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Am J Bioeth. 2008 Jan;8(1):9-20. doi: 10.1080/15265160701842007.

Neuroimaging techniques for memory detection: scientific, ethical, and legal issues.

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1
University of Guelph.

Abstract

There is considerable interest in the use of neuroimaging techniques for forensic purposes. Memory detection techniques, including the well-publicized Brain Fingerprinting technique (Brain Fingerprinting Laboratories, Inc., Seattle WA), exploit the fact that the brain responds differently to sensory stimuli to which it has been exposed before. When a stimulus is specifically associated with a crime, the resulting brain activity should differentiate between someone who was present at the crime and someone who was not. This article reviews the scientific literature on three such techniques: priming, old/new, and P300 effects. The forensic potential of these techniques is evaluated based on four criteria: specificity, automaticity, encoding flexibility, and longevity. This article concludes that none of the techniques are devoid of forensic potential, although much research is yet to be done. Ethical issues, including rights to privacy and against self-incrimination, are discussed. A discussion of legal issues concludes that current memory detection techniques do not yet meet United States standards of legal admissibility.

PMID:
18236327
DOI:
10.1080/15265160701842007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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