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Neurosci Lett. 2013 Mar 14;537:55-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2013.01.029. Epub 2013 Jan 28.

Detection of concealed information by P3 and frontal EEG asymmetry.

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National Research Institute of Police Science, Chiba, Japan.


Psychophysiological detection of deception has seen increased attention in both research and applied settings. In this field, the most scientifically validated paradigm is the Concealed Information Test (CIT). The CIT does not directly deal with whether a participant is lying, but examines whether a participant recognizes a critical relevant detail, inferred by differences in physiological responses between critical and non-critical items. Although event-related potential (ERP) approaches to the CIT have shown high accuracy, a combination of measures might improve the test's performance. We thus assessed whether a new CIT index, frontal EEG asymmetry that is supposed to reflect differences in approach/withdrawal motivation, would prove useful. Nineteen participants were asked to steal one item in a mock crime, and were then administered two CITs while concealing the stolen item. One CIT included the stolen item (i.e., guilty condition), whereas the other CIT did not (i.e., innocent condition). In the guilty condition, the concealed stolen item elicited greater relative left frontal alpha activity (indicative of relative right frontal cortical activity) as compared to the other items, suggesting that the recognition of the concealed item might have induced withdrawal motivation. Although the discrimination between guilty and innocent conditions by the asymmetry score alone was not as good as that by the ERP P3 index, combining the asymmetry score and P3 improved the detection performance significantly. The results suggest that the frontal EEG asymmetry can be used as a new measure in the CIT that provides additional information beyond that captured by the traditional ERP index.

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