Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 40, Issue 11, pp 1350–1360 | Cite as

The Cognitive Interview for Eyewitnesses with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Katie L. Maras
  • Dermot M. Bowler
Original Paper


The cognitive interview (CI) is one of the most widely accepted forms of interviewing techniques for eliciting the most detailed, yet accurate reports from witnesses. No research, however, has examined its effectiveness with witnesses with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Twenty-six adults with ASD and 26 matched typical adults viewed a video of an enacted crime, and were then interviewed with either a CI, or a structured interview (SI) without the CI mnemonics. Groups did not differ on the quantity or quality of their reports when interviewed with a SI, however, when interviewed with a CI the ASD group was significantly less accurate. Findings indicate that investigative professionals should be cautious in relying on the CI to interview witnesses with ASD.


Autism spectrum disorder Cognitive interview Eyewitness Memory Recall Structured interview 



The work reported in this paper was undertaken as part of ongoing research in fulfilment of a City University-funded PhD by the first author. Special thanks to Sebastian Gaigg (City University London) for his generous time and helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Autism Research Group, Department of PsychologyCity University LondonLondonUK

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