TASER® Exposure and Cognitive Impairment
Implications for Valid Miranda Waivers and the Timing of Police Custodial Interrogations
Version of Record online: 2 DEC 2015
© 2015 American Society of Criminology
Criminology & Public Policy
Volume 15, Issue 1, pages 79–107, February 2016
How to Cite
Kane, R. J. and White, M. D. (2016), TASER® Exposure and Cognitive Impairment. Criminology & Public Policy, 15: 79–107. doi: 10.1111/1745-9133.12173
- Issue online: 16 FEB 2016
- Version of Record online: 2 DEC 2015
- U.S. Department of Justice. Grant Number: 2011-IJ-CX-0102
This study reports findings from a randomized controlled trial that examined the effects of the TASER® (a conducted energy weapon sold by TASER International, Scottsdale, Arizona) on several dimensions of cognitive functioning. The research demonstrated that in a sample of healthy human volunteer participants, TASER exposure led to significant and substantial reductions in (a) short-term auditory recall and (b) abilities to assimilate new information through auditory processes. The effects lasted up to 1 hour for most subjects, almost all of whom returned to baseline 60 minutes postexposure.
The study applies the findings of reduced cognitive functioning among healthy participants in a laboratory setting to criminal suspects in field settings and questions the abilities of “average” suspects to waive their Miranda rights knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily within 60 minutes of a TASER exposure. The study poses the question: What would it cost police to wait 60 minutes after a TASER deployment before engaging suspects in custodial interrogations?