Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times on the use of brain scans for distinguishing truth from lies, a technology (called BEOS for Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature test) that was developed in India but has generated interest among other nations as well. Polygraph tests seem to be flawed because they really measure anxiety and good liars may not feel anxious when lying. And truth drugs are likewise flawed because, while they stimulate talking, the talk contains both truth and lies. And take a look at the website for No Lie MRI (http://www.noliemri.com/). “The technology used by No Lie MRI,” says its website, “represents the first and only direct measure of truth verification and lie detection in human history.” You can find a good academic treatment of this topic in Chapter 10 of Mark Knapp’s Lying and Deception in Human Interaction (Penguin, 2008).
Now here is the frightening part: In a recent case in India—detailed in the Times article—a 24-year-old woman was sentenced to life in prison for poisoning her ex-fiancé on the basis of “evidence” from brain scans that revealed she had “experiential knowledge” of the murder that only the murderer would have. George Orwell, where are you?