Brain fingerprinting is based on finding that the brain generates a unique brain wave pattern when a person encounters a familiar stimulus Use of functional magnetic resonance imaging in lie detection derives from studies suggesting that persons asked to lie show different patterns of brain activity than they do when being truthful. Issues related to the use of such evidence in courts are discussed. The author concludes that neither approach is currently supported by enough data regarding its accuracy in detecting deception to warrant use in court.
In the field of criminology, a new lie detector has been developed in the United States of America. This is called “brain fingerprinting”. This invention is supposed to be the best lie detector available as on date and is said to detect even smooth criminals who pass the polygraph test (the conventional lie detector test) with ease. The new method employs brain waves, which are useful in detecting whether the person subjected to the test, remembers finer details of the crime. Even if the person willingly suppresses the necessary information, the brain wave is sure to trap him, according to the experts, who are very excited about the new kid on the block.
Brain Fingerprinting is a controversial proposed investigative technique that measures recognition of familiar stimuli by measuring electrical brain wave responses to words, phrases, or pictures that are presented on a computer screen. Brain fingerprinting was invented by Lawrence Farwell. The theory is that the suspect's reaction to the details of an event or activity will reflect if the suspect had prior knowledge of the event or activity.
This test uses what Farwell calls the MERMER ("Memory and Encoding Related Multifaceted Electroencephalographic Response") response to detect familiarity reaction. One of the applications is lie detection. Dr. Lawrence A. Farwell has invented, developed, proven, and patented the technique of Farwell Brain Fingerprinting, a new computer-based technology to identify the perpetrator of a crime accurately and scientifically by measuring brain-wave responses to crime-relevant words or pictures presented on a computer screen. Farwell Brain Fingerprinting has proven 100% accurate in over 120 tests, including tests on FBI agents, tests for a US intelligence agency and for the US Navy, and tests on real-life situations including actual crimes.
1.1 BACK GROUND
Brain Fingerprinting is designed to determine whether an individual recognizes specific information related to an event or activity by measuring electrical brain wave responses to words, phrases, or pictures presented on a computer screen. The technique can be applied only in situations where investigators have a sufficient amount of specific information about an event or activity that would be known only to the perpetrator and investigator only so as to prove a successful result.
Farwell claims presently that the brain wave index crucial to all his assertions is the MERMER, or "Memory and Encoding Related Multifaceted Electroencephalographic response ." He claims that the P300 event-related potential (ERP, discussed below) is but one element of the MERMER. It will be seen later that P300 is very likely the basis and the essence of the MERMER.
The history of this ongoing research program will make this clear. First, however, a brief review of P300 phenomenology is in order. It is well known that between an electrode placed on the scalp surface directly over brain and another electrode connected to a relatively neutral (electrically) part of the head (i.e., remote from brain cells, such as the earlobe), an electrical voltage, varying as a function of time, exists. These voltages comprise the spontaneously ongoing electroencephalogram or EEG, and are commonly known as brain waves. If during the recording of EEG, a discrete stimulus event occurs, such as a light flash or tone pip, the EEG breaks into a series of larger peaks and troughs lasting up to two seconds after the stimulus. These waves, signaling the arrival in cortex of neural activity generated by the stimulus, comprise the wave series called the ERP, the EEG potential series related to the stimulus event.
Actually, the ERP "rides on" the ongoing EEG, by which it is sometimes obscured in single trials. Thus, one typically averages the EEG samples of many repeated presentation trials of either the same stimulus or stimulus category (e.g., male names), and the ensuing averaged stimulus-related activity is revealed as the ERP, while the non-stimulus-related features of the EEG average out, approaching a straight line. P300 is a special ERP which results whenever a meaningful piece of information is rarely presented as a stimulus among a random series of more frequently presented, non-meaningful stimuli.
Dr. Farwell is the inventor of Brain Fingerprinting technology. He also invented the Farwell Brain Communicator, which allows an individual to communicate directly from the brain to a computer and speech synthesizer using electrical brain activity, so that paralyzed people can communicate, "talk," and control computers and other devices even though incapable of moving.
Entire Brain finger printing system is under computer control.
The various activities includes:
1. Presentation of the stimuli
2. Recording the electrical brain activity
3. Determination of the information present or absent
4. Mathematical data analysis algorithm that compares the responses
5. Statistical confidence level for the determination
2.1 METHODOLOGY OF THE BF TEST IN CRIMINAL CASES
There are four phases of using BF in a criminal case: investigation, interviewing, scientific testing, and adjudication.
Initially, the investigation process consists of the test administrator (or a designee) determining the salient features of the crime, which are used to make "probes," or bits of information that would seem innocuous to someone who did not commit the crime under investigation, but which would be present in the mind of the culprit.
This is research-intensive, especially in cases that have been highly publicized and where details have been widely disseminated in such cases, the test administrator must find rather obscure information that has not been made public and that is unknown to an innocent test subject (through trial, interrogation, or by some other manner).
To an innocent person who does not have knowledge of the crime, probes would be indistinguishable from other irrelevant (stimuli which the test administrator knows that the subject has no knowledge of) and would therefore elicit no physiological response.
The test administrator must be careful to select probes in such a manner that someone who does not know about the crime would find them as equally plausible as the irrelevant chosen. Probes selected in cases where BF testing has been employed in the past have included the material used to bind a victim's hands, what was printed on a victim's t-shirt, and the landscape that the perpetrator of an offense ran through while leaving the scene of the crime.
Once these probes have been collected and prepared, and prior to the operation of the BF test itself, the test administrator interviews the subject. This interview is an attempt to determine exactly what the subject knows, so as to discover any innocuous, non-criminal explanation as to why he or she would have knowledge of certain information relevant to the investigation, or if such stimuli are significant to the subject for reasons that are independent of the crime at issue.
Any such probes will thereafter be removed from the test. Aside from helping authorities to sharpen their probe into the crimes that they are investigating, the interview serves as a baseline for the test administrator to ensure that the subject has knowledge of the control stimuli ("targets") that will be shown to him or her.
After the interview and prior to the administration of the test itself, the test administrator selects targets (stimuli which the test administrator, through the interview process, knows that the subject has knowledge of) and irrelevant. BF tests are comprised of approximately one-sixth targets, one sixth probes, and two-thirds irrelevant stimuli.
Subjects are then fitted with a sensory headband that is connected to an EEG, which in turn digitizes brain wave activity and feeds it into a computer. Subjects are then shown a series of pictures and words on a computer monitor, and the sensory headset tracks their responses. As each image is shown, the subject clicks a mouse button to advance to the next stimuli, so as to keep his or her attention on the test itself.36 The key to proper administration of the test is for the administrator to present each item in context and to identify exactly the category of the stimuli (e.g., "one of the following is the murder weapon")
The subject's brain wave responses are then analyzed. The test looks for a specific response called a P300: a positive electric voltage that is present 300 milliseconds after a subject is exposed to a stimulus with which he or she is familiar. A MERMER short for "Memory and Encoding Related Multifaceted Electroencephalographic Response" will be present in cases where the subject recognizes a stimulus (including targets and potentially some or all probes), and will be absent where they do not (including irrelevant and potentially some or all probes).
The resulting finding of "information present" or "information absent" thus represents a scientific determination of whether the subject has knowledge of the probe stimuli tested. Because the exact brain response of each subject will differ slightly, the individual response of the particular subject being tested to the targets and irrelevant presented will be used as a baseline for comparison.