The New York Times is “Looking for the Lie”

An excellent, interesting and detailed article from the New York Times this weekend about the science and practice of lie detection. The author, Robin Marantz Henig, covers many areas, including developments and problems in fMRI deception detection, ERPs and ongoing research at the DoDPI. She interviews several of the key figures in these fields, including Paul Ekman, who provides the article’s most depressing quote:

Even though Ekman has been hired to teach his technique to embassy workers and military intelligence officers — to the tune of $35,000 for a five-day workshop — his low-tech approach to lie-catching is definitely out of vogue. “After 9/11,” he said, “I contacted different federal agencies — the Defense Department, the C.I.A. — and said, ‘I think there are some things I can teach your agents that can be of help right now.”‘ But several turned him down, he said, with one person bluntly stating, “I can’t support anything unless it ends in a machine doing it.”

UPDATE (1): BrainEthics has a thoughtful commentary on this piece and on earlier reporting of the various recent “fMRI for lie detection “stories.

UPDATE (2): Another commentary here, this time from the Bioethics & Law Blog.

[tags] fMRI, nonverbal behavior, ERP, deception [/tags]

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