Review of Research and Recent Case Law on Understanding and Appreciation of Miranda Warnings

  • Sharon KelleyEmail author
  • Heather Zelle
  • Leah Brogan
  • Naomi E. S. Goldstein
Part of the Advances in Psychology and Law book series (APL, volume 3)


The Supreme Court’s decision in Miranda v. Arizona (1966) recognized that the inherently coercive atmosphere of police interrogations had to be curtailed. The Court elected to describe a safeguard that would sufficiently dispel this coercion: a set of advisements of suspects’ rights, since coined “the Miranda warnings.” This decision also articulated the legal standard for waivers of Miranda rights: knowing, intelligent, and voluntary. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the legal and psychological landscape of the Miranda warnings. It first discusses the Miranda decision and subsequent case law that shaped the evolution of police interrogation. It then describes how the field of psychology came to intersect with Miranda warnings and waivers through the work of translating the “knowing and intelligent” components of the waiver standard into constructs suitable for psychological testing and evaluation. This work is placed in the context of courts’ failure to provide a consistent operational legal definition of “knowing and intelligent.” The chapter next reviews the state of the science, that is, the factors empirically related to individuals’ abilities to offer a valid waiver of Miranda rights. Thereafter, the chapter covers developments in case law, specifically the ways in which Miranda has been contracted by several Supreme Court opinions and lower courts’ decisions. The chapter concludes with recommendations for future research and policy work given courts’ recent treatment of Miranda and gaps in the existing body of research on Miranda rights and waivers.


Miranda warnings Interrogation Custody Waivers Forensic mental health assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon Kelley
    • 1
    Email author
  • Heather Zelle
    • 2
  • Leah Brogan
    • 3
  • Naomi E. S. Goldstein
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public PolicyUVa School of Medicine, University of Virginia Health SystemsCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Public Health Sciences, Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy, UVa School of MedicineUniversity of Virginia Health SystemsCharlottesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Violence Prevention Initiative Center for Injury Research and PreventionChildren’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaWynnewoodUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychology, JD/PhD Program in Law and Psychology, Juvenile Justice Research & Reform LabDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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