MRI as a lie detector

There's an interesting case going on in (southern California of course) where the defense is seeking to offer.

Defense attorneys are for the first time submitting a controversial neurological lie-detection test as evidence in U.S. court.digg_url ="";
In an upcoming juvenile-sex-abuse case in San Diego, the defense is
hoping to get an fMRI scan, which shows brain activity based on oxygen
levels, admitted to prove the abuse didn't happen. The technology is used widely in brain research, but hasn't been fully tested as a lie-detection method.

Alexis Madrigal, MRI Lie Detection to Get First Day in Court, Wired Science, 16 March 2009.

Last week, I blogged
about neuroscientists' concerns about fMRI brain imaging. Critics say
its scientific reliability and validity is far from established, and
that if it was introduced in court, its colorful graphics might mislead
jurors and judges and derail justice.

Just days later, the good folks over at the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences
have learned of a pending case in California in which the "No Lie MRI"
(I kid you not!) may be introduced in court to establish that a parent
did not molest his child.

The case is a child protection hearing
in juvenile court, so the records are sealed. The issue is whether a
child should be removed from the home due to alleged sexual abuse by a
parent, explains blogger Emily Murphy, a Stanford Law School fellow.

Karen Franklin, Wired Update on fMRI court case, In the News, 17 March 2009.
Karen Franklin, Beware "voodoo" brain science, In the News, 10 March 2009.

And from Deception Blog,

So depressing. Here’s the coverage so far:

  • Stanford Center for Law & the Biosciences Blog, it appears, broke the story (14 Mar).
  • Brief comments from the Neuroethics and Law Blog (15 Mar).
  • Detailed report from Wired Science in MRI Lie Detection to Get First Day in Court (16 Mar).
  • Karen Franklin’s In the News Blog offers further thoughts and links to previous posts on the limitations of fMRI for lie detection (16 Mar).
  • The company offering this service is No Lie MRI.
  • More from the Deception Blog on fMRI and lie detection including links to relevant academic research.
  • Is the MRI lie detector test reliable? ScienceLine reports (3 November 2008).
For 5,000 dollars, a computer will scan your brain several times while
asking you a series of banal yes or no questions: Do you live in Texas?
Is it 2004? It will also ask you one important question, such as: Did
you burn down the shop? Or, have you cheated on your spouse? Shortly
thereafter, it will spit out two numbers. And the creators of the test
insist that those two numbers will determine if, when you answered the
serious question, you were lying.
Contact Information