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Memory, the adolescent brain and lying: The limits of neuroscientific evidence in the law
Date:4/16/2013

s measured with fMRI, carry considerable information about an individual's subjective memory experience that is, whether or not they are remembering the event."

In another new study, Wagner and colleagues tested whether people can "beat the technology" by using countermeasures to alter their brain patterns. Back in the lab, the researchers showed participants individual faces and later asked them whether the faces were old or new. "Halfway through the memory test, we stopped and told them 'What we are actually trying to do is read out from your brain patterns whether or not you are recognizing the face or perceiving it as novel, and we've been successful with other subjects in doing this in the past. Now we want you to try to beat the system by altering your neural responses.'" The researchers instructed the participants to think about a familiar person or experience when presented with a new face, and to focus on a novel feature of the face when presented a previously encountered face.

"In the first half of the test, during which participants were just making memory decisions, we were well above chance in decoding from brain patterns whether they recognized face or perceived it as novel. However, in the second half of the test, we were unable to classify whether or not they recognized the face nor whether the face was objectively old or new," Wagner says. Within a forensic setting, Wagner says, it is conceivable that a suspect could use such measures to try to mask the brain patterns associated with memory.

Wagner says that his work to date suggests that the technology may have some utility in reading out brain patterns in cooperative individuals but that the uses are much more uncertain with uncooperative individuals. However, Wagner stresses that the method currently does not distinguish well between whether a person's memory reflects true or false recognition. He says that it is premature to consider such evidence in the courts becau
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Contact: Lisa M.P. Munoz
cns.publicaffairs@gmail.com
703-951-7331
Cognitive Neuroscience Society
Source:Eurekalert

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