The narrative coherence of witness transcripts in children on the autism spectrum

narrative coherence of witness transcripts

Lucy Henry, Laura Crane, Eva Fesser, Anna Harvey, Lucy Palmer, Rachel Wilcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background and Aims. Autistic children often recall fewer details about witnessed events than typically developing children (of comparable age and ability), although the information they recall is generally no less accurate. Previous research has not examined the narrative coherence of such accounts, despite higher quality narratives potentially being perceived more favourably by criminal justice professionals and juries. This study compared the narrative coherence of witness transcripts produced by autistic and typically developing (TD) children (ages 6-11 years, IQs 70+).
Methods and Procedures. Secondary analysis was carried out on interview transcripts from a subset of 104 participants (autism=52, TD=52) who had taken part in a larger study of eyewitness skills in autistic and TD children. Groups were matched on chronological age, IQ and receptive language ability. Coding frameworks were adopted from existing narrative research, featuring elements of ‘story grammar’.
Outcomes and Results. Whilst fewer event details were reported by autistic children, there were no group differences in narrative coherence (number and diversity of ‘story grammar’ elements used), narrative length or semantic diversity.
Conclusions and Implications. These findings suggest that the narrative coherence of autistic children’s witness accounts is equivalent to TD peers of comparable age and ability.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume96
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Children
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Narrative coherence
  • Story grammar

Cite this

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title = "The narrative coherence of witness transcripts in children on the autism spectrum: narrative coherence of witness transcripts",
abstract = "Background and Aims. Autistic children often recall fewer details about witnessed events than typically developing children (of comparable age and ability), although the information they recall is generally no less accurate. Previous research has not examined the narrative coherence of such accounts, despite higher quality narratives potentially being perceived more favourably by criminal justice professionals and juries. This study compared the narrative coherence of witness transcripts produced by autistic and typically developing (TD) children (ages 6-11 years, IQs 70+). Methods and Procedures. Secondary analysis was carried out on interview transcripts from a subset of 104 participants (autism=52, TD=52) who had taken part in a larger study of eyewitness skills in autistic and TD children. Groups were matched on chronological age, IQ and receptive language ability. Coding frameworks were adopted from existing narrative research, featuring elements of ‘story grammar’. Outcomes and Results. Whilst fewer event details were reported by autistic children, there were no group differences in narrative coherence (number and diversity of ‘story grammar’ elements used), narrative length or semantic diversity. Conclusions and Implications. These findings suggest that the narrative coherence of autistic children’s witness accounts is equivalent to TD peers of comparable age and ability.",
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author = "Lucy Henry and Laura Crane and Eva Fesser and Anna Harvey and Lucy Palmer and Rachel Wilcock",
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The narrative coherence of witness transcripts in children on the autism spectrum : narrative coherence of witness transcripts. / Henry, Lucy ; Crane, Laura; Fesser, Eva; Harvey, Anna; Palmer, Lucy; Wilcock, Rachel.

In: Research in Developmental Disabilities, Vol. 96, 19.11.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

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AU - Crane, Laura

AU - Fesser, Eva

AU - Harvey, Anna

AU - Palmer, Lucy

AU - Wilcock, Rachel

PY - 2019/11/19

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N2 - Background and Aims. Autistic children often recall fewer details about witnessed events than typically developing children (of comparable age and ability), although the information they recall is generally no less accurate. Previous research has not examined the narrative coherence of such accounts, despite higher quality narratives potentially being perceived more favourably by criminal justice professionals and juries. This study compared the narrative coherence of witness transcripts produced by autistic and typically developing (TD) children (ages 6-11 years, IQs 70+). Methods and Procedures. Secondary analysis was carried out on interview transcripts from a subset of 104 participants (autism=52, TD=52) who had taken part in a larger study of eyewitness skills in autistic and TD children. Groups were matched on chronological age, IQ and receptive language ability. Coding frameworks were adopted from existing narrative research, featuring elements of ‘story grammar’. Outcomes and Results. Whilst fewer event details were reported by autistic children, there were no group differences in narrative coherence (number and diversity of ‘story grammar’ elements used), narrative length or semantic diversity. Conclusions and Implications. These findings suggest that the narrative coherence of autistic children’s witness accounts is equivalent to TD peers of comparable age and ability.

AB - Background and Aims. Autistic children often recall fewer details about witnessed events than typically developing children (of comparable age and ability), although the information they recall is generally no less accurate. Previous research has not examined the narrative coherence of such accounts, despite higher quality narratives potentially being perceived more favourably by criminal justice professionals and juries. This study compared the narrative coherence of witness transcripts produced by autistic and typically developing (TD) children (ages 6-11 years, IQs 70+). Methods and Procedures. Secondary analysis was carried out on interview transcripts from a subset of 104 participants (autism=52, TD=52) who had taken part in a larger study of eyewitness skills in autistic and TD children. Groups were matched on chronological age, IQ and receptive language ability. Coding frameworks were adopted from existing narrative research, featuring elements of ‘story grammar’. Outcomes and Results. Whilst fewer event details were reported by autistic children, there were no group differences in narrative coherence (number and diversity of ‘story grammar’ elements used), narrative length or semantic diversity. Conclusions and Implications. These findings suggest that the narrative coherence of autistic children’s witness accounts is equivalent to TD peers of comparable age and ability.

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