The Latest

& just now from Guru Bob @ the temple: “If you fall off the donkey 7 times, you must bounce back up 8 times. BUT, if you fall off the donkey 10 times, you’re not cut out for riding donkeys.”

Accepted, now online:

Lucas, C. A., & Brewer, N. (2021, online ahead of print).  Could precise and replicable manipulations of suspect-filler similarity optimize eyewitness identification performance?  Psychology, Public Policy and Law.  


Just out – in JADD, a JARMAC target article … & more

A new Theory of Mind (i.e., perspective taking) test for autistic adults – quick to administer & score (& Open Access):

Brewer, N., Young, R. L., Norris, J. E., Maras, K., Michael, Z., & Barnett, E. (2021, online ahead of print).  A quick measure of theory of mind in autistic adults: Decision accuracy, latency and self-awareness.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Co-authored with veteran US criminal litigator, James Doyle, author of “True witness: Cops, courts, science, and the battle against misidentification” and the US attorney’s Bible, “Eyewitness testimony: Civil and criminal” – also Open Access:

Brewer, N., & Doyle, J. (2021). Changing the face of police lineups: Delivering more information from witnesses. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 10, 180-195.

Plus some others recently accepted:

Lim, A., Brewer, N., & Young, R. L. (2021, online ahead of print). Revisiting the relationship between cybercrime, autistic traits, and autism.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.  

Brewer, N., Zweck, T., Lucas, C. A., & Guidolin, M. (2021, online ahead of print). Eyewitnesses’ pre-lineup memory strength inferences can influence identification decisions. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology.  

Logos, K., Brewer, N., & Young, R. L. (2021).  Countering biased judgments of individuals who display autism-characteristic behavior in forensic settings.  Human Communication Research, 47, 215-247.

Lim, A., Young, R. L., & Brewer, N.  (2021, online ahead of print).  Autistic individuals may be erroneously perceived as deceptive and lacking credibility.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. (Open Access)

And a few more recent ones

Lucas, C. A., Brewer, N., & Palmer, M. A. (2021).  Eyewitness identification: The complex issue of suspect-filler similarity.  Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 27, 151-169.

Palmer, M. A., Brewer, N., Weber, N., & Sauer, J. D. (2021). Eyewitness identifications of multiple culprits: Disconfirming feedback following one lineup decision impairs identification of another culprit.  Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 27, 170-183

Douglass, A.B., Lucas, C. A., & Brewer, N. (2021). Co-witness identification speed affects false identification rates. Law and Human Behavior, 44, 474-484.

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. (Open Access)

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 – 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.

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”