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Soc Neurosci. 2009;4(6):510-7. doi: 10.1080/17470910801907168.

Can simultaneously acquired electrodermal activity improve accuracy of fMRI detection of deception?

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-9119, USA.


Observation of changes in autonomic arousal was one of the first methodologies used to detect deception. Electrodermal activity (EDA) is a peripheral measure of autonomic arousal and one of the primary channels used in polygraph exams. In an attempt to develop a more central measure to identify lies, the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to detect deception is being investigated. We wondered if adding EDA to our fMRI analysis would improve our diagnostic ability. For our approach, however, adding EDA did not improve the accuracy in a laboratory-based deception task. In testing for brain regions that replicated as correlates of EDA, we did find significant associations in right orbitofrontal and bilateral anterior cingulate regions. Further work is required to test whether EDA improves accuracy in other testing formats or with higher levels of jeopardy.

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