Given the impaired facial recognition of autistic individuals, we examined whether certain autism-spectrum traits affected eyewitness identification performance in a general adult population. In a sample of 120 individuals, levels of autism-spectrum traits were examined in relation to performance on simultaneous vs. sequential lineups using a signal detection paradigm. For simultaneous lineups, total Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) scores and scores on the excessive Attention to detail subscale were related to fewer hits and a more conservative response criterion. Attention to detail interacted with lineup type in that it was significantly related to improved discrimination accuracy and a less conservative response criterion in sequential lineups, but with impaired discrimination accuracy and a more conservative response criterion in simultaneous lineups. Higher AQ scores on the Attention switching subscale resulted in fewer hits, lower discrimination accuracy, and a more conservative response criterion with sequential lineups. Additionally, partial disguises led to more false alarms but not decreased accuracy. More thorough investigations of the effect of lineup type on identifications are needed before policy changes are recommended.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/christian_meissner/67/