Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Brain Scans to Identify Liars?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the hello-mr.-anderson dept.

Privacy 324

dotc writes "After a bunch of sci-fi stories and rumors, now it looks like the future has become a reality -- a reliable, unbiased test using functional MRI brain scan to detect lying. The article author details a first-person account of undergoing the MRI 'deception task'. And the test is available now - use it to prove your innocence." From the article: "Laken said he's aiming to offer the fMRI service for use in situations like libel, slander and fraud where it's one person's word against another, and perhaps in employee screening by government agencies. Attorneys suggest it would be more useful in civil than most criminal cases, he said."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Wow! A new story! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596255)

Did someone forget to show up for their shift? Or was Zonk busy watching the Royal Rumble?

Re:Wow! A new story! (0, Offtopic)

richdun (672214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596266)

RSS still hasn't updated though.

Re:Wow! A new story! (1)

Anonymous brave dude (950545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596317)

RSS takes like half an hour to update

Do not rely completely on fMRI (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596263)

But advocates for fMRI say it has the potential to be more accurate, because it zeros in on the source of lying, the brain, rather than using indirect measures

This is completely bogus. Look, if one can lie (and is good at it), it is going to be much more difficult to figure out whether they are telling the truth or not. To someone who knows what they are doing, polygraphs can be fooled and I would suspect that interpretation of fMRIs can also be confused by someone who "knows" how to lie. The trick is to avoid delivering "tells" that are physiologic manifestations of deception. The truth is that there is no foundation in physiology that mandates that one has to reveal anything when stating something that is not in fact, the truth. A good liar will be able to deceive the device and more importantly, the interpreter of the device because they are able to LIVE the lie.

Now, I am not saying that all means of determining lies by technology are doomed to fail. Rather, I believe that relying on any one (particularly trendy) method for determining lies will work. And the use of fMRI is simply a massively expensive and trendy polygraph, particularly because there are so many differences in cortical anatomy and regional differences between individuals. I would be much more comfortable with a derivative of cortical function such as the p300 cortical recognition waveform used as part of a more complete determination of truth using interview, cross checking of facts, polygraph and p300. Perhaps if the fMRI proves accurate to some degree, it could be integrated, but it should not be used exclusively.

And yes, I do know a little something about neurophysiologic monitoring as I teach neurophysiology labs to medical students.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (4, Interesting)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596282)

I think this works better then a Polygraph because rather then look at symptoms and signs of lying this examines whether you are looking in your memory when recounting a story, or you are looking at your "creative" part of your brain. However if this is the case I suppose you could fool it by having someone tell you your false story and attempting to remember them telling you it.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (4, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596303)

You raise an important point, but note that I said for those that are able to LIVE the lie, then it will be less effective. The ability to trap someone in a current lie is part of the interview process and in that case, it *might* be possible. However, to someone who has rehearsed the lie and is able to live it by recalling the lie from memory as if it had actually happened, then regionality of blood flow or glucose utilization in the brain becomes a much less useful measure.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596448)

Amen. My ex was like that. She'd make up lies, and manage to make herself BELIEVE it - and not just small things... She managed to make herself believe her father had raped her, and once also that he was dead... Anything! There's some REALLY sick people out there that lie about EVERYTHING non-stop, no reasons needed, they just do, some sort of obsessive compulsive thing about lying I guess... No one could tell when she was lying (not even herself it seems). I always wondered how she could stick to all these thousands of lies reliably, all the time, everyday, for years... It just seems something impossible to do to me, but she sure managed to do it. (No I don't miss the psycho bitch)

I doubt this would be useful at all against her...

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (3, Interesting)

warewolfe (877477) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596455)

Given that the regions of neural activity for recall versus creativity visualisation are different, and the infinite number of possible questions a person could be asked related to the possible lie. It follows that the ability to "live the lie" could be countered by the skill of the questioner and by asking questions based on recalling rather than flat assertions of guilt or innocence.

For example a person's alibi for a criminal offence was that he stayed at home watching T.V. Instead of asking if he committed the offence, the questioner could ask what show did he watch? What was the plot of a particular show, what was the actor wearing, how many times did the suspect go to the bathroom, did he eat a snack, if so, what was it?

Comparing how the suspect's brain works when lying versus telling the truth seems to be the hard way about going about things, better to check recall versus creativity.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (2, Interesting)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596498)

However, to someone who has rehearsed the lie and is able to live it by recalling the lie from memory as if it had actually happened, then regionality of blood flow or glucose utilization in the brain becomes a much less useful measure.


At that point the person is not lying, they are delusional.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (2, Insightful)

edbosanquet (729289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596523)

At that point the person is not lying, they are delusional.

The question becomes can I force myself to become delusional. If I have a reliable method to make myself delusional then I can lie successfully with premedatated ideas and get past the test.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596313)

I think this works better then a Polygraph because rather then look at symptoms and signs of lying this examines whether you are looking in your memory when recounting a story, or you are looking at your "creative" part of your brain.

Basically, you're looking for signs of psychological stress. The same things that polygraphs look for, except this is more exact. But what happens if someone has difficulty recalling events? Various thoughts, including unrelated memories, oddball thoughts, and stressful attempts to retreive the memory, can all occur in a short period of time. Is this sudden use of various brain facilities indicitive of lying, or is the person just trying to recall? When this is compared to brain patterns of a question that the person is sure of (e.g. Did you skip work yesterday?), then the scan of the person trying to remember would look suspicious in comparison.

I REALLY do not trust this technology. Let's hope it sees just as many blockades as regular lie detectors.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (1)

schlyne (63695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596350)

I don't like it at all. Being mildy claustrophobic, if I have to have an MRI done, I go in after taking 2 meds for me to relax while they do the exam. It still bothers me, even with the med, but I manage to stay still enough for them to get good results.

How much is that medication going to affect this exam? Another thing, if I'm nervous and can't handle being in the machine that well anyway, those places of activity indicating stress are going to show high activity no matter what. Would there even be enough of a difference between the truth and lie to make an reasonable determination? Also, I get more and more anxious the longer I'm in the tube, so as the test goes, those activity centers are going to get more active as time goes on.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596388)

If you'd read anything about this test, you'd know that it isn't looking for stress. It's looking for activity in areas of the brain that are used for lying. So far, it's much more accurate than a polygraph.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596492)

Bullocks. There's no "lying center" of the brain. This device looks for more general brain usage than when you're known to be telling the truth.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (5, Informative)

MitsuMirage (825944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596457)

Basically, you're looking for signs of psychological stress.
No, this is wrong. fMRI looks at blood oxygen levels (BOLD) in the brain - which indicate what part of the brain is being used. Lying requires more brain horsepower than telling the truth and the parts of the brain used for lying are known. They are different than just recall. This is indeed looking into the brain working and not a side effect like sweating. The recall parts of the brain are known too and thus can be used to determine if you've know a person. Flash a photograph of the person and if the recognition part fires, then it shows you've seen that person. You don't even have to punch a button...
Having said that, near IR is a much easier technique to look into the brain and only requires strapping some IR emitters/detectors on the subjects forehead. A link is here [oemagazine.com] . Cost is way less than the millions for an fMRI that requires a supercon magnet and Faraday cage. And the subject need not be as cooperative.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596331)

I think this works better then a Polygraph

Almost anything works better than a polygraph. They have a ridiculously high rate of false-positives and false-negatives.

What's more ridiculous is that many US govt agencies, despite ample scientific proof, still use polygraphs.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (1)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596424)

It doesn't have to work to be effective. The suspect just has to believe it works. [snopes.com]

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596284)

Polygraph tests measure vital signs. To confuse results, one need only have a concealed method of self inflicting pain (such as an upturned thumbtack inside a shoe) to turn truthful answers into lies and vice versa.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (2, Insightful)

xXBondsXx (895786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596298)

I think the words of George Costanza sum up how to fool the fMRI...
George and Jerry talking about how to fool the polygraph test (to prove that Jerry doesn't watch Melroe's place)
George (to Jerry): "You if believe it, it's not a lie."

I too wonder about the cost and practicality of this. Most of the examples they provided can simply be solved with a regular (cheap) polygraph test - only one who is REALLY good at lying can fool this. I imagine it would be hard to get a warrant for $*00,000 to get some guy tested on the fMRI.

however, the very concept of the 100% accurate lie detector is scary. It would have a huge impact on politics, crime, and even personal issues. "Did you cheat on me? Do you look at porn a lot? Do you think I'm fat?"

I'd rather live in the current world, where at least we have some small amounts of privacy left.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596333)

"You if believe it, it's not a lie."

This is exactly true.

I imagine it would be hard to get a warrant for $*00,000 to get some guy tested on the fMRI.

MRIs are not quite that expensive. We (our family business) charge on average about $2000 with all the costs considered of operating them (electricity, cryogenic liquids, trained personnel, depreciation). fMRI is going to be a bit more expensive than that, but certainly not in the five to six figure range.

however, the very concept of the 100% accurate lie detector is scary. It would have a huge impact on politics, crime, and even personal issues. "Did you cheat on me? Do you look at porn a lot? Do you think I'm fat?"

What is more scary is the level of science education of those individuals who will be wanting to use these measures of veracity to determine truth. People are always looking for the quick answer and they are not always willing to put the time or effort into determining what is truth.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (1, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596359)

What matters more than whether or not you believe it is whether or not you are attempting to misrepresent the truth. If you have conflicting memories (which could be caused by making yourself believe something to be true for the purpose of defeating a lie detector, or perhaps just as a result of a faulty memory), then you would _ALWAYS_ be misrepresenting the truth by making any assertion based on those memories unless you were to qualify them with a remarks such as "I remember that... " or "From what I can remember...". Such remarks would be liable to call the integrity of your memory into question, however.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (1)

fredklein (532096) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596483)

however, the very concept of the 100% accurate lie detector is scary. It would have a huge impact on politics, crime, and even personal issues.

I've read a few SF stories that deal with that. One of them (unfortunatly the 'truth serum' part was only in the second chapter) was 'The Ring' by Piers Anthony and Robert E. Margroff. A young man is brought to court, and given a drug that will make him tell the truth. Of course, the prosecutor asks loaded questions, making him out to be a sex-crazed kinapper. And the man under the drug is powerless to stop him, as he can only truthfully answer questions directly asked of him, and cannot respond to the side comments made.

Every man (and woman) has some secrets. Evenr one like to look at Members Of The Appropriate Sex. Every one has fantasies. Everyone has hangups. If all these were forced to come out, very few people would remain un-affected.

ANother example is fromthe book 'Body Rides', in which a man winds up with a magical bracelet that allows him to leave his own body and enter the head of anyone else. He is not able to make his presence known in any way, but he had full access to the persons senses and innermost thoughts. He is warned by the person who gives him the braclet to never enter the mind of someone he loves. Sure, being in your lover's mind might seem like a kick... until they start thinking about how they hate how you snore, or thinking how much they hate having you grab their spare tire while you're having sex, or thinking how much better that other person looks than you....

Lies are a form of social lubrication. too much truth, and society stops.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596320)

I think you are right. The good liars are probably good at believing their own stories. Just like they say that by hypnosis one can have genuine memories substituted by artificial memories so could one do it to oneself. You can only test what one believes to be true... I'm sure the good liars believe the lies they tell.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (1, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596330)

Lying requires a deliberate conspiracy on the part of the liar to misrepresent the truth. That's it. Very simple, if you think about it.

If patterns in the brain could be measured which would unerringly detect the presence or absence of just such a conspiracy, we would have as foolproof a lie-detector as I think may be at all within the realm of physical possibility.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596364)

And yes, I do know a little something about neurophysiologic monitoring as I teach neurophysiology labs to medical students.

Liar! :-)
     

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596419)

Liar! :-)

If you would bother to click on the links provided youd see that he does what he claims. hes a neurophysiologist.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (0)

ccmay (116316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596427)

I think it was a joke, and actually a rather good one.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596516)

actually a rather good one.

Liar!

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596407)

I suggest anyone who believes that running a polygraph on someone delivers definitive proof of their (lack of) truthfulness read AntiPolygraph.org [antipolygraph.org] , specifically The Lie Behind The Lie Detector [antipolygraph.org] , which details how a polygraph works and why it doesn't qualify as science in any definition of the term. Granted, the site may be biased but the document does show how someone could beat the polygraph machine rather easily by artificially creating the emotional "tells" on certain questions and avoiding them on others.

Will this machine be any better? It depends how they asked the questions, but it does look like they're using control questions (Have I ever cheated on taxes, or gossiped, or deceived a loved one, where a lie is assumed) and irrelevant questions (Am I awake, is it 2004, do I like movies, which are not scored at all) according to the article. This suggests to me that it will have the same weaknesses, i.e. nervousness and fear play into the equation.

I'd still likely stay out of either machine, whether I was telling the truth or not.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596422)

I very much think that an idealized lie detector will be feasible, and that it will, as you suggest, involve multiple technologies acting in concert. Polygraph devices, fMRI, voice stress and a number of other techniques not yet discovered could, I imagine, be refined and combined should serve well in this capacity.

The real problem - again, you suggest it - is that some people live a lie as if it is the truth. The question is, are these people insane? Are they so insane that they won't be able to tell "useful" lies, meaning that they will be able to lie convincingly, but unable to lie about things relevant to determining criminal culpability? (Would there be a way of using such a combination technique and certain questions to determine what sort of liar they are in the first place?)

Sociopaths are the obvious first source of skilled liars - some of the most successfull people in the world are stone sociopaths, in part because they lie so convincingly (to themselves, as well as others). I've heard it suggested that Steve Jobs is a sociopath of this sort. (And, I should note, that "sociopath" is being used in that case in a very specific meaning, not as a general "raging loony" sense [though Jobs is, no doubt, somewhat loony :)])

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (2)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596514)

The question is, are these people insane?

Sanity has no real bearing on one's ability to fabricate and elude detection successfully and in fact, likely reduces one's ability to maintain a fabricated reality.

Sociopaths are the obvious first source of skilled liars

Ummmm, really? I thought the first source of skilled liars were politicians. :-) Seriously though, sociopaths are able to defeat many lie detection tests because they are emotionally detached. There is no "tell" involved in telling a lie to others. However, in order to be skilled at evading lie detection by many methods, they also need to be smart and have good memories.

I've heard it suggested that Steve Jobs is a sociopath of this sort. (And, I should note, that "sociopath" is being used in that case in a very specific meaning, not as a general "raging loony" sense [though Jobs is, no doubt, somewhat loony :)])

A sociopath of what sort? Why would you say this unless you yourself had unresolved issues....I am not sure what your agenda is with this statement as there is nothing that would suggest the man is a sociopath. Furthermore, sociopaths rarely are able to maintain a structure around them that would allow the extent of success that Mr. Jobs has achieved and when they are, it is typically maintained through violence and subjugation of others around them. Mr. Jobs life from what I have seen resembles nothing like that.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596495)

Traditional polygraphs measure the physical manifestations of stress. The tester takes a baseline to control for the stress of being polygraphed and then asks questions of interest. Strategies for cheating include taking psychoactive medication (such as lithium) to calm down, or willing oneself to overreact on control questions to set a high baseline and doing the opposite for real questions. Lastly, if one is truly psychotic enough, one can forget that he is lying and actually believe he is telling the truth. The latter is rare. But with enough practice, one can defeat polygraphs reliably.

The fMRI measures the brain directly. It sees which section of the brain is "coming up" with the story: the part that recalls historical events or the part that makes things up. The physiology of the brain cannot be altered (yet). Each part has a distinct function in all persons. For instance, a section of the brain, if tampered, will lead to its owner's inability to describe things using words. Thus, the only way to defeat a fMRI is to actually believe that you are telling the truth. The baseline is not unique to yourself, as in a standard polygraph, but the population in general--which shares the brain physiology. Well, at least that's the theory. Let's see if it practically pans out.

Re:Do not rely completely on fMRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596512)

And yes, I do know a little something about neurophysiologic monitoring as I teach neurophysiology labs to medical students.

How do we know if you are lying (or not)?

To quote the genius that is George Constanza (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596264)

"It's not a lie, if you believe it."

What's the MRI gonna tell you then?

Re:To quote the genius that is George Constanza (1)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596334)

Not sure why the parent was modded "funny", they have a good point. If somebody is delusional they believe their own claims. Imagine, for example, if this woman [kobtv.com] was given an MRI.

Re:To quote the genius that is George Constanza (1)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596399)

First off, seriously, whoa. How the heck did that [kobtv.com] make it past an editor? It's sad and, most of all, not newsworthy.

Second and back on topic, it's not necessary for that level of belief in order to fool the machine. I would be curious how it would work with someone who has repeatedly "lied" to themselves, even if they don't believe it (they would get caught by a traditional polygraph). Is it possible to distinguish between someone recalling the truth, someone recalling a lie and someone making up a lie?

All of the control tests typically utilize "new" events (did you take the watch/money), so people don't have enough time to "prep" their brain for lying.

Re:To quote the genius that is George Constanza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596462)

I lie like a rug... so brain scan that!

How soon before FBI trains to defeat it? (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596269)

How soon before the FBI and other agencies use biofeedback or other techniques to train their agents to defeat this?

I doubt the FBI would bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596293)

Since they're a domestic agency. CIA and NSA? More likely.

Re:How soon before FBI trains to defeat it? (1)

amazon10x (737466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596296)

I don't believe it would be possible to be "trained" to defeat it. This actually scans your brain and looks at the actually "memory" (if I undertstand correctly). With polygraphs you simply have to know how to regulate your own vital signs. Unlike polys, monochromatic people would not be able to beat this one.

Re:How soon before FBI trains to defeat it? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596478)

It is possible, but probably more difficult. If I understand it correctly, it looks for whether the brain is active in the areas related to memory or the areas related to creativity and fabrication. If the former, flagged as true. If latter, flagged as lie.

The way to defeat is to come up with the entire story in advance and rehearse to the point where it's all coming out of memory. Same idea as defeating the polygraph, though with different emphasis.

Re:How soon before FBI trains to defeat it? (2, Funny)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596428)

My cat has already learned how to defeat this brain scan. He puts on his foil hat.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596270)

Attorneys suggest it would be more useful in civil than most criminal cases, he said.

I suggest it would be most useful on attorneys themselves.

Oblig Simson quote (5, Funny)

NoGuffCheck (746638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596274)

SCULLY: Now we're going to run a few tests. This is a simple lie detector. I'll ask you a few yes or no questions, and you just answer truthfully. Do you understand?

HOMER: Yes! (*The machine blows up*)

Re:Oblig Simson quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596376)

Marge, it takes 2 to lie. 1 to lie, and 1 to listen.

Re:Oblig Simson quote (2, Funny)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596383)

Eddie: Did you hold a grudge against Montgomery Burns?
Moe: No!
[buzz!]
Moe: All right, maybe I did. But I didn't shoot him.
[ding!]
Eddie: Checks out. OK, sir, you're free to go.
Moe: Good, 'cause I got a hot date tonight.
[buzz!]
Moe: _A_ date.
[buzz!]
Moe: Dinner with friends.
[buzz!]
Moe: Dinner alone.
[buzz!]
Moe: Watching TV alone.
[buzz!]
Moe: All right! I'm going to sit at home and ogle the ladies in the Victoria's Secret catalog.
[buzz!]
Moe: [weakly] Sears catalog.
[ding!]
Moe: [angry] Now would you unhook this already, please? I don't deserve this kind of shabby treatment!
[buzz!]

A 1984 moment. (2, Funny)

Deputy Doodah (745441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596275)

...and in Britain....
Authorities are discussing how to deploy lie-sensing devices on street corners. They say this will help protect the general public against crimes, and will augment the feature recognition systems already in place.

American Democrats are poised to follow the lead of their socialist compatriots.

More at 11:00.

Re:A 1984 moment. (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596347)

It's interesting that you attribute the desire for a police state with the Democrats.

Haven't you noticed that it's a Republican president that is actively proclaiming the fact that he is spying and evesdropping on Americans domestically? Isn't it the current Republican justice department that is demanding search records from the major search engines? Didn't this same administration just nominate a supreme court justice that openly declares support for the "unitary executive"?

I'm not saying that the Democrats don't have the same impulses. The FBI's Carnivore was developed and deployed during the Clinton administration, for example.

My guess is that anyone "in power" has an inclination to shackle the freedoms of "the people", but I think you're deluding yourself if you believe it's a Democrat or Socialist problem only. Anyone who is the authority is likely to lean towards authoritarianism. It only serves their ends to have you and me squabbling amongst ourselves about left and right.

Re:A 1984 moment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596518)

What concerns me is that if it does become fairly accurate, when there's a major crime, they'll just sweep up hundreds of "suspects" and plug them into the machine. Refuse to answer, you become a prime suspect. While we've got you on the machine, been using any drugs? Steal anything? Do any unpatriotic acts?

Fear this device if it works well.

Originality minus one (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596276)

Oh, how original. Taking ideas from Wired now, are we?
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.01/lying.htm l [wired.com]

I'm not sure I buy it (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596277)

Lie detectors have always been more of a psychological test than an actual method of detecting lies. That's why they're not admissible in court, nor can an employer force you to take one. Now suddenly they can read your brain patterns (which they don't actually understand, just generalize) and tell if you're lying?

I don't buy it. I'll believe that they have a more accurate method of telling when you experience psychological stress from lying, but the actual act of lying is such an indistinct thing that I can't believe that you have a portion of your brain that says "turn this on when you lie".

The fact that they want to make this admissable in a court of law is just plain scary.

Re:I'm not sure I buy it (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596358)

Not in criminal case, note, but civil.

The likely reason they decided not to bother even trying for use in criminal cases is because they know it'll get knocked back. Because criminal cases rely on a higher standard of evidence, beyond reasonable doubt, and such a machine cannot be proved to be accurate beyond reasonable doubt, it's unlikely to be accepted as evidence.

However, a civil court is generally based on a preponderance of evidence. Whoever has the most compelling evidence wins. So, chuck in polygraphs and MRIs and whatever you want. Even if half of it is chucked out, the more that sticks, the better your chances.

The Difference between the fMRI and a Polygraph (1)

Cruxus (657818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596378)

A polygraph measures certain physiological signs of anxiety (galvanic skin conductance, pulse rate, respiration rate, dilation of pupils, and other signs of autonomic nervous system arousal). This fMRI looks for patterns of brain activity. The idea is that it takes certain areas of the brain more work (i.e., increased bloodflow) to inhibit the truthtelling response and create a lie. This does not have to do with autonomic nervous system activation.

Perhaps the best way to "beat" this machine would be to have a fuzzy recollection of all events so that it would take approximately equal thought to remember the truth or to tell a lie and the subject would not even be aware of the accuracy of what he or she is saying. Another way, maybe, would be to have a story already made so that it would take less work to recall this fabrication than to generate one on the spot.

The questions are asked twice, so it's obviously important to remain consistent, too.

Re:The Difference between the fMRI and a Polygraph (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596421)

A polygraph measures certain physiological signs of anxiety

Sort of. A polygraph measures the physiological, but determining the matter of whether someone is actually lying or not involves the operator. The operator attempts to "calibrate" the machine by placing the subject in the precise psychological state he wants. i.e. He's trying to unnerve the subject so that he will feel extreme stress in the case that he's lying. The final "yes/no" results are merely the operator's interpretation of the session. Thus it's very much a psychological test.

The only advantage I see to the fMRI is that it's looking for direct psychological signs rather than having an operator try to divine them from the physiological results of his psychological probes. IMHO, that still doesn't make the fMRI correct, just more precise.

Re:I'm not sure I buy it (1)

f97tosc (578893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596449)

I don't buy it. I'll believe that they have a more accurate method of telling when you experience psychological stress from lying, but the actual act of lying is such an indistinct thing that I can't believe that you have a portion of your brain that says "turn this on when you lie".

It doesn't sound completely impossible to me. "Truth" is typically some form of recollection from memory; "lie" is some form of fabriction, storytelling, and assessment of what the listener is likely to believe. We now know that the brain does have very specialized regions, so I don't see why it should be possible (at least in principle) to tell the difference between these activities from a brain scan.

Tor

Re:I'm not sure I buy it (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596505)

I'm not questioning whether it's possible or not. Merely the accuracy of such a device. There are so many things we generalize about the brain, that to use brain scans to say with (even 90%!) certainty that someone is "lying" strikes me as a poor assumption to make.

accuracy (3, Insightful)

amazon10x (737466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596278)

This won't work for those who have mental issues and actually believe they are telling the truth. When they scan your brain all the 'sectors' will still show up as true. However, this would still be useful after it has undergone some extended testing to ensure accuracy.

Re:accuracy (1)

Sir_Toejam (799404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596352)

This won't work for those who have mental issues and actually believe they are telling the truth. When they scan your brain all the 'sectors' will still show up as true. However, this would still be useful after it has undergone some extended testing to ensure accuracy. sooo... It won't work on Bush, but it will work on Rove?

Detecting lies is not at all the same thing. . . (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596279)

as detecting truth.

What's more, they admit it doesn't actually detect lies, because people beat it; and that's under idealized lab conditions.

Do not go directly to jail.

KFG

Re:Detecting lies is not at all the same thing. . (2, Insightful)

globalar (669767) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596337)

Authorities, including the government, are rarely interested in truth. Facts, sometimes. Accuracy and methodology are not the main issues here - just the name "lie detector", just the concept in the body of a contraption is power. It will never go away.

Foucault spoke of this in Discipline and Punish, where just the placing of a subject under observation was a form of power parading as science.

Re:Detecting lies is not at all the same thing. . (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596398)

. . .just the placing of a subject under observation was a form of power parading as science.

Which is how the polygraph "works." It's just a dowsing device, but useful for interrogations, in a very limited sense, to the extent that the subject believes in the power.

It's basically a "civilized" form of waterboarding.

Speaking of methodology, the test described in the article was not only not done double blind, it wasn't even done blind and there was no control. Everyone involved knew the subject had stolen something a priori, and everyone, including the subject, knew that everyone knew.

If I had been a subject I might well have been inclined to "beat" the system buy fucking with what everyone knew, i.e,, not following directions and taking neither the ring or the watch.

KFG

Am I reading /.? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596281)

...or am I reading the enquirer? Come on people. "Scam artist claims to use new technology to create infaliable lie detector" isn't news!!!

Tin Foil Hat (5, Funny)

oakleeman (939179) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596285)

Guess I better break out the tin foil.

Re:Tin Foil Hat (1)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596371)

Bzzt! - my machine says you're lying.

Claimed validity (5, Insightful)

jm92956n (758515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596286)

The for profit lab reports the test is accurate 90 percent of the time. Even after an independent study is performed, I'm still not sure I'd trust the accuracy. Controlled tests (where subjects are directed to steal an object) are very different than real world scenarios. Regardless, I suspect that, like polygraph tests, courts will eventually rule the outcome of such a procedure is not admissable evidence.

Re:Claimed validity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596368)

Exactly. Even if it does measure accurately 90% of the time (which is probably marketing hype), that means 10% of its judgements are false. Can we really base a trial on that?

The truth of the matter... (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596289)

Attorneys suggest it would be more useful in civil than most criminal cases, he said.

Does this mean that lawyers will be required to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help them God? Should make Court TV more interesting.

IANALDTE (Lie Detector Test Expert) but... (2, Interesting)

Vorondil28 (864578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596300)

This is cool that it may present better accuracy than traditional polygraph tests, but the whole concept of lie-detection remains flawed. If the subject truly believes the response to a question regardless of it's validity, there's much you can do in the way of physical monitoring.

Oh well, there's no such thing as a cheat-proof test.

Re:IANALDTE (Lie Detector Test Expert) but... (1)

avitzur (105884) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596363)

Flipping a coin would be a more accurate lie-detector test that traditional polygraphs.

http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN03/wn041803.html [umd.edu]

Re:IANALDTE (Lie Detector Test Expert) but... (4, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596400)

If the subject truly believes the response to a question regardless of it's validity, there's much you can do in the way of physical monitoring.

If the subject is telling you what they believe to be true, then they aren't lying. They may be incorrect, but that's not the same thing. This device is useful for detecting when someone is knowingly giving untrue responses. Seems to me it would be highly useful. I'd like to see the Enron execs hooked up to this thing for a little Q&A.

Re:IANALDTE (Lie Detector Test Expert) but... (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596477)

Well, the fifth amendment protects against self-incrimination, so I think that that would get Enron execs off the hook, since I think they are under charges for criminal behavior. I guess that's why the summary said that attorneys said this would be more useful for civil cases -- the fifth amendment protects against self-incrimination. However, you may not get that protection in civil suits.

Metal (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596305)

Take off your ear rings and rip out your pace makers!
Get dizzy while you're proving your innocence!

Well, there is always one solution... (1)

Crzysdrs (801722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596307)

It's not a lie, if you beleive it.

You said you never slept with Shaniqua's cousin (3, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596308)

Somebody tell Maury Povich about this! There are tons of jilted men and women out there just waiting to find out if their spouses cheated on them, and with an MRI lie detector, Maury can find out for sure. Now that's quality television!

Only a matter of time. (1)

DavidHOzAu (925585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596325)

FTA,
>His outfit, No Lie MRI Inc., will serve government agencies
>and "anybody that wants to demonstrate that they're telling
>the truth," he said.

I bet it won't be long until an employer can insist that recruits go through this scanner before getting employed. Not to worry, my geek-'r'-us-certified, size-XL tinfoil hat [google.com] will protect me.

Re:Only a matter of time. (1)

CZA2006 (901842) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596472)

Actually, it'll probably get ripped off your head and stuck to the machine.

lying (1)

nudnikmeow (846945) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596338)

In normal people, you will see different patterns of brain activity between telling the truth and telling a lie. However, if the person can convince herself that the lie is true, then this test will not work.

It would be interesting to do a study of gender differences in lying. Is there a biological/physiological basis for the saying: "Boys lie, girls prevaricate" ?

Remember... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596354)


It's not a lie if you believe it.

haha (0, Flamebait)

Clockwurk (577966) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596360)

This sounds like a setup to a Bush joke.

Very scary and bad science. (2, Informative)

Criton (605617) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596369)

I know about the research in using an MRI's to see what someone is thinking and it's far from 100% this guy is full of it and what he's trying to do is extremely dangerous. This what I call a classic example of misuse of technology this guy should have his research license revoked for promoting junk like that.

still not reliable (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596380)

People manage to get away with lies in several ways. One is that they mask the physiological signs and body language that go along with lies' fMRI potentially can cut through that deception.

But another way is that they basically convince themselves that a false statement is actually true in some sense; fMRI probably cannot detect such lies.

For example, Clinton may have convinced himself that his statement "I have never had sexual relations with that woman." was not a lie because he in his mind legitimately restricted the meaning of "sexual relations" to a particular kind of activity.

Conversely, there may be people who habitually doubt the truth of any statement (for example, scientists), so they may activate the same brain areas as liars even when forced to make such a simple statement as "I had lunch a week ago at Burger King". After all, was that exactly a week ago or the week before this one? Is that on East Coast time or California time?

fMRI is likely to be a little bit more reliable than physiological indicators of lying, but probably not a whole lot. Whatever it is, it needs to be tested and validated very carefully. And there is one thing I'm sure of: Laken is not the guy to do it, and this sort of technology ought to be researched for decades before being put to use in a legal context. But, as a start, perhaps Laken could be put into the machine and answer questions like "do you believe that this system is 100% reliable" and "are you being scrupulously honest with the money of your investors" and "are you scrupulously honest on your taxes".

Re:still not reliable (1)

Floody (153869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596425)

Conversely, there may be people who habitually doubt the truth of any statement (for example, scientists), so they may activate the same brain areas as liars even when forced to make such a simple statement as "I had lunch a week ago at Burger King". After all, was that exactly a week ago or the week before this one? Is that on East Coast time or California time?
And anyone who understands how memory works realizes that events from the relative distant past (months/years), those most often questioned in legal situations, have already drifted to one degree or another from what actually transpired. Thus, it's not possible to tell the real truth about the past from memory alone, only what you believe to be the truth. Your "truth" might be a lie to someone else, even if that is not your intention.

Drawback of MRI in lie detection (1)

GeekyMike (575177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596409)

One's head has remain be still while answering questions, as slight movements can throw off the readings. This includes moving lips. Makes things a bit more difficult, right? Maybe a button to push for yes, and another for no. this would have problems as well as one could just push buttons at random to invalidate the test, or repeatedly hit "no" for the whole thing. And do you think I would stay still while in the little tube? I will answer that for you:

not "no"

not "heck no"

not "heck freaking no"

but "ehh ehh"

Less testimony, more facts (2, Interesting)

jtangen (861406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596411)

The question has always been why people in an *investigative* profession (e.g., police, law), where the ultimate result should be facts, concern themselves so much with the veracity of testimony. We would be better served, I think, with less testimony, and more facts.

Not much of a start (1)

cait56 (677299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596414)

The article indicated that the technique successfully detected 28 out of 31 lies. Given that the lies were not rehearsed, were not coming from actual suspects, and were from volunteers sufficiently low in claustrophobia to volunteer, that isn't very impressive. I suspect that there are detectives who are at least that good, and I'm not willing to send anyone to prison on their hunches alone either. Come back to me when you've done 10,000 or so in a double-blind test.

The Truth Machine (1)

alohatiger (313873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596420)

I read This Book [amazon.com] a few years ago. The premise was: what if a 100% accurate lie detector was invented? Maybe we're getting closer...

Nonsense. Cannot see through belief. (2, Insightful)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596423)

Other people have commented on how this is bogus, but I want to offer an additional perspective. You absolutely cannot detect when someone is lying with absolute certainty and faith in such a technology is misguided. Which brings me to the point. Consider this example: people will tell you they know for a fact that a god or other divine figure is real and constitutes a genuine presence in their lives. Yet of all the people who say this, how many of them could prove it? How many have actually had an experience where they have spoken with some otherworldy being? (The answer is, of course, none.) But these same people have been conditioned to believe that what they are saying is the truth and nothing but the truth. They are absolutely convinced. So let me (attempt) to put this in general terms.

A lie is a false statement due largely to the context and circumstances—not simply physical factors within the entity which may be lying. For lie detection to be absolutely effective, it must take into consideration factors which are not measured when an individual is measured. That is, to determine if someone is lying, you have to determine if there are factors which might cause the person believes the lie is true.

I suppose we can make it more difficult, but people are trained to overcome polygraphs and VSA. I am sure people can be trained to believe a lie prior to a given test in order to pass as the test gets more sophisticated.

The Truth Machine (3, Interesting)

Coldeagle (624205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596433)

I believe that this could be an important step forward. I'm sure some of you have read The Truth Machine [truthmachine.com] . Something of this sort coming to reality is both exciting and scary. Exciting because it would allow the innocent to be proven so, and the truly guilty (You know where the lawyer can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt, even though we all know that they're likely guilty) taken down. The scary thing is what about my little white lies that we all tell? My future wife asks, "Honey, what do you think of this?" You think it's hideous but you don't want to hurt her feelings...Pop quiz hot shot, what do you say? WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Fatal flaw (2, Funny)

Belseth (835595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596434)

The technology assumes that there is a brain to be scanned. It's going to be pretty useless in determining which political cannidate is lying.

Implanted memories (4, Insightful)

Nutty_Irishman (729030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596437)

I'd like to point to: http://www.abc.net.au/science/k2/moments/s1213245. htm [abc.net.au]

It's an article talking about how easy it is to implant memories that never existed into peoples minds. In fact, not only do people end up remembering things they've never seen, but they also end up adding additional information to the stories. It's a bit scary actually, but it's a good thought on how one might "break" the system.

Quoting the article:
"It's one thing when implanting false memories is a laboratory experiment, but it's quite another when the accused wrongly end up in jail..."

impossible (2, Funny)

digitallysick (922589) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596441)

I've never told a lie in my life!! That will never work!

Airports? (0, Troll)

houghi (78078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596444)

When we will see these on airports and near kids? It would be great against terrorists and childmolesters. I mean; why could you opose to this? If you have nothing to hide, there is no need to lie.

Its brilliant.... (1)

barefootgenius (926803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596445)

Now, to stop this nonsense about the public not trusting the government, we can just put every politician and public servant who makes a decision we disagree with under this test.

hmm... 500 MRI per question or... (2, Insightful)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596474)

$50 hourly professional interrogator when you have about 20 questions to ask... sounds like a definate "No" from cost effective minded Congress...

Thats WONDERFUL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14596502)

And I'll be happy to submit to a scan, just as soon as all the Politicians, Lawyers, Police, and Military leaders submit to a brain scan first!!!.

And... the bad "eggs" have all been "culled" from government.

Only then will I feel comfortable submitting to their brain scan, otherwise they can all pound sand.

Prove your innocence? (5, Insightful)

ion_ (176174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596503)

use it to prove your innocence

Anyone remember the time when you were considered innocent until proven guilty?

Obligatory Seinfeld quote (0, Redundant)

The Step Child (216708) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596507)

George: I can't teach you how to lie. It's like asking Pavarotti teach me to sing like you. Remember: It's not a lie...if you believe it.

MRI repeats for all harms! (1)

Korean Elvis (930353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596508)

Damages your brain the problem is potential energy in the MRI scannings whom it repeats!

The Truth Machine (1)

robbadler02 (950561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596521)

Check out this book, titled "The Truth Machine" by James Halperin. It is a future-history based around the developement and use of just such a machine. I has been on several "must-read" lists for college students.

Related article (fMRI and Lying) (1)

mogwai7 (704419) | more than 8 years ago | (#14596525)

I remember seeing something like this posted before. [slashdot.org]
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?