Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
This research examined whether factors present during police interrogations reduce the effectiveness of the prophylactic safeguards afforded to suspects through their Miranda rights. Specifically, this research tested whether stress interacted with other factors present during the Miranda administration process to influence individuals' Miranda comprehension and willingness to sign a waiver. Whereas Experiment 1 tested whether the way Miranda was administered could exacerbate the effect of stress on suspects' ability to comprehend Miranda, Experiment 2 examined whether stress could interact with the way a waiver was described to influence suspects' willingness to sign a waiver. During Experiment 1, participants either were or were not accused of cheating and then administered four Miranda comprehension instruments in either an oral or a written fashion. Although the finding that stress undermined participants' ability to comprehend Miranda was replicated, there was no evidence that stress and the way Miranda was administered interacted to influence participants' ability to comprehend Miranda. During Experiment 2, participants were told that their behavior of sharing answers was either a serious or not a serious violation and then were given a waiver to sign that was described as being either a formality or important. Results indicated that participants who were told the waiver was a formality were more willing to sign the waiver compared to participants who were told the waiver was important. However, there was no evidence that stress and the way the waiver was described interacted to influence participants' willingness to sign the waiver. Potential reasons for why an interaction effect was not observed in either experiment are offered. The dissertation ends with a discussion of the implications of these findings and limitations of the two experiments.
Kyle Christopher Scherr
Scherr, Kyle Christopher, "An examination of factors that influence suspects' Miranda comprehension and willingness to offer a waiver" (2011). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 10147.