What does deception look like in the brain? What about truth? If we knew scientifically, would we really want to know jurisprudentially? It might take all the fun out of practicing law.
Jane Campbell Moriarty, University of Akron School of Law, has published Visions of Deception: Neuroimages and the Search for Truth at 42 Akron Law Review 739 (2009). Here is the abstract.
The historical use of science in the search for truth has posed consistent evidentiary problems of definition, causation, validity, accuracy, inferential conclusions unsupported by data, and complications of real-world applications. As the Innocence Project exoneration data show and the National Academy of Science Report on Forensic Science suggest, our reach in this area may well exceed our grasp. This article argues that the neuroimaging of deception - focusing primarily on the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies done to date - may well include all of these problems. This symposium article reviews briefly the types of neuroimaging used to detect deception, describes some of the specific criticisms leveled at the science, and explains why these small group of studies are not yet courtroom-ready. Arguing that the studies meet neither the general acceptance nor reliability standards of evidence, the article urges courts to act with restraint, allowing time for further studies, further robust criticism of the studies, additional replication studies, and sufficient time for moral, ethical, and jurisprudential rumination about whether the legal system really wants this type of evidence.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.