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Monday 24th October 2016

Brain scans misused as lie detectors

7th June 2010

Experts from the University of Edinburgh have warned that the use of brain scans to find out whether a person is lying could be misleading and dangerous.


MRI scans appear to show that certain areas of the brain "light up" on the scan when a person does not tell the truth.

In America a company has offered to provide scans for potential employers to screen new recruits, but most courts have vetoed the use of scans as legal evidence.

Mr Burkhard Schafer, the co-director of the SCRIPT Centre for Research in Intellectual Property and Technology at the University of Edinburgh's school of law, said there were difficulties concerning how reliable the scans were.

The Institute of Advanced Studies in Glasgow is holding a conference to discuss the issue.

Although many courts in America, Europe and Asia have rejected the use of scans as evidence of lying or mental health problems in capital punishment cases, in some cases they have been deemed admissable.

Mr Schafer said: "The promise to read a person's mind is beguiling, and some applications will be greatly beneficial."

"But a combination of exaggerated claims by commercial providers, inadequate legal regulation and the persuasive power of images bring very real dangers for us as citizens."


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