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

aid.

Littlefield recently returned from Denmark, where she designed an fMRI experiment for a project she plans to begin this fall with a team of international, interdisciplinary researchers.

Although Littlefield could not reveal the specifics of the fMRI study, she did say that the researchers plan to investigate the role of the brain's frontal lobes, along with the cognitive process known as executive function (which involves complex decision-making), during various stressful stimuli. She and her team hope to challenge several paradigms that have been taken for granted in both fMRI deception studies and social neuroscience.

In the meantime, Littlefield advises caution when sizing up the promises of those promoting the latest crop of brain-based truth-seeking technologies.

"This 9/11 kind of hype has allowed and fueled this desire both in scientists and the media, and in popular culture, to try to find something to hold onto for security's sake. But I don't think it's really there" at least not yet, she said.

For now, she added, a more accurate characterization of current developments in deception detection would be to say, "there are some scientists who've done particular kinds of studies with a lot of different limitations, and they've found some preliminary things about how the brain works."


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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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