Miranda Rights Comprehension in Young Adults With Specific Language Impairment Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine whether citizens with language impairment understand legal rights as conveyed in Miranda warnings. Method Grisso’s Instruments for Assessing Understanding and Appreciation of Miranda Rights (1998)  was administered to 34 young adults, half of whom met the diagnostic criteria for ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 01, 2012
Miranda Rights Comprehension in Young Adults With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gwyneth C. Rost
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Karla K. McGregor
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Correspondence to Gwyneth Rost, who is now at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst: grost@comdis.umass.edu
  • Editor: Laura Justice
    Editor: Laura Justice×
  • Associate Editor: Sandra Gillam
    Associate Editor: Sandra Gillam×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 01, 2012
Miranda Rights Comprehension in Young Adults With Specific Language Impairment
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2012, Vol. 21, 101-108. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2011/10-0094)
History: Received November 4, 2010 , Revised May 13, 2011 , Accepted December 14, 2011
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2012, Vol. 21, 101-108. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2011/10-0094)
History: Received November 4, 2010; Revised May 13, 2011; Accepted December 14, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 8

Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine whether citizens with language impairment understand legal rights as conveyed in Miranda warnings.

Method Grisso’s Instruments for Assessing Understanding and Appreciation of Miranda Rights (1998)  was administered to 34 young adults, half of whom met the diagnostic criteria for specific language impairment (SLI). A correlational analysis of the relationship between language scores and Miranda rights comprehension was conducted, as were tests of differences between individuals with SLI (n = 17) and individuals without SLI.

Results Language ability was positively correlated with overall performance on the Miranda measure. As a group, individuals with SLI were significantly poorer than their peers with normal language at defining Miranda vocabulary and applying Miranda rights in hypothetical situations. The group with SLI was also marginally less able to paraphrase Miranda sentences.

Conclusion Language impairment limits comprehension of Miranda warnings. As a result, citizens with language impairment are at risk of being denied their constitutional rights.

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank Mark Harris, Director of Students Disability Services at the University of Iowa, and Nichole Eden for assistance with participant recruitment. We also acknowledge Jessica J. Johnson for transcription and coding and Melissa Duff for her comments on an early draft. This work was funded in part by National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders 122270001 to K. K. McGregor.
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