Nav: Home

U study finds recognition technology a step closer to use in courtroom

June 21, 2017

In most crime scenes, there is some information that is known only by investigators and the actual perpetrator. Only the kidnapper knows what the abandoned shed where they kept a victim looks like, and only the true thief will know which house was burglarized. When confronted by investigators about this type of information, suspects uniformly answer: "I've never seen that before." Soon, however, neuroscience technology may be able to help the legal system differentiate the truth tellers from the liars, according to a University of Minnesota study.

The report, "The Limited Effect of Electroencephalography Memory Recognition Evidence on Assessments of Defendant Credibility," published in the Journal of Law and the Biosciences, finds that brain-based memory recognition technology may be one step closer to court. The findings suggest American jurors can appropriately integrate the evidence in their evaluations of criminal defendants, which could ultimately lead to an additional expert witness on the stand.

"The technology measures the electrical brain activity of defendants and witnesses, and should improve the legal system's ability to determine who is telling the truth and who is not," said Law Professor Francis Shen, the study's lead author and director of the Neurolaw Lab, a unique collaborative at the University exploring the legal implications of neuroscience. "Our new interdisciplinary research is exciting because it's some of the first to empirically test how this would work in practice."

Assessing the credibility of human memory is a central feature of the criminal justice system, from early stages of investigations to courtroom adjudication. For more than two decades, scientists and legal scholars have observed that brain-based memory recognition technology might have the potential to improve the justice system.

The study includes results from multiple experiments examining the effect of neuroscientific evidence on subjects' evaluation of a fictional criminal fact pattern, while manipulating the strength of the non-neuroscientific evidence. In two experiments, one using 868 online subjects and one using 611 in-person subjects, researchers asked subjects to read two short, fictional vignettes describing a protagonist accused of a crime.

Manipulating expert evidence and the strength of the non-neuroscientific facts against the defendant, it was discovered that the neuroscientific evidence was not as powerful a predictor as the overall strength of the case in determining outcomes. The study concluded that subjects are cognizant of, but not seduced by, brain-based memory recognition evidence.

"One day, it could become commonplace in justice investigations," Shen said. "However, we need more studies like this and more collaboration across disciplines before we can be confident that this type of evidence should be used in real legal cases."
-end-
Additional information about related research is available at http://www.fxshen.com/.

University of Minnesota

Related Strength Articles:

Chimpanzee 'super strength' and what it might mean in human muscle evolution
For years, anecdotes and some studies have suggested that chimpanzees are 'super strong' compared to humans, implying that their muscle fibers are superior to humans'.
Greater muscle strength -- better cognitive function for older people
Greater muscle strength is associated with better cognitive function in ageing men and women, according to a new Finnish study.
Increased levels of active vitamin D can help to optimize muscle strength
Researchers at the University of Birmingham have shown that increasing the levels of active vitamin D can help to optimize muscle strength in humans.
Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor
In a new study, researchers at the University of California San Diego investigate why hair is incredibly strong and resistant to breaking.
New approach tests the strength of immunity
A new method to determine how effectively immune cells kill their targets could help personalize immune therapies.
Increasing muscle strength can improve brain function: Study
Increased muscle strength leads to improved brain function in adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), new results from a recent trial led by the University of Sydney has revealed.
Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber
Carbon fibers used to strengthen composite materials can be made stronger than advertised, according to materials scientists at Rice University.
Handgrip strength provides a new window to health
A simple test of grip strength could provide a quick and inexpensive screening tool for health practitioners, according to a new study from IIASA population researchers.
Nothing -- and something -- give concrete strength, toughness
Random microscopic voids and portlandite particles in cement help tune the properties of concrete, the world's most common building material.
Eastern Pacific storms Georgette and Frank see-saw in strength
Two tropical cyclones in the Eastern Pacific Ocean have see-sawed in strength today, July 26, 2016.

Related Strength Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#530 Why Aren't We Dead Yet?
We only notice our immune systems when they aren't working properly, or when they're under attack. How does our immune system understand what bits of us are us, and what bits are invading germs and viruses? How different are human immune systems from the immune systems of other creatures? And is the immune system so often the target of sketchy medical advice? Those questions and more, this week in our conversation with author Idan Ben-Barak about his book "Why Aren't We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System".