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Copyright (c) 2009 University of Alabama
Law & Psychology Review

Student Article: Lie Detection: A Changing of the Guard in the Quest for Truth in Court?

2009

LAW & PSYCHOLOGY REVIEW

33 Law & Psychol. Rev. 139

Author

Cooper Ellenberg*

Excerpt



I. Introduction

Throughout history, human beings have sought to develop more effective methods of lie detection. 1 Lie detection remains a particularly important issue for members of the legal, criminal justice, and medical communities. 2 Courts, however, have been wary to allow recent methods of scientific lie detection into evidence. 3 Lately, scientists have started using more technologically sophisticated methods, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to detect lies and deception. 4 In fact, some scientists believe it is at least possible that continued development of current techniques, such as fMRI, could result in methods accurate enough to be used in court. 5

Interestingly, while scientists are working toward more accurate lie and deception detection technology, statisticians are beginning to research the accuracy of jury verdicts. 6 One study suggests that jury verdicts may be inaccurate more often than one would readily believe. 7 Given that lie detection technology is conceivably going to become more accurate, and also that jury verdicts may be inaccurate more often than once thought, some important questions are raised. What role should lie detection technology play in the courtroom as it reaches new levels of accuracy? Could advanced lie detection technology, like fMRI, replace the jury? What impact would highly accurate deception detection have on law and society? This note will directly address the developments in lie detection methods and recent research into jury verdict accuracy. It will then discuss the possible impacts of advanced, highly accurate ...
 
 
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