Autism Journal Club

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

Sarune Savickaite will be presenting the following paper. Zoom details: 812-298-9629 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 diferentially afected 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.