Examining the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning

findings from a pilot study with police recruits

Michael White, Justin T. Ready, Robert J. Kane, Lisa M. Dario

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: Despite its widespread adoption by more than two-thirds of police departments in the US, there has not been a single study examining the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning. This inquiry is important for two reasons. First, research has consistently documented cognitive deficits following exposure to electricity (the TASER is an electrical device). Second, questions have emerged regarding whether TASER exposure impairs suspects' ability to understand and waive their Miranda rights. Methods: To explore this issue, the authors carried out a pilot study with 21 police recruits who received a TASER exposure as part of their training at the San Bernardino County (CA) Training Center. Each recruit was given a battery of cognitive tests 3-4 h before TASER exposure, within 5 min after exposure, and again 24 h after exposure. Results: Recruits experienced statistically significant reductions in several measures of cognitive functioning following TASER exposure. However, all recruits had returned to their baseline levels of functioning within 24 h. Learning effects were documented in several of the cognitive tests. Conclusions: The questions driving this study involve serious issues including constitutionally protected rights of the accused, use of force by police, and previously unexamined effects of the TASER on the human body. The pilot study represents a critical first step in exploring the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning. Moreover, the results provided the authors with important information that will guide their larger study, a randomized controlled trial where healthy human volunteers will be randomly assigned to four groups, two of which receive a TASER exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Experimental Criminology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2014

Fingerprint

police
learning success
accused
electricity
deficit
ability
Group

Keywords

  • CED
  • Electrical injury
  • Miranda waiver
  • Police use of force
  • TASER

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

Cite this

Examining the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning : findings from a pilot study with police recruits. / White, Michael; Ready, Justin T.; Kane, Robert J.; Dario, Lisa M.

In: Journal of Experimental Criminology, 2014, p. 1-24.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{8d8cabdb22854382a309a252b6ae8a6b,
title = "Examining the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning: findings from a pilot study with police recruits",
abstract = "Objectives: Despite its widespread adoption by more than two-thirds of police departments in the US, there has not been a single study examining the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning. This inquiry is important for two reasons. First, research has consistently documented cognitive deficits following exposure to electricity (the TASER is an electrical device). Second, questions have emerged regarding whether TASER exposure impairs suspects' ability to understand and waive their Miranda rights. Methods: To explore this issue, the authors carried out a pilot study with 21 police recruits who received a TASER exposure as part of their training at the San Bernardino County (CA) Training Center. Each recruit was given a battery of cognitive tests 3-4 h before TASER exposure, within 5 min after exposure, and again 24 h after exposure. Results: Recruits experienced statistically significant reductions in several measures of cognitive functioning following TASER exposure. However, all recruits had returned to their baseline levels of functioning within 24 h. Learning effects were documented in several of the cognitive tests. Conclusions: The questions driving this study involve serious issues including constitutionally protected rights of the accused, use of force by police, and previously unexamined effects of the TASER on the human body. The pilot study represents a critical first step in exploring the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning. Moreover, the results provided the authors with important information that will guide their larger study, a randomized controlled trial where healthy human volunteers will be randomly assigned to four groups, two of which receive a TASER exposure.",
keywords = "CED, Electrical injury, Miranda waiver, Police use of force, TASER",
author = "Michael White and Ready, {Justin T.} and Kane, {Robert J.} and Dario, {Lisa M.}",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.1007/s11292-013-9197-9",
language = "English (US)",
pages = "1--24",
journal = "Journal of Experimental Criminology",
issn = "1573-3750",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Examining the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning

T2 - findings from a pilot study with police recruits

AU - White, Michael

AU - Ready, Justin T.

AU - Kane, Robert J.

AU - Dario, Lisa M.

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Objectives: Despite its widespread adoption by more than two-thirds of police departments in the US, there has not been a single study examining the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning. This inquiry is important for two reasons. First, research has consistently documented cognitive deficits following exposure to electricity (the TASER is an electrical device). Second, questions have emerged regarding whether TASER exposure impairs suspects' ability to understand and waive their Miranda rights. Methods: To explore this issue, the authors carried out a pilot study with 21 police recruits who received a TASER exposure as part of their training at the San Bernardino County (CA) Training Center. Each recruit was given a battery of cognitive tests 3-4 h before TASER exposure, within 5 min after exposure, and again 24 h after exposure. Results: Recruits experienced statistically significant reductions in several measures of cognitive functioning following TASER exposure. However, all recruits had returned to their baseline levels of functioning within 24 h. Learning effects were documented in several of the cognitive tests. Conclusions: The questions driving this study involve serious issues including constitutionally protected rights of the accused, use of force by police, and previously unexamined effects of the TASER on the human body. The pilot study represents a critical first step in exploring the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning. Moreover, the results provided the authors with important information that will guide their larger study, a randomized controlled trial where healthy human volunteers will be randomly assigned to four groups, two of which receive a TASER exposure.

AB - Objectives: Despite its widespread adoption by more than two-thirds of police departments in the US, there has not been a single study examining the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning. This inquiry is important for two reasons. First, research has consistently documented cognitive deficits following exposure to electricity (the TASER is an electrical device). Second, questions have emerged regarding whether TASER exposure impairs suspects' ability to understand and waive their Miranda rights. Methods: To explore this issue, the authors carried out a pilot study with 21 police recruits who received a TASER exposure as part of their training at the San Bernardino County (CA) Training Center. Each recruit was given a battery of cognitive tests 3-4 h before TASER exposure, within 5 min after exposure, and again 24 h after exposure. Results: Recruits experienced statistically significant reductions in several measures of cognitive functioning following TASER exposure. However, all recruits had returned to their baseline levels of functioning within 24 h. Learning effects were documented in several of the cognitive tests. Conclusions: The questions driving this study involve serious issues including constitutionally protected rights of the accused, use of force by police, and previously unexamined effects of the TASER on the human body. The pilot study represents a critical first step in exploring the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning. Moreover, the results provided the authors with important information that will guide their larger study, a randomized controlled trial where healthy human volunteers will be randomly assigned to four groups, two of which receive a TASER exposure.

KW - CED

KW - Electrical injury

KW - Miranda waiver

KW - Police use of force

KW - TASER

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84892454486&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84892454486&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11292-013-9197-9

DO - 10.1007/s11292-013-9197-9

M3 - Article

SP - 1

EP - 24

JO - Journal of Experimental Criminology

JF - Journal of Experimental Criminology

SN - 1573-3750

ER -