Miranda comprehension in adults with mental retardation and the effects of feedback style on suggestibility

Law Hum Behav. 2005 Jun;29(3):359-69. doi: 10.1007/s10979-005-2965-y.


Interrogations present several major challenges to persons with mental retardation (MR). Sixty adults with mild MR completed measures of Miranda comprehension and tendency to yield to leading questions. In addition, suggestibility was assessed based on whether participants revised answers to questions in response to unfriendly, friendly, or neutral feedback to original responses. Furthermore, we examined how expressed confidence in answers to repeated questions varied with the type of feedback received. Results revealed that participants demonstrated marked difficulties understanding their Miranda rights and greater likelihood of changing answers to questions for which they received friendly feedback than for questions for which they received unfriendly or neutral feedback. Most participants who received positive reinforcement for their answers on a second trial expressed confidence about improvement from trial 1 to trial 2, although accuracy did not improve. Implications of these results are reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition*
  • Criminal Law*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Feedback*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability* / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Suggestion*