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Eyewitness recall and suggestibility in individuals with Down syndrome

Collins, D. A. & Henry, L. (2016). Eyewitness recall and suggestibility in individuals with Down syndrome. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, doi: 10.1111/jir.12310


Background: Many criminal justice professionals perceive the eyewitness skills of individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) to be weaker than those of typically developing (TD) individuals. Down syndrome (DS) is one of the most common genetic causes of ID, yet there is no research addressing eyewitness skills in this population. This study examinedthe eyewitness recall and suggestibility of young peoplewith DS.

Method: Young people with DS and mental age-matched TD children viewed a video of a non-violent petty crime and were subsequently asked to freely recall the event before being asked general and specific questions incorporating both misleading and non-leading prompts.

Results: Compared to mental age-matched TDindividuals, young people with DS:produced as much information; were just as accurate;and were no moresuggestible.

Conclusions: The eyewitness memory skills of young people with DS are comparable to those of mental age-matched TDchildren. The implications of these findings for the forensic context and eyewitness memory are discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Collins, D.A. and Henry, L.A. (2016) Eyewitness recall and suggestibility in individuals with Down syndrome, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving
Publisher Keywords: Intellectual disabilities; Down syndrome; eyewitness memory; suggestibility; criminal justice system
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA1001 Forensic Medicine. Medical jurisprudence. Legal medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
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