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.
- Criminal justice
- Eyewitness memory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
Crane, L., Wilcock, R., Maras, K. L., Chui, W., Marti-Sanchez, C., & Henry, L. A. (2020). Mock juror perceptions of child witnesses on the autism spectrum: The impact of providing diagnostic labels and information about autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 50, 1509-1519. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-018-3700-0