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Brain Fingerprinting Seminar Report


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.

What is Brain Fingerprinting?

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.  In this respect, Brain Fingerprinting is considered a type of Guilty Knowledge Test, where the "guilty" party is expected to react strongly to the relevant detail of the event of activity.  

Existing (polygraph) procedures for assessing the validity of a suspect's "guilty" knowledge rely on measurement of autonomic arousal (e.g., palm sweating and heart rate), while Brain Fingerprinting measures electrical brain activity via a fitted headband containing special sensors.  Brain Fingerprinting is said to be more accurate in detecting "guilty" knowledge distinct from the false positives of traditional polygraph methods, but this is hotly disputed by specialized researchers.


The person to be tested wears a special headband with electronic sensors that measure the electroencephalography from several locations on the scalp. In order to calibrate the brain fingerprinting system, the testee is presented with a series of irrelevant stimuli, words, and pictures, and a series of relevant stimuli, words, and pictures. The test subject's brain response to these two different types of stimuli allow the testor to determine if the measured brain responses to test stimuli, called probes, are more similar to the relevant or irrelevant responses.

The technique uses the well known fact that an electrical signal known as P300 is emitted from an individual's brain approximately 300 milliseconds after it is confronted with a stimulus of special significance, e.g. a rare vs. a common stimuls or a stimulas the proband is asked to count. The novel interpretation in brain fingerprinting is to look for P300 as response to stimuli related to the crime in question e.g., a murder weapon or a victim's face. Because it is based on EEG signals, the system does not require the testee to issue verbal responses to questions or stimuli.

Brain fingerprinting uses cognitive brain responses, brain fingerprinting does not depend on the emotions of the subject, nor is it affected by emotional responses. Brain fingerprinting is fundamentally different from the polygraph (lie-detector), which measures emotion-based physiological signals such as heart rate, sweating, and blood pressure. Also, unlike polygraph testing, it does not attempt to determine whether or not the subject is lying or telling the truth

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