And now the big project begins! With the support of her committee and a departmental grant, Kristina begins the journey of a project designed to better understand forensic interviews with children with autism.
Kristina Todorovic was awarded the Department of Psychology Meritorious Research Grant for her dissertation entitled Event Memory and Susceptibility to Different Modes of Suggestion in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Abstract: To date, evidence-based guidelines for interviewing children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) do not exist. A number of different evidence-based interview protocols exist worldwide, but the protocols were empirically derived based on typically developing (TD) children. Past studies have reported children with ASD display similar levels of suggestibility to misleading questions compared to TD children. However, extant studies are scant and have relied on a single measure of suggestibility. Thus, the proposed study will investigate whether event memory and susceptibility to different modes of suggestion (e.g., free recall, interrogative suggestibility, misinformation effects, and source misattribution) differ among children with ASD and TD age- and gender-matched peers. Children will be excluded from data analyses if they have a Full-Scale IQ below 90. In the proposed study, 60 (30 ASD, 30 TD) 6- to 9-year- old children will participant in a two-session study. Primary caregivers will complete assessments on their child’s autistic traits and anxiety. In Session 1, children will individually engage in a staged event. During the event, children will be asked to keep a secret about a minor transgression (“breaking” a toy) the research assistant commits. Immediately after, children will be interviewed using free recall prompts and given true and false reminders about the event. After a short break, children will be administered two subscales of the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (2nd edition). Two weeks later, in Session 2, an unfamiliar interviewer will assess children’s recall and recognition memory for the staged event. Children will also be asked about the minor transgression to assess whether they keep the secret or disclose the transgression. Children will then complete child-normed neutral and emotionally-valenced Deese Roediger-McDermott tasks and a trust belief scale. In addition to the theoretical contribution, these results will be important to professionals who interview children with ASD by further understanding how autobiographical memory works in children with ASD. If successful, these results can be used to develop evidence-based guidelines for interviewing children with ASD and to guide early intervention programs.
Kristina Todorovic will be presenting her paper Does Metasuggestibility Predict Memory Distortion Among School-aged Children? at the annual meeting of the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS). The conference will be held in New Orleans, LA March 5th to March 7th.
Abstract: Metacognition is defined in short as ‘thinking about thinking.’ Knowledge about memory has received extensive research attention and found to predict the development of children’s memory strategies. In the current study, we explored children’s metasuggestibility as an underlying mechanism of memory suggestibility. Ninety-four 7- to 9-year-olds participated in a metasuggestibility task and a standard misinformation paradigm, with task order randomly assigned. Results revealed 7-year-olds profited more from the metasuggestibility-first order task than older children. We believe because 7-year-olds are not at the threshold of concept attainment they cannot reflect on previous experiences to make this link. Implications are discussed.
Dr. London will appear in an upcoming 5-part docu-series that will be airing on Showtime. The network has announced the air date for the first episode on Friday, April 3rd at 8:00pm ET.
The documentary has been accepted at into the South by Southwest film festival and will have its world premiere there. For more information on the docs-series, click here.
We were honored to meet one of the men falsely convicted in the Central Park Jogger case, one of the exonerated five! Hopefully this case reminds us to conduct proper investigative interviews and not rush to judgment.
Quincy Miller successfully defended her masters thesis entitled: Jurors’ Perceptions of Sexual and Gender Minority Victims of Child Sexual Abuse.
Thank you to all of the RA’s for your hard work this semester! We look forward to another semester with those who are staying and best of luck to those graduating!! 🙂
Title: The Role of Contextual Pre-Interview Information in Child Sexual Abuse Forensic Interviews
Abstract: Forensic interviewers are expected to conduct unbiased investigations of crime. In the field of child sexual abuse, interviewers are often provided pre-interview information, increasing the risk of confirmation bias. The purpose of the present study is to investigate if pre-interview information pertaining to an alleged victim’s psychosocial history affects interviewers’ perceived credibility of the abuse allegation and interviewing style. Forensic interviewers will read a case summary in which pre-interview information is manipulated and conduct a mock forensic interview with the alleged victim. Interviewers will also provide subjective base rate estimates pertaining to behavioral indicators among abused and non-abused children.
Kristina Todorovic and Christina Perez are collecting data at our local children’s museum (Imagination Station) as part of our new partnership.