Brain scans used in trial in India

Via OmniBrain (28 March 06), a rather troubling report that “brain scans” have been used in the trial of an alleged rapist in India.

The results of the brain-mapping and polygraph (lie-detector) tests conducted on rape accused Abhishek Kasliwal have come out in favour of the prosecution. The Mumbai Police had conducted the tests on March 19 at the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Bangalore.

Sadly, no further details are available, but OmniBrain author J. Stephen Higgins is on the case. Keep an eye on the comments there to see how far he gets.

UPDATE (3 April)

Sandra at Neurofuture is also on the case, and has posted some more detail and links. One link in particular is illuminating, revealing that the Indian police use the polygraph, EEG and sodium pentathol. [Which is apparently fine, because:

“Narcoanalysis is a very scientific and a humane approach in dealing with an accused’s psychological expressions, definitely better than third degree treatment to extract truth from an accused,” affirms Dr Malini.

Well, definitely better that the ‘third degree’ to be sure. However, here’s Wikipedia on the topic:

While fictional accounts of intelligence interrogation gives these drugs near magical abilities, information obtained by publicly-disclosed truth drugs has been shown to be highly unreliable, with subjects apparently freely mixing fact and fantasy. Much of the claimed effect relies on the belief of the subject that they cannot tell a lie while under the influence of the drug.]

I digress. According to the 2004 Deccan Herald article that Sandra found, “EEG ” appears to refer to Larry Farwell’s controversial Brain Fingerprinting Technique. I might come back to that when I have more time. Meanwhile, keep up to speed with Sandra’s detective work via del.icio.us.