The purpose of this study was to investigate whether TASER exposure produces deficits in cognitive functioning, and if so, to characterize the duration and severity of those effects.
The researchers in the current study investigated the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning using a two phase approach. First, the researchers carried out a pilot study that examined the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning among a sample of police recruits who were scheduled to be "tased"
as part of their academy training. Each of the recruits was asked to complete a series of cognitive tests at three points in time: three to four hours prior to the TASER exposure; immediately after the TASER exposure; and again 24 hours later. Second the researchers carried out a Randomized Control Test (RCT) where healthy human volunteers were randomly assigned to one of four research conditions: 1) Baseline, no physical exertion and no TASER exposure; 2) Treatment 1, physical exertion only; 3) Treatment 2, TASER exposure only; 4) Treatment 3, physical exertion and TASER exposure. Each participant completed a series of validated cognitive tests that measure levels of memory, concentration, speed of learning, auditory comprehension and motor skills. The tests were completed by each participant at five points in time before and after the assigned treatment conditions.
No sampling was involved. This study used an experimental design on police recruits who were going to be tasered as part of their instruction and volunteers who did not have medical conditions that would introduce confounding effects.
Pilot Study: Officers of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department undergoing mandatory TASER training.
Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT): Healthy individuals between 18-65 years old who read and understand the English language.
The collection includes two SPSS datasets.
- Data file Pilot Study Data File.sav (n=21)contains 104 variables collected in the Pilot Study. Almost all variables are the results on the cognitive tests measuring memory, concentration, speed of learning, auditory comprehension and motor skills, pre and post TASER exposure.
- Data file RCT Data File.sav (n=203) contains
449 variables collected in the Randomized Control Trial. The bulk of variables are the results of cognitive tests with dates of testing. Variables describe which treatment group the person was assigned to and whether all testing completed. No demographic variables are included.
This study used standardized cognitive functioning tests including:
- Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT)
- Digit Span Subtest
- Digit Symbol Subtest
- Trail Making Test A and B
- Halstead Finger Tapping Test