ERIC Number: EJ835136
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Eyewitness Memory and Eyewitness Identification Performance in Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
Ternes, Marguerite; Yuille, John C.
Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, v21 n6 p519-531 Nov 2008
Background: Since individuals with intellectual disabilities are often the only witnesses to alleged crimes, it is important to know their capacity to provide eyewitness testimony. Methods: Twenty-two participants with intellectual disabilities and 23 comparison group participants had their photographs taken by a confederate. One to two weeks following the photography session, participants were interviewed about the event and were asked to identify the photographer. Two misleading questions, to test for suggestibility, were asked at the end of the interview. Results: Comparison group participants performed significantly better than participants with intellectual disabilities with a target-present lineup, but no significant differences were found between participant groups with a target-absent lineup. Comparison group participants performed significantly better than chance with the target-absent lineup, but participants with intellectual disabilities did not. In the interview, participants with intellectual disabilities provided significantly fewer details than comparison group participants, and the details provided by both groups were mainly accurate. Participants with intellectual disabilities were significantly more likely to acquiesce to one of the suggestive questions than comparison group participants, but the two participant groups did not differ in likelihood of acquiescence for the other suggestive question. Conclusions: It seems that individuals with intellectual disabilities may make adequate witnesses if they are interviewed in a non-leading manner. Future research should examine methods to improve their eyewitness identification performance.
Descriptors: Mental Retardation, Identification, Recall (Psychology), Adults, Crime, Memory, Comparative Analysis, Photography, Interviews, Control Groups
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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