Tuesday, 22 April 2014 07:48





Brain fingerprinting is an objective, scientific method to detect concealed information stored in the brain by measuring electroencephalographic (EEG) brain responses, or brainwaves, noninvasively by sensors placed on the scalp. The technique involves presenting words, phrases, or pictures containing salient details about a crime or investigated situation on a computer screen, in a series with other, irrelevant stimuli. Brain responses to the stimuli are measured. When the brain processes information in specific ways, characteristic brainwave patterns can be detected through computer analysis of the brain responses.

When an individual recognizes something as significant in the current context, he experiences an “Aha!” response. This response is characterized by a specific brainwave pattern known as a P300-MERMER. Brainwave responses are analyzed to determine whether or not the specific information tested is stored in the brain of the subject or not. Brain fingerprinting computes a determination of “information present” – the subject knows the critical information, or “information absent” – he does not. The system also computes a statistical confidence for each individual determination, e.g., “information present, 99.9% confidence” indicates that there is a 99.9% probability that the subject knows the relevant information tested. If the statistics computed do not provide a statistical confidence high enough to meet a predetermined criterion for either a determination of “information present” or “information absent,” then no determination is made: the outcome is “indeterminate.”

The Four Phases of Brain Fingerprinting

In fingerprinting and DNA fingerprinting, evidence recognized and collected at the crime scene, and preserved properly until a suspect is apprehended, is scientifically compared with evidence on the person of the suspect to detect a match that would place the suspect at the crime scene. Brain Fingerprinting works similarly, except that the evidence collected both at the crime scene and on the person of the suspect (i.e., in the brain as revealed by electrical brain responses) is informational evidence rather than physical evidence. There are four stages to Brain Fingerprinting, which are similar to the steps in fingerprinting and DNA fingerprinting:

1. Brain Fingerprinting Crime Scene Evidence Collection;

2. Brain Fingerprinting Brain Evidence Collection;

3. Brain Fingerprinting Computer Evidence Analysis; and

4. Brain Fingerprinting Scientific Result.

In the Crime Scene Evidence Collection, an expert in Brain Fingerprinting examines the crime scene and other evidence connected with the crime to identify details of the crime that would be known only to the perpetrator. The expert then conducts the Brain Evidence Collection in order to determine whether or not the evidence from the crime scene matches evidence stored in the brain of the suspect. In the Computer Evidence Analysis, the Brain Fingerprinting system makes a mathematical determination as to whether or not this specific evidence is stored in the brain, and computes a statistical confidence for that determination. This determination and statistical confidence constitute the Scientific Result of Brain Fingerprinting: either "information present" ("guilty") – the details of the crime are stored in the brain of the suspect – or "information absent" ("innocent") – the details of the crime is not stored in the brain of the suspect.

Advantages of brain fingerprinting

Brain fingerprinting has advantages and disadvantages with respect to other forensic science and investigative methods. Compared to previously available scientific methods for matching features of a crime scene with features of a suspect, the primary advantage of brain fingerprinting is that in most crimes very few such features can be found. In some crimes none are available. The record stored in the brain of the perpetrator is often a rich source of information that can be connected to the crime scene. Except in rare cases where the crime has been recorded on video, the record stored in the brain is generally the most comprehensive available record of the crime, even though it is not perfect.

Brain fingerprinting also has advantages in comparison to witness testimony. It provides an objective, scientific way to detect the record of the crime stored in the brain directly. Witness testimony provides an indirect, subjective account of this record. Witnesses may lie. The brain never lies. If the information is stored in the brain, it can be objectively detected regardless of the honesty or dishonesty of the subject. Brain fingerprinting thus eliminates one of the two major disadvantages of witness testimony, that of deception on the part of the witness.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 07:16