Some of Your Brain’s Secrets are stored in your Subconscious and Pre-Conscious via Lions Talk Science

By Victoria Vernail

In 1986, geneticist Alec Jeffreys was the first to use DNA profiling techniques in a murder investigation. The use of DNA resulted in the release of an innocent suspect and eventual identification of the culprit.1 In the coming decades, DNA would become the backbone of forensic science, serving as evidence in over half a million criminal cases. Other classical ways science has influenced the criminal justice system are through the study of ballistics, hair and fiber analysis, and toxicology (Figure 1). Forensic science has been used for thousands of years, dating back to ancient China where inked fingerprints served as a means of identification. Recently, the introduction of new scientific methods in the courtroom has involved neuroscientific analysis of brain scans or brain waves. The development of new forensic methods presents the challenge of technique validation for use by a judge and jury.

Figure 1: The breadth of forensic science. Created in BioRender.com. Adapted from National Institutes of Standards and Technology
 

A heavily debated use of forensic information is the polygraph test. The traditional polygraph identifies a lie by measuring physiological changes such as heart rate, blood pressure, pupillary activity, sweat, or saliva. Polygraph validity has been disputed from the private to Federal levels, with no consensus. Therefore, polygraph data is currently inadmissible in court. Variability among individuals makes it difficult to detect a clear lie response, so results are subjective and hard to decipher. Individual variability is also seen with neuroscientific tools appearing in courtrooms. Recently, several neuroscientific technologies including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and computed tomography (CT) scans have been used in criminal cases. Defense attorneys have submitted brain scans showing damaged regions of the brain to corroborate a ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ defense.2 The jury is left to decide how much weight such expert scientific testimony may hold- whether this brain scan evidence is enough to prove causation. Is it also possible to use neuroscience to distinguish truth from a lie? The answer to that question may be stored in our own memories.

A technology used recently in the courtroom is the Memory and Encoding Related Multifaceted Electroencephalographic Response (MERMER). This “brain fingerprinting” technique was highlighted in the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer, where creator Dr. Lawrence Farwell claims that measuring brainwaves can uncover memories of a crime. Brain activity is recorded as waves with an electroencephalogram (EEG), which are noninvasive and used clinically to diagnose brain disorders such as epilepsy or stroke (Figure 2). Brain cells have electrical properties that fire synchronously, and these brain signals are detected during EEG by metal electrodes placed on the scalp. An EEG can record from areas of the brain important for memory retrieval, such as the parietal cortex.3 Event-related brain potentials are then generated by averaging the waveform responses picked up by the electrodes to a given stimulus. A positive spike in electrical activity recorded from electrodes in the parietal cortex illustrates brain cells actively retrieving a stored memory.4 Other areas of the brain involved in information processing include the cingulate and prefrontal cortex.5 To account for the widespread activation during information processing, a multifaceted electroencephalographic response (MER) can be recorded and analyzed. The brain response specific to memory and encoding of a stimulus is therefore denoted as a MERMER.

Figure 2: Electroencephalograms (EEGs) allow for noninvasive recording of brain waves by adhering electrodes to the scalp. Created in BioRender.com.

Dr. Farwell reports that his MERMER technique can accurately compare multifaceted event-related brain potentials, such as facts about a crime, to unrelated stimuli.6 Analysis of a potential suspect’s EEG waveforms compares target information (known facts about the crime), probing information (the murder weapon), and irrelevant information. Farwell suggests that there are similar patterns between irrelevant and probing waveforms that would point towards innocence. Guilt could be depicted by a higher similarity between target and probe waves (Figure 3).7 Therefore, brain fingerprinting may provide an alternative to traditional polygraph technology if the EEG shows recognition of crime details only the perpetrator could know. It is important to note that like the polygraph test, the interpretation of these brain waves is subject to human error, which could potentially influence its use in court. Research supporting the true validity of MERMER technology is lacking.

Figure 3: Comparing EEG waveforms between individuals. Guilty persons have more similarities between target and probe waves compared to the innocent, who share similarities between probe and irrelevant waves. From Farwell and Donchin 1991.4

In 1993, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. set the precedent for using scientific evidence in a trial.8 This case concluded that judges are ultimately responsible for determining what evidence can be admitted, but frequently the experts are the only ones who truly understand the data. Therefore, there is a danger of manipulation of forensic evidence by both sides of the court to reach a favorable outcome – whether that be conviction or acquittal.

Although forms of forensic science have been used for centuries, it is important that the introduction of new technologies be scrutinized so that juries are not unduly swayed. Additionally, such advanced scientific analysis is not always readily accessible. For example, brain scans and the experts required for their interpretation can be expensive and therefore not widely used for many cases, especially involving indigent defendants. It is possible that advances in neuroscience and neurotechnology could prove useful in the criminal justice system; however, further work must be done to prove the reliability of new scientific technologies. In addition, widespread public education and law enforcement training should be implemented to minimize subjectivity in using scientific evidence.

TL:DR

  • Forensic science has been evolving since antiquity
  • Brain imaging and information can be admitted as evidence in the courtroom 
  • New forensic technologies must be validated

References

  1. Zagorski, N. Profile of Alex J. Jeffreys. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2006;103 (24) 8918-8920; doi: 10.1073/pnas.0603953103
  2. Aono, D., Yaffe, G., Kober H. Neuroscientific evidence in the courtroom: a review. Cogn Res Princ Implic. 2019; 4(1):40. doi.10.1186/s41235-019-0179-y
  3. Cabeza, R., Ciaramelli, E., Olson, I.R., Moscovitch, M. The parietal cortex and episodic memory: an attentional account. Nat Rev Neurosci 2008. 9, 613-625 https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn2459
  4. Farwell, L.A. Brain fingerprinting: A comprehensive tutorial review of detection of concealed information with event-related brain potentials. Cogn Neurodyn. 2012;6(2):115-154. doi:10.1007/s11571-012-9192-2
  5. Anderson, M.C., Bunce, J.G., Barbas, H. Prefrontal-hippocampal pathways underlying inhibitory control over memory. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2016 134:145-161. Doi:10.1016/j.nlm.2016.11.008
  6. Farwell, L.A. and Smith, S.S. Using brain MERMER testing to detect knowledge despite efforts to conceal. J Forensic Sci. 2001:46(1):135-145. PMID: 11210899
  7. Farwell, LA and Donchin, E. The truth will out: Interrogative polygraphs (“lie detection”) with event-related brain potentials. Psychophysiol. 1991;28(4):531-547. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8986.1991.tb01990.x
  8. O’Brien, E, Daeid, N.N., Black, S., 2015. Science in the court: pitfalls, challenges, and solutions. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B3702015006220150062. doi.10.1098/rstb.2015.0062

MORE IN LIONS TALK SCIENCE

How to Catch a Liar via Brainwave Science

According to Brainwave Science an average person hears about 200 lies every day. It is no surprise as we learn how to lie in our early development stages and by the time we become adults, we get pro at lying! The only catch here is the question, ‘how to catch a liar?’

Technological advancements in different fields of crime scene investigation have drastically changed the landscape. Today, law enforcement can use technology to detect and solve criminal activity happening at the moment. The approach is more proactive than reactive. Forensic Science has completely changed the way crimes are investigated, prosecuted, and adjudicated.

Biometrics work very well to confirm the identity of the person. They are being utilized in ID cards, bank cards, phones, and other technological devices and come in various forms such as fingerprints, irises, voice patterns, and the spatial geometry of the faces, etc. Biometric systems must be able to accommodate changes to the biometric over time which may be caused by aging, illness, or injury.  Let us not forget though that external subject identification via its Automated Biometrics Identification System aims to ensure national security and public safety. It can only, however, identify the person’s identity externally, but not the mind and schemes of the person.

Brain Fingerprinting – This technique is quite ideal for discovering if a piece of information is collected in a person’s brain through EEG. It correctly measures the electric brainwaves science which helps us tap into the person’s familiarity with the crime scene. The major challenge in using this technique is the need for extensive training and the cumbersome nature of software and hardware application needs specialized neuroscientists to administer tests that may not be learned by investigators. It is more of a service-based model where the expert is needed to constantly conduct testing.

iCognative technology is the only available neuroscience-based forensic technology that is over 99.9% accurate, applicable in almost all investigations, is based on proven P300 science, has been used in over 100 real-life cases, and is virtually unbeatable. Today many countries and intelligence agencies in the world are already reaping the benefits afforded by it. To top it all it supports human rights and eliminates torture.

iCognative technology:

  • identifies criminals from innocents, detects presence or absence or information in the brain
  • specifically screens privileged information holders, specific training like IED/EOD bomb-making
  • helps apprehend terrorism and crime supporters and sympathizers
  • helps identify foot soldiers from kingpins in organized crimes
  • successfully detects intent to harm and cause violence

distinguishes between witness and perpetrator

DNA and Fingerprints are the first go-to methods for all investigations. They are accepted as a piece of evidence in the court of law. However, the issue with them is that the crime scene must remain uncorrupted and the collection of evidence must be done properly to eliminate cross-contamination. Preservation of these evidence is also a labor-intensive task that must be conducted by professionals who have been extensively trained in this field.

Lie Detector/Polygraphs are not accepted as evidence but are extensively used by law enforcement agencies to eliminate innocents from the suspects. The accuracy rates of Lie detectors or Polygraph has been hotly debated. People are able to beat them, and the interpretation of results is done subjectively by the examiner. Most psychologists agree that there is little evidence that polygraph tests can accurately detect lies – American psychological Association (APA)

 

Did you know that an average person hears about 200 lies every day? It is no surprise as we learn how to lie in our early development stages and by the time we become adults, we get pro at lying! The only catch here is the question, ‘how to catch a liar?’ Technol

The Making of a Serial Killer / Child Molester: How to improve Police-Community relations?

What’s missing in how to improve police-community relations?

Written on 5/27/201529uwo0l

It’s amazing that no federal, state or municipal political leader; no police administrator; and certainly no media talking head has come forward to ask why only ONE side of the narrative of how police-community relationships should change.

The clear theme that is evident in ALL of these police-involved citizen deaths is that a history of bad life choices made by citizens creates a confluence of circumstances resulting in unintended consequences that unfortunately have led to the deaths of those portrayed in the media and by uninformed activists as “innocents.”

Bad parenting, no parenting, the irresponsibility of young males to impregnate young naive females and then abandon their parental responsibilities; failing to embrace the benefits of education; failure to develop meaningful job skills; drugs abuse; gang involvement; embracing and glorifying gangsta rappers who forward a destructive narrative of drugs, crime, and disrespect/violence against police.535cc702-6d8c-479b-96e8-65c869e0eb6d-original

Nearly every so-called “victim” of these recent police-involved deaths had a history of criminal arrests; were fleeing from detention and arrest on foot and/or in vehicles; had verbally and physically resisted detention or arrest; had assaulted police with weapons; were in possession of weapons; and/or were under the influence of drugs during the encounter and altercations.

Where is the public’s ownership of these poor life decisions? Why aren’t the parents, the political leaders, the community activists, the media talking heads, celebrities, nationally prominent athletes and the jet setting, race bating civil rights “activists” such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton extolling our children and citizens NOT to make these very obvious and poor life choices?

Why do some communities seem to have an overwhelming number of violent crimes, high levels of gang violence and drug abuse and interactions with police – and others either very low or almost no such instances? And why aren’t the obvious differences in these communities discussed?

Why are the false narratives such as “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” forwarded by the media, street activists, and our political leaders? Why are some segments of American society more intent upon assigning blame to the police; rather than accepting responsibility for their poor life choices?

The police are not psychologists, sociologists, criminologists and mental health practitioners. They are “First Responders.” Police respond to society’s problems; they can’t fix them. Police officers come from our communities; not from distant planets. They are us and we are them. Police get the training that YOU provide them with. Can they be better trained? Of course. Do they want and ask for better training and equipment? All the time, but YOU don’t want to pay for it. Do police need to be smart and better educated? Of course, but the problem is that agencies can’t find qualified officers because many who apply lack even the most basic education and personal skills to pass the tests to become a police officer. How are these issues the fault of police? Yet the public, politicians and the media consistently heap criticism on them.

If you want a dramatic national change in police-community relations, begin by first looking into the mirror as citizens and as a society and ask yourselves what are YOU willing to do to bring about this needed change? When will YOU begin accepting responsibility for YOUR actions? When you take this first step, you begin the journey upon the road towards positive change between yourselves and your police.

Dr. Ron Martinelli is a nationally renowned forensic criminologist and police expert with a national presence who investigates and independently reviews high-profile police-involved death cases at: martinelliandassociates.com

Dr. Ron Martinelli

Written on 5/27/2015

It’s amazing that no federal, state or municipal political leader; no police administrator; and certainly no media talking head has come forward to ask why only ONE side of the narrative of how police-community relationships should change.

The clear theme that is evident in ALL of these police-involved citizen deaths is that a history of bad life choices made by citizens creates a confluence of circumstances resulting in unintended consequences that unfortunately have led to the deaths of those portrayed in the media and by uninformed activists as “innocents.”

Bad parenting, no parenting, the irresponsibility of young males to impregnate young naive females and then abandon their parental responsibilities; failing to embrace the benefits of education; failure to develop meaningful job skills; drugs abuse; gang involvement; embracing and glorifying gangsta rappers who forward a destructive narrative of drugs, crime, and disrespect/violence against police.

Nearly every so-called “victim”…

View original post 438 more words

FBI To Formally Open New South Florida HQ

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The FBI’s new South Florida field office in Miramar. (Source: CBS4)

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There will be a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony Friday for the FBI’s new South Florida field office in Miramar.

FBI Director James Comey and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson are scheduled to officially open the building which is named for agents Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry L. Dove, who were killed in a gun battle with bank robbers in South Miami-Dade on Friday, April 11, 1986. The firefight is still considered the bloodiest in the history of the FBI. Agent Grogan was a 25 year veteran of the Bureau. Agent Dove had been with the FBI for four years.

“The naming ceremony and dedication is a fitting tribute to Special Agents Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry L. Dove. These brave men answered the call of duty and gave their lives to keep our streets, communities and country safe. We owe them and their families a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid,” said Wilson in a statement.

The new $194 million office building contains 330,000 square feet and sits on a 20-acre site adjacent to Interstate 75.

For 28 years, the FBI’s South Florida headquarters was located in North Miami Beach. The field office has jurisdiction over federal cases along Florida’s southeast coast from Vero Beach to Key West.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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The Resurgence of Polygraph “Lie-Detection” in an age of Evidence-Based Medicine

Polygraph Testing Dont’s & Do’sJoin Our Mailing List

On Junk-Science in the Medical Profession

A SPECIAL ME-P REPORT

By Michael Lawrence Langan MD

***

If you are ever asked to take a polygraph test–don’t do it. Those involved in the criminal justice system, including lawyers, are largely uneducated in the realm of scientific scrutiny and experimental methodology.

They may not separate science and pseudo-science, and erroneously believe that the polygraph is an accurate scientific instrument. Their interactions are with polygraph examiners who proselytize its use, and they have little or no interaction with scientists, psychologists, and physicians who refute its use.

Refuse to take the test and educate them. Cite the Frye Doctrine, go to the medical library, copy the scientific articles which belie its validity, and present them to whomever requested you to take the test. State that the principles and assumptions underlying polygraphy are not supported by our understanding of psychology, neurology, and physiology.

*** Polygraph_Test_-_Limestone_Technologies_Inc***

Junk-Science in the Medical Profession: The Resurgence of Polygraph “Lie-Detection” in an age of Evidence-Based Medicine.

Assessment

Then, put the burden of proof on their heads. Tell them to present you with scientific evidence that corroborates the validity of the test. There is simply no rational basis for a machine to detect liars.

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About the Author

Dr. Langan graduated from Oregon Health Sciences University School Of Medicine, Portland Oregon with an MD 21 years ago. He had his residency training of Geriatric Medicine-Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medicine Center and Internal Medicine at St Vincent Hospital Medicine Center.

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The Resurgence of Polygraph “Lie-Detection” in an age of Evidence-Based Medicine.

via The Resurgence of Polygraph “Lie-Detection” in an age of Evidence-Based Medicine.

The validation of the polygraph examination in forensic psychiatry

An interesting abstract to establish the validity of the use of lie detection techniques when establishing insanity.

Access the full site here.

 INTRODUCTION

There is increasing demand for psychiatric expert testimony in criminal proceedings. A person is responsible for his actions unless he is subject to the penal code, Section 34 h, insanity. Mental illness is not sufficient to determine insanity; it must be proven that the patient did not understand what he had done, did not comprehend the inappropriateness of his actions: or could not have avoided performing the deed. Opponents argue that the expert testimony is not scientific and not professional and alternatively that the mentally ill avoid responsibility even when there is no connection between the illness and the offence.

OBJECTIVES

The polygraph examination is an important instrument for confirming credibility of the testimony but it has not yet been investigated in the field of forensic psychiatry.

AIMS

To examine the validity of a polygraph examination in psychotic patients. To compare polygraph tests with psychiatric examinations.

METHODS

Patients were tested with a polygraph examination on there misjudged psychotic behaviour.

RESULTS

24 patients signed a consent form, but not all eventually participated. All patients received anti-psychotic medications. In general valid polygraph examination can be performed to patients with the psychotic illnesses (i.e. schizophrenia). Agitated or cognitive deprived patients tests were not reliable. The psychiatric examinations or the expert testimonies were in accord with the polygraph examination.

CONCLUSIONS

Preliminary data indicate that polygraph examinations are valid in patients with the psychotic illnesses. But not in agitated or cognitive deprived patients. Expert testimonies were found reliable in determining insanity.

 CAPTAIN PSYCHLITE

Psychlite

An interesting abstract to establish the validity of the use of lie detection techniques when establishing insanity.

Access the full site here.

 Introduction

There is increasing demand for psychiatric expert testimony in criminal proceedings. A person is responsible for his actions unless he is subject to the penal code, Section 34 h, insanity. Mental illness is not sufficient to determine insanity; it must be proven that the patient did not understand what he had done, did not comprehend the inappropriateness of his actions: or could not have avoided performing the deed. Opponents argue that the expert testimony is not scientific and not professional and alternatively that the mentally ill avoid responsibility even when there is no connection between the illness and the offence.

Objectives

The polygraph examination is an important instrument for confirming credibility of the testimony but it has not yet been investigated in the field of forensic psychiatry.

Aims

View original post 118 more words