognition memory difficulties. Method. As part of a broader study into eyewitness memory skills, 50 children with autism and 162 children with typical development (TD) (all with IQs > 69) watched a mock crime event (either live or on a video) involving two male perpetrators. One week later, their eyewitness identification skills were compared, with children asked to identify the perpetrators from two ecologically valid video lineups. The children were also assessed on a standardised face memory task. Results. When asked to identify perpetrators in the video lineups, in many respects the autistic children performed at an equivalent level to the TD children. This was despite the TD children outperforming the autistic children on the standardized face memory task. Conclusions. These preliminary findings suggest that group differences between autistic and TD children may not always emerge on an ecologically valid, real world eyewitness identification lineup task, despite autistic children showing poorer performance on a standardized face memory task. However, as identification performance in both groups was low, it remains important for future research to identify how to scaffold eyewitness identification performance in both children with and without an autism diagnosis.

AB - Background. Although there is increasing interest in the capabilities of children with autism at different stages of the criminal justice process, there is little research into how well this group perform when asked to identify perpetrators from identification lineups. This is despite theoretical and empirical literature suggesting that autistic children experience face recognition memory difficulties. Method. As part of a broader study into eyewitness memory skills, 50 children with autism and 162 children with typical development (TD) (all with IQs > 69) watched a mock crime event (either live or on a video) involving two male perpetrators. One week later, their eyewitness identification skills were compared, with children asked to identify the perpetrators from two ecologically valid video lineups. The children were also assessed on a standardised face memory task. Results. When asked to identify perpetrators in the video lineups, in many respects the autistic children performed at an equivalent level to the TD children. This was despite the TD children outperforming the autistic children on the standardized face memory task. Conclusions. These preliminary findings suggest that group differences between autistic and TD children may not always emerge on an ecologically valid, real world eyewitness identification lineup task, despite autistic children showing poorer performance on a standardized face memory task. However, as identification performance in both groups was low, it remains important for future research to identify how to scaffold eyewitness identification performance in both children with and without an autism diagnosis.

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KW - Child witnesses

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KW - Face memory

KW - Identification lineup

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M3 - Article

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JO - Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders

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