Examining Cognitive Functioning Following TASER Exposure: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Michael White, Justin T. Ready, Robert J. Kane, Carl Yamashiro, Sharon Goldsworthy, Darya Bonds Mcclain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Summary: Individuals who experience electrical injury suffer significant, sometimes long-term deficits in neuropsychological functioning. The TASER, an electrical device used by thousands of police departments, generates a high-voltage (up to 50000V), low-amperage (2.1mA) current of electricity that is designed to disable a resistive criminal suspect. Questions have emerged regarding the potential for TASER exposure to cause impairment in cognitive functioning. In the current study, healthy human volunteers were randomly assigned to four groups, two of which received a TASER exposure. Participants completed a battery of cognitive tests before and after receiving their assigned treatment. Participants who received a TASER exposure experienced statistically meaningful declines in measures of verbal learning and memory, although deficits lasted less than 1hour. After TASER exposure, participants also self-reported significant difficulties with concentration, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed. Other dimensions of cognitive functioning were not affected. Our findings show that the effects of TASER exposure on brain functioning are not well understood. Copyright

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)600-607
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

White, M., Ready, J. T., Kane, R. J., Yamashiro, C., Goldsworthy, S., & Bonds Mcclain, D. (2015). Examining Cognitive Functioning Following TASER Exposure: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29(4), 600-607. https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3128