Brain Mapping of Deception and Truth Telling about an Ecologically Valid Situation

Another fMRI study. I haven’t been able to access the full text, but the abstract immediately raises questions about (a) the definition of ‘ecologically valid’ and (b) the boldness of the conclusion. Click on the link for the whole abstract.
Brain Mapping of Deception and Truth Telling about an Ecologically Valid Situation: Functional MR Imaging and Polygraph Investigation—Initial Experience
Feroze B. Mohamed, Scott H. Faro, Nathan J. Gordon, Steven M. Platek, Harris Ahmad, and J. Michael Williams
Radiology Volume 238, Issue 2, February 2006

Purpose: To examine the neural correlates during deception and truth telling by using a functional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging technique and an ecologically valid task and to compare the results with those of a standard polygraph examination.

[…] Conclusion: Specific areas of the brain involved in deception or truth telling can be depicted with functional MR imaging.

Update: A press release issued on 31 Jan reveals what makes this an ecologically valid study: “A mock shooting was staged, in which blank bullets were fired in a testing room. Five volunteers were asked to tell the truth when asked a series of questions about their involvement, and six were asked to deliberately lie. Each volunteer was examined with fMRI to observe brain activation while they answered questions either truthfully or deceptively.”

Leave a Reply