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Mock Juror Perceptions of Child Witnesses on the Autism Spectrum: The Impact of Providing Diagnostic Labels and Information About Autism.

Authors
  • Crane, Laura1, 2
  • Wilcock, Rachel3
  • Maras, Katie L4
  • Chui, Wing5
  • Marti-Sanchez, Carmen5
  • Henry, Lucy A6
  • 1 Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE), UCL Institute of Education, University College London, London, WC1H 0NU, UK. [email protected]
  • 2 Division of Language and Communication Science, City, University of London, London, UK. [email protected]
  • 3 Department of Psychology, University of Winchester, Winchester, UK.
  • 4 Department of Psychology, University of Bath, Bath, UK.
  • 5 Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, UK.
  • 6 Division of Language and Communication Science, City, University of London, London, UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
May 01, 2020
Volume
50
Issue
5
Pages
1509–1519
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10803-018-3700-0
PMID: 30056502
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Research suggests that autistic children can provide accurate and forensically useful eyewitness evidence. However, members of a jury also rely on non-verbal behaviours when judging the credibility of a witness, and this could determine the verdict of a case. We presented mock jurors with videos (from an experimental study) of one of two child witnesses on the autism spectrum being interviewed about a mock minor crime. Results demonstrated that providing jurors with generic information about autism and/or informing them of the child's diagnostic label differentially affected credibility ratings, but not for both children. Implications for how to present information about child witnesses with autism to a jury-highlighting the need for approaches tailored to individual children-are discussed.

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