The Latest

from Guru Bob @ the temple: “Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when they hear you, you’re a mile away and you’ve got their shoes.”


Two new papers in PPPL, one in Frontiers in Neurology – & several others just out

Lucas, C. A., Brewer, N., & Palmer, M. A. (in press, 2020).  Eyewitness identification: The complex issue of suspect-filler similarity.  Psychology, Public Policy, and Law.

Palmer, M. A., Brewer, N., Weber, N., & Sauer, J. D. (in press, 2020). Eyewitness identifications of multiple culprits: Disconfirming feedback following one lineup decision impairs identification of another culprit.  Psychology, Public Policy, and Law.

Brewer, N., Young, R. L., & Lucas, C. A. (2020).  Autism screening in early childhood: Discriminating autism from other developmental concerns.  Frontiers in Neurology, 11, 594381, 1-18.

Douglass, A.B., Lucas, C. A., & Brewer, N. (2020, online ahead of print). Co-witness identification speed affects false identification rates. Law and Human Behavior.

Lucas, C. A., Brewer, N., Michael, Z., & Foster, T. (2020). The effects of explicit ‘Not Present’ and ‘Don’t Know’ response options on identification decisions in computer administered lineups. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 34, 1495-1509.

Kucina, T., Sauer, J. D., Holt, G. A., Brewer, N., & Palmer, M. A. (2020).  Refining the blank lineup procedure: How should we instruct eyewitnesses?  Applied Cognitive Psychology, 34, 1419-1429.

Young, R. L., & Brewer, N. (2020). Perspective taking deficits, autism spectrum disorder, and allaying police officers’ suspicions about criminal involvement. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 50, 2234-2239.

Feb 2020 – hot off the press, a detailed analysis of how to improve police photoarrays and lineups

The paper was commissioned by Division 41 of the American Psychological Association; the 6 authors were invited; and (as well as the normal journal reviewing processes) the various iterations of the manuscript were reviewed in sessions at major international conferences:

Wells, G. L., Kovera, M. B., Douglass, A. B., Brewer, N., Meissner, C., & Wixted, J. (2020).  Policy and procedure recommendations for the collection and preservation of eyewitness identification evidence.  Law and Human Behavior, 44, 3-36. [see background to the paper here]

BUT, even when done well, they are far from perfect … & our American Psychologist paper from January 2020 (see below) outlines a radical new way of conducting identification tests !

Jan 2020 – major new paper out in American Psychologist on what’s wrong with police lineups and how to fix the problem

Brewer, N., Weber, N., & Guerin, N. (2020). Police line-ups of the future? American Psychologist, 75, 76-91.

Forthcoming article – plus a chapter just out

The article with colleagues at University of Bath (UK) extends our memory research to ASD in a special issue of Autism Research. The chapter focuses on our new ARC-funded research on how perspective taking deficits often seen in ASD individuals may contribute to problematic interactions with the police.

Maras, K., Norris, J., & Brewer, N. (in press, accepted January 24, 2020).  Metacognitive monitoring and control of eyewitness memory reports in autism.  Autism Research.

Brewer, N., & Young, R. L. (2020).  Police-citizen interactions, theory of mind, and ASD.  In F. R. Volkmar (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders.  New York, NY: Springer.

Current Research

As has been the case for the last 20 years or so, his current research activities are divided between two main areas, both concerned with applications of experimental psychology to problems in the criminal justice system. One focus is in the area of eyewitness memory, eyewitness identification testing and the significance of eyewitness metacognitions (e.g., confidence) in interpreting eyewitness memories. The other focus relates to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), currently investigating those cognitive and social characteristics of ASD that may contribute to problematic interactions with the criminal justice system.

Follow his Psychology Today commentary on Weighing the Evidence: Memory and the mind in the criminal justice system.

“Pick the bad guy”