The Impact of Intoxication in the Interrogation Room Grant

The Impact of Intoxication in the Interrogation Room .


  • Intoxicated suspects in the U.S. are routinely interrogated by law enforcement despite the fact that very little is known about the effects of intoxication in legal contexts. Specifically, how intoxication impacts confession decisions, comprehension of Miranda rights, suggestibility, ability to lie, and behavior during questioning are all unknown. These issues are important, as law enforcement interrogation practices in the U.S. have drawn criticism for their coercive nature and these concerns have been validated by proven cases of false confessions. Of primary concern, alcohol myopia theory suggests that the intoxicated may be at particular risk for making impulsive decisions - focusing on immediate consequences at the expense of consequences in the future. The proposed research is the first to address this major research void, examining a) the confession decisions of intoxicated suspects, and b) how intoxicated suspects are perceived by others. Study 1 will investigate the impact of intoxication using an experimental lab paradigm involving the interrogation of guilty and innocent students accused of cheating and will further assess how intoxication impacts suggestibility and Miranda rights comprehension. Study 2 will use Study 1's interrogation videos to examine students' and law enforcements' veracity judgments about true and false confessors and true and false deniers, and the behaviors exhibited in those statements. The current studies will contribute to a growing understanding of intoxication's impact on suspect behavior and interrogation outcomes and will provide the criminal justice and legal communities with tools to improve the gathering and evaluation of suspect statements, creating incentives to adopt evidence-based procedures.

date/time interval

  • June 1, 2016 - August 31, 2022

administered by

sponsor award ID

  • 1556762