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Scholar unconvinced new lie-detection methods better than old ones
Date:6/2/2009

ls are such that if you didn't want to have your brain scanned, all you'd have to do is clench your teeth or move your head, and it would create artifacts in the images, and then you can't use them luckily."

Still, she said, those promoting the newer, brain-based deception-detection technologies have had some degree of success in convincing the media and public that new and improved does equal better/safer. And that notion that science and technology can protect us "makes us feel better," she said.

"We want science to be able to answer all our questions somehow which it can't do. That's the long and the short of it," she said.

The U. of I. professor recently finished a yet-to-be-published book, "Tracing Truth: A Cultural History of Deception Detection." Much of the book is framed by "looking back at the cultural ideologies those three stories: lies are measurable, the body seems so obvious, and deception and truth are intertwined."

"And I go back to all this media, debate, science fiction and scientific detective fiction from the turn of the 20th century and trace these stories all the way through to current fMRI literatures in the scientific and popular press."

Littlefield is working on another book, tentatively titled "Playing the Role of a Criminalist: Disciplining Narratives in the Forensic Sciences." Its focus is on "metadisciplinarity."

The book is based, in part, on Littlefield's own interdisciplinary life and career, and examines how a number of disciplines have come together over the past 50 years to become known as the forensic sciences "whatever that is," she said. The book also explores what Littlefield calls forensic sciences' "interesting relationship with fiction, in particular Sherlock Holmes and 'CSI.' "

"Without these stories, without this literature, I think you'd have a much harder time trying to get the public on board with things like forensics or fMRI or lie detection," she s
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Contact: Melissa Mitchell
melissa@illinois.edu
217-333-5491
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

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