Skip to comments.Brain's one-card trick yields superior lie test
Posted on 11/11/2001 6:39:53 PM PST by governsleastgovernsbest
PATTERNS of brain activity that betray whether a person is lying have been identified, paving the way for brain scans in criminal investigations.
Scientists in the United States have discovered that several parts of the brain behave in distinctive fashion during attempts to conceal the truth and that this signature of deceit can be picked up by magnetic resonance scans.
The findings, by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, suggest that the technique could be used as a sophisticated lie detector, much more accurate than todays polygraph tests. The polygraph machine, which monitors breathing rate, pulse, blood pressure and perspiration for signs of nervousness, has been available for 80 years and is used in the US, particularly in espionage cases and by employers wishing to check job applicants honesty.
It appears that polygraphs as we know them today are junk science, a game to elicit confessions from the naive guilty. Someone who truly purposes to beat them, almost invariably can.
As for this test... who knows? I would wonder how the lies and truths were set up in the lab. By the orders of a researcher? This qualitatively differs from choosing to lie, or choosing a delusion.
In seriousness, one way that invetigators are trained to detect lies are to observe the person in question and see if they show signs of distress in their face. The best indicator is the forehead and brow area. A furled brow indicates that the candidatye is lying. Researchers in fact have taken a look at the tape of Klinton's legacy saying "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky" and its clear that his forehead crumples in a huge sign of distress.
|guilt might not matter if the brain functions slightly differently when connecting to the truth and when avoiding the truth.
A little piece of research I tripped over one day suggests that the brain stores all memories as if they were true, and then marks the false ones with a separate "this memory is false" tag.
One outcome of the research was that the 'false' tags deteriorate over time. A newspaper headline that reads "Joe Blow Not Guilty of Murder" will be correctly recalled by most people for about six months. After that, things go downhill for Joe. After two years, all most people can remember is that Joe Blow had something to do with a murder. The "false" tags get lost or separated from the memories.
It may be the case that the "false" tags are stored centrally, in a different area of the brain from the main memories. They might also be formed automatically, such that the MRI picks up the creation and storage of a "false" tag while the false words are coming out of Clinton's (or some other liar's) mouth.
Interesting science, but more damned evidence that I was fortunate to have been born at the right time. I got to play with all the computer stuff, but I'll be leaving about the time the nanite weapons, the genetically-engineered flying people, and lie detectors that actually work arrive on the scene.
Will I still respect you in the morning? You bet.
WHOOP! WHOOP! BUZZZZZ! WAAANNNG! WAAANNNG! WHOOP!
|I still wonder if deliberately concocting a lie uses different parts of the brain than either correctly or incorrectly remembering an event.
I'd bet money that it does. The more difficult trick is to detect the remembrance and delivery of a previously concocted lie. The really good public liars, like Clinton, practice their lies in front of a mirror before they go on TV and say something like "I did not have sex with that woman." In fact I think we read that Clinton had rehearsed that performance the night before, with Harry Thomases, the media guru who was coaching him.