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Copyright (c) 2007 Brooklyn Law Review
Brooklyn Law Review

NOTE: Admissibility of fMRI Lie Detection: The Cultural Bias Against "Mind Reading" Devices

Summer, 2007

72 Brooklyn L. Rev. 1351


Leo Kittay +


I. Introduction

In the last fifteen years, scientists have discovered a way to watch the brain think. 1 New functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology can take pictures of a person's brain at the very moment the person is engaged in a task. 2 An fMRI machine can generate images that vividly show which brain regions are at work while, say, answering a question or telling a story. 3 Studies show that a person answering a question truthfully uses relatively few brain regions, typically those associated with memory. 4 Telling a lie, however, seems to require many more brain regions, including those linked to calculation and cognitive control. 5 Thus, by showing how much brain activity is taking place and where in the brain the activity is occurring, fMRI technology can reveal one's cognitive tasks. 6

At the moment, two rival companies, Cephos Corp. 7 and No Lie MRI, Inc., 8 are competing for the new market in fMRI lie-detection technology. 9 They hope to assist defendants who would voluntarily submit to the test in order to bolster claims of innocence. 10 The companies "use similar techniques, but different software" to analyze the scans. 11 They both want to be the first to successfully use the technology at trial. 12 No court has passed judgment on the new test's admissibility. 13 However, while the science is still being tested, 14 No Lie MRI administered the first commercial use of fMRI lie detection in December ...
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