Autism Research at Rider

Ongoing research is being conducted by affiliated faculty in the Departments of Psychology and Education. Below is a partial list of current projects that are actively recruiting participants.

Visual Attention 
This project is funded by NIH and focuses on understanding the visual processing strengths and weaknesses of people with various types of developmental disabilities (i.e., autism, Down syndrome). Participants must find a hidden object in various types of visual arrays. The arrays are changed systematically so a better understanding is obtained of how the environment affects visual attention performance. The arrays vary in color, shape, size, and number of objects to see how these variables affect detection times. The goal is to apply this knowledge to the design of visual supports for education and for communication devices for people with developmental disabilities. This research provides the guidance for making these supports more effective and efficient for learners and communicators.



Eyewitness Testimony
This project is designed to increase understanding of the accuracy of eyewitness testimony regarding a crime. Participants are those with and without developmental disabilities. Participants are shown a video of a crime (robbery) taking place in a park. They are then asked questions about the crime, the people involved, and the surroundings to see how well they remember and report details about the crime. The goal is to determine the validity of eyewitness reports for those with and without developmental disabilities, and to determine the types of evidence that are best remembered.

If you are interested in participating in this research
Please contact Dr. Michael Carlin at (609)895-5424 or



Testimonies of people with developmental disabilties
We also are beginning a study of how the testimony of people with developmental disabilities is viewed by jurors. In this study we want to show videotapes of people with developmental disabilities answering questions about the crime witnessed. These videos would then be shown to “jurors” to see how they rate the credibility and accuracy of the witness. Some “jurors” will see the videotapes whereas others will simply hear the testimony or read the testimony. These comparisons will allow us to determine the role of visual cues in ratings of credibility.

If you are interested in participating in this research
If you or your child would like to be an "actor" for this study and be videotaped while answering questions,
please contact Dr. Michael Carlin at (609)895-5424 or