Using fMRI for Lie Detection: Ready for Court?

Octavio Choi

in Psychiatric Expert Testimony: Emerging Applications

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print January 2015 | ISBN: 9780199346592
Published online May 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199346592 | DOI:
Using fMRI for Lie Detection: Ready for Court?

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In legal settings, ascertaining matters of fact depends on the truthfulness of witnesses and the jury’s ability to detect deception. Similarly, forensic psychiatrists rely in part on evaluees’ truthful responses to questions. Lying wastes judicial resources and impedes the pursuit of justice in the legal system. Studies have shown that the innate ability of humans to detect lies is limited and unreliable. Thus, the notion of technological aids that can detect deception has been particularly compelling. The most recent of these technological methods, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), offers the direct approach of peering into a potential liar’s brain. This chapter reviews the techniques and limitations associated with fMRI-based lie detection and whether expert testimony based on fMRI lie-detection examinations is admissible in court. The chapter also discusses the legal concerns regarding lie-detection technologies.

Chapter.  7751 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry ; Forensic Psychiatry

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