Getting it wrong about Miranda rights: false beliefs, impaired reasoning, and professional neglect

Am Psychol. 2011 Nov;66(8):728-36. doi: 10.1037/a0024988.


Television and other media inundate Americans with innumerable yet fragmentary examples of Miranda warnings; however, familiarity born of repeated exposures cannot be equated with accuracy or understanding. The intended purpose of these warnings is to inform and caution rather than to pacify and reassure--a purpose that cannot be realized when most custodial suspects assume that they already know everything the law insists they should be told. Painstakingly negotiated Constitutional safeguards are further imperiled when attorneys, judges, and forensic evaluators are lulled into complacency by the commonly held misconception that everyone understands their Miranda rights. This article elucidates certain false beliefs and misapprehensions regarding Miranda comprehension and identifies widespread neglect of these issues by the professional community. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication types

  • Address
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Crime / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Criminal Law / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Forensic Psychiatry*
  • Human Rights / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans