Could brain scans ever be safe evidence?

New Scientist (3 Oct) asks: Could brain scans ever be safe evidence?

DONNA insists that she met friends for lunch on the afternoon of 25 January 2008 and did not violate a restraining order against Marie. But Marie told police that Donna broke the terms of the order by driving up to her car while it was stopped at a traffic light, yelling and cursing, and then driving off.

A polygraph test proved unsatisfactory: every time Marie’s name was mentioned Donna’s responses went sky-high. But when Donna approached Cephos of Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, for an fMRI scan, which picks up changes in blood flow and oxygenation in the brain, it was a different story.

“Her results indicated that she was telling the truth about the January 25 incident,” says Steven Laken of Cephos, who maintains that when people are lying, more areas of the brain “light up” than when they are telling the truth (see the scans of Donna’s brain).

Unfortunately the rest of the article is secured to subscribers.

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