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Progress In Brain-Based Lie Detection

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the just-lie-down-in-this-here-big-tube dept.

Biotech 84

A Cognitive Neuroscientist writes "A new study, led by Harvard Psychologist Joshua Greene and forthcoming in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may represent progress on the front of using brain imaging techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, to detect lies. According to Harvard's press release, Greene's is 'the first study to examine brain activity of people telling actual lies,' as opposed to prior studies in which subjects were merely instructed to lie. The results suggest that one key step in distinguishing honest from dishonest individuals may involve focusing on a small set of brain regions that are responsible for executive control and attention. However, given that the actual paper is yet to be published, it's unclear whether the study is prone to some of the methodological and interpretive complications that have recently plagued similar brain imaging studies."

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84 comments

New non-trusive lie detection method flawed? (5, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730525)

Back to savage beatings and waterboarding, I guess.

Re:New non-trusive lie detection method flawed? (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730881)

Back to savage beatings and waterboarding, I guess.

I don't see why having a working non-intrusive lie detection method would mean those things have to stop!

Re:New non-trusive lie detection method flawed? (2, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731653)

I don't see why having a working non-intrusive lie detection method would mean those things have to stop!

Pretty much.

If the victim's... Err... bad guy's MRI shows that he is lying when you finally got the confession out of him just to make you stop the torture means you need to keep beating him until he fully believes it himself.

Now how many light bulbs do you see?

Re:New non-trusive lie detection method flawed? (0)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 4 years ago | (#28732991)

I love how the parent comment is modded Insightful rather than Funny, although maybe the modding is also supposed to be a joke.

Re:New non-trusive lie detection method flawed? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28733211)

Or it's an attempt to give Karma, which Funny doesn't. Because I so give a shit about karma.

Re:New non-trusive lie detection method flawed? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#28735201)

Those are known to be flawed as well. Even during the Spanish inquisition, any confession made while water boarding or other torture was not considered to be valid. The 'victim' at a minimum had to confirm the confession later, when they weren't feeling so bad. Even better was if you could get two people to corroborate the same story independently.

The inquisition wasn't bad because they falsely accused people (although sometimes that happened too), but because the laws were so ridiculously strict, and the punishments extremely harsh, and because it was all based on religion.

Re:New non-trusive lie detection method flawed? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#28735607)

Torture isn't effective in simple lie detection as its more for information gathering, so i agree, they will continue.

Why all the skepticism? (4, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730541)

I don't understand why the contributor of this story is so skeptical of it...it seems all we would need to do is hook the scientists up to an fMRI and we'd know for sure if they were lying about the study!

Re:Why all the skepticism? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730669)

That only works if the study is valid. If the study is invalid, then it won't detect when the scientist lies and says it works.

Re:Why all the skepticism? (3, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730889)

It was supposed to be a joke...I'm not sure what the moderators are smoking.

Re:Why all the skepticism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28731221)

We are smoking pot. And you shall be modded as informative. That is all.

-The Moderators

Re:Why all the skepticism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28731367)

I'd mod you insightful if i wasn't an AC

Re:Why all the skepticism? (2, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730673)

I don't understand why the contributor of this story is so skeptical of it...it seems all we would need to do is hook the scientists up to an fMRI and we'd know for sure if they were lying about the study!

Yeah, except... people have been killed before on the mere suspicion that they were lying about certain things. Adding some scientific air of validity to it will only ensure the body count rises, irrespective of whether it works or not. Plus, we're making guesses about whether a person is really lying based on our miniscule knowledge of the brain -- in truth, we're just playing a statistics game, albeit with potentially fatal results for those who fall more than 3 sigma outside the norm.

Re:Why all the skepticism? (3, Interesting)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730885)

in truth, we're just playing a statistics game, albeit with potentially fatal results for those who fall more than 3 sigma outside the norm.

True, but unfortunately a lot of things in society are set up to kill off those who fall more than 3 sigma outside the norm. We just keep looking for excuses to make ourselves feel good about the fact that we are doing it.

Re:Why all the skepticism? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731157)

True, but unfortunately a lot of things in society are set up to kill off those who fall more than 3 sigma outside the norm. We just keep looking for excuses to make ourselves feel good about the fact that we are doing it.

Which is strange, because if not for the people who are outside the norm, everything would suck. If only there was a way to ensure that only people outside the norm benefited from their work, this behavior might cease.

Re:Why all the skepticism? (1)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 4 years ago | (#28732119)

in truth, we're just playing a statistics game, albeit with potentially fatal results for those who fall more than 3 sigma outside the norm.

True, but unfortunately a lot of things in society are set up to kill off those who fall more than 3 sigma outside the norm. We just keep looking for excuses to make ourselves feel good about the fact that we are doing it.

Yes, that's why we tend to keep doorways under seven feet high. The less giants in our society, the better. There, I said it.

Skepticism because MRI doesn't work that way (2, Interesting)

sonnejw0 (1114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730817)

The results of an MRI scan are composite images of increasing spatial resolution taken over a time span of minutes to tens of minutes. If a person's "liar region" of the brain lit up during a scan, that only means that region was active at some point during the scan, which could have occurred for any number of reasons during that time span.

MRI cannot be used as the sole means of evidence for this kind of study, and papers that rely solely on MRI are seen as untrustworthy or "merely-interesting" at best.

Re:Skepticism because MRI doesn't work that way (1)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 4 years ago | (#28735943)

The results of an MRI scan are composite images of increasing spatial resolution taken over a time span of minutes to tens of minutes. If a person's "liar region" of the brain lit up during a scan, that only means that region was active at some point during the scan, which could have occurred for any number of reasons during that time span.

This is poor characterization of how fMRI works. fMRI is not a "composite of increasing spatial resolution over a times span of minutes". Rather, an entire image of the brain is acquired very quickly, about every 2 seconds, and the timecourse of change in those images is statistically compared to the changes in activity of the subject during that time. For example, in a study like this you would look for signal changes that were correlated with the lying events compared with the honest events.

Seconds are long in terms of psychological time, but you design the timing of experiment in such a way that allows you to compare among the conditions of interest.

Re:Why all the skepticism? (1)

chickenarise (1597941) | more than 4 years ago | (#28732845)

Well, isn't there a difference between a lie (i.e. a factually false statement) and what someone thinks is a lie? Wouldn't this device only reveal the latter case? How much more valuable is this than what we already have?

Indivual differences (3, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730591)

I understand that it takes significant testing to confirm that the machines are working correctly for each individual. I would bet that many individuals - such as psychopaths - could easily beat the machine if they refused to cooperate/pretened to cooperate with the 'set-up' phase.

Re:Indivual differences (2, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730729)

I understand that it takes significant testing to confirm that the machines are working correctly for each individual. I would bet that many individuals - such as psychopaths - could easily beat the machine if they refused to cooperate/pretened to cooperate with the 'set-up' phase.

Actually, you don't need to by a psychopath to beat it. Being a Mythbuster's host is sufficient [wired.com] .

Re:Indivual differences (2, Insightful)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730739)

I see an arms race. Assuming Greene (whose papers in the past, like his dissertation, I haven't been impressed with) really was able to ethically create a circumstance where people truly lying and he knows it:

All that means is that he found a correlate of lying. The method used in his lie detector would exploit that correlation. But once this becomes common knowledge, people can figure out what kind of thinking would trip the lie detector, eventually rendering it useless, even assuming everything they claim is right.

Furthermore, the study would tell people how talk in a way that trips the lie detector, making it look like every statement is a lie, even the truthful statement of their own name. With that many false positives, it would no longer be reliable.

Re:Indivual differences (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730761)

I think you are correct. Among other things, I bet an hours worth of training using a Biofeedback machine would be sufficient let someone dramatically affect the results.

Re:Indivual differences (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731765)

could easily beat the machine if they refused to cooperate/pretened to cooperate with the 'set-up' phase.

Also, this doesn't catch people who actually believe the lie either because someone else told them or they duped themselves into believing in it.

If you asked someone if there was a god, the only answer you can take away from that is whether or not they believe that one exists and doesn't prove one way or another if it really is true.

Re:Indivual differences (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#28732629)

> Also, this doesn't catch people who actually believe the lie either because someone else
> told them or they duped themselves into believing in it.

Most people define a lie as a statement the speaker knows to be false.

> If you asked someone if there was a god, the only answer you can take away from that is
> whether or not they believe that one exists and doesn't prove one way or another if it
> really is true.

So what?

Re:Indivual differences (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 4 years ago | (#28735433)

Most people define a lie as a statement the speaker knows to be false.

I'm curious how well this technique stands up to method acting - IE temporarily remolding your thoughts to be those of the character you're playing. If you know a statement is false, but then get in the mindset of someone who believes the statement is true for long enough to be tested, will that look any different to this machine? I suppose the answer would reveal at least a little bit about how our brains work.

Re:Indivual differences (1)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736803)

Ah, but that's where the savage beatings come in. Let's see a method actor maintain their concentration after being worked over for an hour with a rubber hose! A hard enough beating administered before questioning ought to return their brains to its base state: fearful of authority, as it should be!

Re:Indivual differences (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#28735643)

Most people define a lie as a statement the speaker knows to be false.

The problem is that if someone makes presents a statement as evidence in which a lie detector shows they are telling the truth then the court/jury believes may give the statement more credence simply because it passed the test.

Even if the testifier is speaking in good faith and believes what they say to be truth, does not always make for justice with the verdict.

You know... Mistaken identity sending a man for life until DNA testing proves him innocent 20 years down the road [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Indivual differences (1)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 4 years ago | (#28735969)

fMRI is not a viable procedure to be performed involuntarily. It's very susceptible to movement artifacts, all you'd have to do is wobble your head and you screw everything up. The only way you could really force someone to comply would be to sedate them, in which case they aren't going to be answering questions.

Liar, liar. (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730623)

I wonder how well this method would work if tested on the researchers regarding the validity of their results...

Re:Liar, liar. (2, Interesting)

nbauman (624611) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730819)

I'd like to compare the fMRI of a researcher telling a subject the actual purpose of a study, with the fMRI of a researcher deceiving a subject on the purpose of the study.

But Toff can detect lies using her feet (0, Flamebait)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730665)

Ok, Ok, Once in a while she comes across someone like Princess Azula who could lie without setting off tremors, but still I would rather Ang depend on Toff than on some mechanism that requires the test subjects strapped to gurney and wheeled in. I mean, I know Appa is big and powerful and carry lots of load but lugging around an MRI machine? Come on gimme a break.

Let's Pretent (2, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730681)

Let's pretend we had a non-invasive, 100% reliable method of detecting lies. Assume that it is proven to the point where no one argues that it has failures.

Would it be ethical to use them to prove innocence or guilt in a court of law?

Re:Let's Pretent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28730765)

Assuming all that, yes it's ethical. But the problem is those aren't assumptions that will EVER be valid. You can never prove it works 100% of the time.

Re:Let's Pretent (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731499)

You can never prove it works 100% of the time.

Well, you can't prove that anything works 100% of the time, so how does that change anything?

Re:Let's Pretent (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731075)

No, it's a violation of the 5th amendment.

Re:Let's Pretent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28731229)

1. He asked whether it would be ethical, not whether it would be legal.

2. It's generally considered that the 5th amendment permits people to voluntarily answer questions. It's hard to see why it would prohibit them from voluntarily submitting to a lie detector test while answering those questions - informal tests like seeing if he looks shifty when he answers are already accepted.

Re:Let's Pretent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28731239)

No, it's a violation of the 5th amendment.

the constitution is not a code of ethics.

Re:Let's Pretent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28731467)

There are no amendments when the Gestap^H^H^H^H^H^H Homeland Security thinks you're a terrorist

Re:Let's Pretend (3, Insightful)

Froze (398171) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731935)

No. The body of law was constructed under the knowledge that it is not possible to verify your actions to 100% certainty. Think punitive deterrents etc. When the laws were written there was an implicit expectation of leeway guaranteed by the uncertainty of events. Not to mention that people are entirely capable of creating delusional fantasies that have replaced reality to the point that even if they thought they were lying( or telling the truth) that is still insufficient to prove that events occurred as reported.

Re:Let's Pretend (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 4 years ago | (#28735737)

I agree.. You may run over a dog with your car and not know it.. you would be telling the truth as you know it when you say "I did not run over any dog".. And having dealt with mentally ill people, I can tell you that relying on what they believe to be true would be a huge mistake.. I also spent 3 years arguing with an ex girlfriend over whether or not I stared at a magazine in a gas station (she would not let it go).. I'm sure we would both pass a lie detection test.

Brain based? Great! (2, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730695)

I hear it works much better than the old rectal lie detectors from the 1970s, and light years beyond the foot based scanners from the 50s. At least they are moving in the right direction, although Wonder Woman's magic rope is still the standard to beat.

Maybe the guys who make Brain Age for the Nintendo DS can write the software interface.

Re:Brain based? Great! (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731009)

although Wonder Woman's magic rope is still the standard to beat.

Is it? I was never really sure how well her rope worked. Sure the villain would admit that he was behind it all and tell her what his evil plans regarding the missile base were, but I don't recall any ever admitting that being tied up by Wonder Woman had him more turned on than ever in his life, or telling her what his evil plans regarding the Wonder Woman body pillow in his closet were.

If it misses out on the little, obvious truths, how can I trust the big ones?

Assuming it works, legal implications (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730737)

If it works and people know it works, then it will dramaticaly chane the legal situation, even if it is not admissible in court. Pretty soon, every really innocent person would insist on providing testimony via it to prove their innocence, even if it was just to the police officer investigating. Then the police (and juries) would begin to shift their beliefs to "If the police charged him, then he must be guilty because if he was innocent he would volunteer for the test and the police would not be trying him."

Re:Assuming it works, legal implications (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730805)

Citizen, if you have nothing to hide, why didn't you volunteer for the Truth Scan?

Yeah, that wouldn't be subject to abuse, just like the current legal system isn't.

Re:Assuming it works, legal implications (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730941)

Personally, I would love to see this as a requirement for all politicians. "Are you sure this isn't about oil?" *Imagines big red warning light spinning like crazy and a really irritating claxon going of*

cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28730749)

apparently, they tested it on Tucker Max while he was telling one of his "totally true" stories.

Mythbusted... (2, Insightful)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730857)

If the Mythbusters team can beat it (as Grant did in Episode 93) then who can't?

Re:Mythbusted... (1)

irving47 (73147) | more than 4 years ago | (#28735039)

I'm not sure if I'd use Grant Imahara as the "lowest common denominator" as you do... He's an MIT graduate, after all... Besides, Tori and Kari failed to beat it...

Post Busted.

Truth and Lies ... acceptance and denial (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#28730911)

Truth and lies are simply a matter of acceptance and denial. Our perceptions of right and wrong are merely an assimilation of experiences in life. What is a lie for some is truth for others. Some people have mastered the notion of changing lies into truth and truth into lies in public, in private and even in their own hearts and minds.

Defeating such testing may well be as trivial as defeating traditional polygraph tests as they both rely on the same principle -- metabolic and other reactions in the body to the conflicts that reside in the brain when the logical loops result from the mix of truth and lie. I know that lawyers are especially skilful at transforming or even abandoning their own personal beliefs and convictions in order to serve the needs and interests of their clients. This is an art that can be learned by anyone with the patience to learn.

Re:Truth and Lies ... acceptance and denial (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731175)

No they aren't the same. The problem with a polygraph isn't just that some poeple can 'beat it', it's also subjective.
Also, people who aren't lying can look like they are lying do to stress, or a generally guilty conscience.

fMRI, at this point, looks very promising;However, that's all. it LOOKS promising. No one has turned in a good study showing any practicle lie detection ability.

And I am not exactly enamored with this fellow or his study.

Re:Truth and Lies ... acceptance and denial (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731663)

No they aren't the same. The problem with a polygraph isn't just that some poeple can 'beat it', it's also subjective.

Hit that nail right on the head! Yep. We use the term "lie detector" because polygraph examiners use the term to mean 'polygraph.' But the term implies that it can answer a question with a binary answer: Is A lying about X? But what polygraph machines show us is anything but binary. The only way we can tell if someone is lying or not is by the opinion of the polygraph examiner! Who, BTW, can stack the results anyway he likes.

Forget about it. There is not now and there will never be any way to accurately gauge whether or not someone is lying. Everything you've been told to the contrary is nothing by lies and deceit, designed to make a few bucks.

Re:Truth and Lies ... acceptance and denial (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 4 years ago | (#28733983)

I have to disagree with your closing statement. Polygraph examiners with a good deal of experience have shown that they can judge when someone is lying and are very hard to fool by non-psychopaths.

Granted that skill is useless for the pursuit of justice if the person being tested is not questioned in great detail to ensure that the lies are pinpointed. That would throw out any kind of subjective question except to possibly find a direction to dig.

This method may not be a good way to do it as illustrated by the Mythbusters show. Simply thinking about other things was enough to throw off the results by clouding the detection mechanisms. This is probably actually more of a problem with the instument being too sensitive and not knowing where to focus precisely enough to filter out irrelevant activity.

Saying that we will never be able to do any of this better than we do now is a bit like saying that man will never fly.

Re:Truth and Lies ... acceptance and denial (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28734259)

Polygraph examiners with a good deal of experience have shown that they can judge when someone is lying and are very hard to fool by non-psychopaths.

It's a shame that their machines can't duplicate the feat.

Re:Truth and Lies ... acceptance and denial (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 4 years ago | (#28735439)

The machine is merely a diagnostic tool. It does not by it's self reveal a lie. That'd be like accusing a gun of murder. The machine is as ever only as good as the person utilizing it.

Re:Truth and Lies ... acceptance and denial (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736271)

The machine is as ever only as good as the person utilizing it.

My point exactly.

Of course, the thing is that despite your statement, non-psychopaths can defeat a lie detector with a great deal of practice. Not only that, but polygraph examiners that are very good can make a person who is not lying appear to be lying. That is why polygraphs are not (usually) admissable in court unless all parties have agreed beforehand on their admissability. Some jurisdictions have an outright ban on them.

Re:Truth and Lies ... acceptance and denial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28732289)

Right and wrong are certainly subjective but a lie versus true or fact versus fiction isn't. Maybe some lines can be blurred a bit but something happened or it didn't.

I'm no brain surgon nor did i RTFA but i would imagine you actually could detect the difference in the brain when dealing with something from recall/memory versus something that is being made up.

Re:Truth and Lies ... acceptance and denial (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736083)

Exactly, If asked "have you ever cheated on your wife?" most people would think full intercourse, others may think that a slightly more than friendly relationship was cheating some may even believe to them selves that an imaginary fantasy was cheating. So when asked the question and you justify in your mind that they were meaning full intercourse, but you believe that the fantasy you had was cheating then when you say 'No' you will be detected as lying.

Re:Truth and Lies ... acceptance and denial (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28738435)

Truth and lies are simply a matter of acceptance and denial.

I don't believe it.

- Skeptopotamus

First Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28730959)

Actually, I lied.

better but... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731023)

Its not like "lieing" is a single category. There are many types of lies a person can tell, and many ways to lie.

I always thought there was something inherently flawed about asking people to lie. If I ask you to lie, you really can't. If I say "lie about your age", you can't, I never asked you to tell your age, I asked you to tell a fake age.

Thats far different from "did you kill her?" "Describe the event of finding her body and what you did next". In that case, well you really have something to hide, you have good reason to remember things, and good reason to not tell what you remembered.

You might have gone over it, looked for plausible changes to make to the story, things that can fit in but maybe can't be proven one way or another etc. Its more complicated and, I doubt that everyone does it the same way. I have long felt, mostly from listening to the statements made by people who claim to be able to tell when a person is lieing.

There are so many levels here. People making things up on the spot, I would imagine, do it very differently from someome who is deliberate and has had time to think, time to go over his new version of events. I have played with this myself in a few situations (usually things that are just personal details that I don't want to reveal or talk about, or can't due to a promised confidence).

Drawing on a friend of mines recent experience of being told by a police officer "I know your lieing because when you tell me about X and Y you look me right in the eye, but when you say Z, you look away", which isn't far off from skills useful in poker really.

Essentially, if you can teach yourself a story thats very close to reality but with a few tweaks, and learn it well enough that you can recall the story as a story and not as a lie where you have to improvise, its not too hard to do it looking someone right in the eye, and be easily believed.

Thats very different from nervous, on the fly lies.

-Steve

Re:better but... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731251)

"If I say "lie about your age", you can't, I never asked you to tell your age, I asked you to tell a fake age."

What you can do is get a room of people, lets say 10. Random select 5 of them to lie about there age when asked about their age.

Yhen each person goes of into a different rom and takes the test.
Then you can look at the results and say these are the ones that lied.
Then you compare those results to who actually did lie.

The person administering the random test and the person monitoring the test can be the same person or different people, but they can not be giving the test.
I am tlaking about general terms, not about this specific study.

"Drawing on a friend of mines recent experience of being told by a police officer "I know your lieing because when you tell me about X and Y you look me right in the eye, but when you say Z, you look away", which isn't far off from skills useful in poker really."
That police officer should be reprimanded.
How a person deals with lying is not the same from person to person. Hell, I've been told I was lying because my arms were crossed.
Why don't we just go back to reading the lumps on peoples skulls?

Re:better but... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731509)

Reprimanded? I am all about making the police do their job right, and I think the question in question was bullshit, but.... he was absolutely right. In the end, my friend was let go. Mostly because, he had the wherewithall to realize that any admission of guilt in any way is a confession.

of course, police are allowed to lie to get you to say what they want, but you are not supposed to lie to them.... isn't that nice.

-Steve

Re:better but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28733971)

of course, police are allowed to lie to get you to say what they want, but you are not supposed to lie to them.... isn't that nice.

-Steve

Well it's based on the assumption that most guilty people will try to lie to escape exposure and punishment, while innocent people will have little to no motivation to lie to the police. Therefore, they theorize that anyone who is lying to them is guilty of something, very likely including the thing they are currently investigating. Provided the police only dishonesty is towards potential suspects (i.e. records, evidence, and testimony aren't falsified), and they realize that under some circumstances people will give false confessions, this is an acceptable investigation practice.

Re:better but... (1)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 4 years ago | (#28735121)

Sure.

Now we have a way of telling apart people who were told to give a false age and those who were told to give an accurate one (and may have lied or felt uncomfortable about telling it).

This very likely has something to do with telling the truth or lying, but it's not the same thing. In order to establish that it worked the same, we'd have to do trials with people who are telling the truth and people who are actually lying, and figure out which is which.

Lie detection isn't going to be scientific any time soon.

Re:better but... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#28732851)

Its not like "lieing" is a single category.

I have long felt, mostly from listening to the statements made by people who claim to be able to tell when a person is lieing.

"I know your lieing because when you tell me about X and Y you look me right in the eye, but when you say Z, you look away"

If your spelling checker told you that was correct, it was lying. ;)

(BTW, stop training dogs to "lay down". The correct command is "lie down".)

Re:better but... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#28733177)

I don't train dogs to do anything but stay away from me. I am allergic you insensitive clod!

-Steve

Don't Expect Better Soon (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731127)

The problems that have been noted have not just "recently plagued similar brain imaging studies", they have been around since the 'boxcar' stimulus method and SPM analysis technique were applied to MRI research.

There are enough that know better now that fMRI can be rightly questioned. But here you run into the problem of science vs. scientists. There are so many of the latter that have attached their name to previously accepted research that they'd refuse to accept any reports of problems. For example, there was recently an fMRI article published by PNAS. That means there are enough highly placed reviewers and associates of theirs in the National Academy that didn't know there was a problem and so aren't likely to come forward and admit their previous ignorance. Any trying to do so unilaterally would face opposition more strenuous than merely scientific. Hell, I learned the technique as well as the underlying theories from a student of the guy who invented them, and I still have my theory based objections countered with mention of how many publications use the technique vs. how many publications cover these "problems".

The Doghouse! Forever! (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731197)

Now your wife won't just suspect what you've been thinking about her younger sister. She'll know it for sure.

Re:The Doghouse! Forever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28732183)

uh oh.

i would like to disprove it. (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731343)

i would like to disprove it. i once had great fun with an american police officer demonstrating a lie detector to European police, who said a lie detector could not be manipulated. i proved him wrong, all the lies i told were registered as the truth. i would have killed 1million people, and I've slept with 5000 women, and i visited mars once or twice. i had great fun shattering someone's believe, and so did everyone surrounding it. i think i could even fool this :D

It takes WORK to lie. (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731531)

The truth is apparently easier for a person to relate than a lie is. This makes sense because obtaining the truth is just a matter of data retrieval and access.

The lie also involves data retrieval and access--only lots more of it, because the liar has to anticipate different narratives (I'm reading Anathem, so sorry.). The lie also involves a lot more plain processing.

The truth display process can also be readily completed. The liar can never be sure if his lie is adequately developed, so its resolution is a more open-ended procedure.

All this extra stuff takes work (in the sense of energy). That excessive energy use ought to be detectable, if one knows how and where to look.

Psychopaths still have to do all the work to lie, it's just that lying to them is like ordinary conversation to non-psychopaths. All the extra processing ought to be detectable--if you do the MRI in addition to the standard lie detector, the psychopath ought to stand out as a mountain of absurdity--his brain is processing like mad but all his other systems are flat normal.

This, of course, is speculation.

On the other hand, this shit really sucks because lying is the only real defense against totalitarian oppression. No doubt US companies will be selling these devices to China and North Korea like crazy.

In the U.S., such procedures will probably only get employed by consent, or with a warrant.
If the general scientific community comes to the conclusion that this kind of stuff is reliable, then it gets admitted into court. The lie detector can't pass this evidentiary test so it doesn't get admitted into court unless everybody agrees. There will be big battles over this kind of evidence because it is potentially a game-changer.

Wait till you can project images out of people's minds!!!

Re:It takes WORK to lie. (3, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#28732123)

The truth is apparently easier for a person to relate than a lie is.

Memories are easier for a person to relate than is made up stuff. That's part of the problem with eyewitnesses. After an event, their brain fills in the blanks of their memory, making a coherent narrative.

There was a long term study done where they asked people right after the challenger explosion, where they were. Then, years later, they asked about the same thing and compared results. Some people had completely different stories, or the details wrong, but they swore they knew what they had been doing.

If a defendant can convince himself that a story is true, no lie detector will be able to tell. There are drugs that are used in the treatment of PTSD that keep traumatic memories from being fixed in the brain. I could see someone taking one of these, doing a crime, then rehearsing over and over the alternate history. After the drugs wore off, the alternate history could become the truth in the defendant's brain.

Some advice to pass the test... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28731891)

"Remember: it's not a lie... if you believe in it."

fingerprinting not scientifically proven (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#28731991)

Until recently computerized, fingerprinting did not have rigorous scientific studies we demand of newer methods like DNA and brain patterns. When a fingerprint expert witness got up said there "9 points of mathcing" or twenty or whatever, there wasnt the research and analysis to say that really meant anything. It wasnt until computerized matching was implemented on a large scale that some rigor was introduced. This more on a ad-hoc basis rather scientifically proven.

Dubious truths? (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 4 years ago | (#28732503)

If I doubt the truth of something I say (such as repeating a dubious factoid from another source), but am not lying -- how would that show up on such a test??

Inadmissible? (1)

sjfoland (1565277) | more than 4 years ago | (#28733089)

Even if this were proved to be accurate, would it be legally admissible? If you unlawfully took evidence from someone's residence, it would cause a mistrial... How could you justify taking information from inside someone's head without their consent to use against them in court?

Science Research (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#28735591)

Sometimes, 'because we can' isn't a good reason without seriously considering the long term ramifications.

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