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

Henry, L; Crane, L; Fesser, E; Harvey, A; Palmer, L; Wilcock, R; (2020) The narrative coherence of witness transcripts in children on the autism spectrum. Research in Developmental Disabilities , 96 , Article 103518. 10.1016/j.ridd.2019.103518. Green open access

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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.

Type: Article
Title: The narrative coherence of witness transcripts in children on the autism spectrum
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2019.103518
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2019.103518
Language: English
Additional information: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Keywords: children, autism, eyewitness testimony, narrative coherence, story grammar
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10083988
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