Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Autism in the interrogation room

People cope with police interviews and being locked up in different ways, making some vulnerable to making false confessions which can lead to miscarriages of justice. It is not clear whether people with autism are more vulnerable at interviews, or more prone to respond negatively to questioning. A study by researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry compared 26 people with high-functioning autism to a control group of 27 unaffected people. People with autism were rated as significantly more compliant than the controls and also had higher scores on measures of depression, anxiety, fear of negative social evaluation and paranoia. The researchers concluded that people with autism may be more eager to please, or to avoid confrontation and conflict, than other people and may be more prone to respond compliantly to requests and demands.

North, Alice S., Russell, Ailsa J. and Gudjonsson, Gisli H. - High functioning autism spectrum disorders: an investigation of psychological vulnerabilities during interrogative interview Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology September 2008, 19(3), 323-324

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