Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Elisa Krackow

Committee Co-Chair

Regina A Carroll

Committee Member

Constance Toffle


The purpose of the current study is to examine the effects of child witnesses with autism spectrum disorder on jurors' perceptions. Participants were randomly assigned to one of five experimental conditions displaying scenarios varying the characteristics (autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, and typically developing) of a 6-year-old female child who alleged sexual maltreatment. Participants were asked to provide a series of ratings regarding the child's credibility, "accuracy, suggestibility, and ability to testify based on facts" (Orcutt et al., 2001, p. 346; see also Thomas & Krackow, 2016), as well as defendant guilt (Tessier & Krackow, 2013). Overall, the data suggest that children depicted as having some form of autism spectrum disorder were rated as less credible witnesses, less accurate in their testimony, more suggestible, and less likely to provide testimony based on fact. The defendants were rated as less guilty in the autism spectrum disorder conditions than when children were depicted as typically developing.