Miranda at 50: A Psychological Analysis

Laura Smalarz, Kyle C. Scherr, Saul M. Kassin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a controversial ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, which required police to inform suspects, prior to custodial interrogation, of their constitutional rights to silence and to counsel. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Miranda, we present a psychological analysis of the Court’s ruling. We show how the Court’s assumption that the provisions of the Miranda ruling would enable suspects to make knowing, intelligent, and voluntary decisions regarding whether to invoke or waive their constitutional rights has not been borne out by scientific research. Hence, we argue that even well-adjusted, intelligent adults are at risk of succumbing to police pressure during custodial interrogation. We conclude with policy implications and directions for future Miranda research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-460
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Miranda rights
  • confession
  • criminal interrogation
  • police custody
  • self-incrimination


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