UC Connect: Beyond lie detectors: 'The brain does not lie'

Presenter: Professor Robin Palmer, Dr Debra Wilson and Adjunct Professor Richard Jones
  • Date: Wednesday 2 August 2017, 07:00PM to 2 August 2017, 08:00PM
  • Location: C1, Central Lecture Theatres, Ilam Campus, University of Canterbury
  • Ticket: Free

What if we had the technology to read your mind? University of Canterbury academics are investigating the forensic potential of brain scanning technology, also known as ‘brain-fingerprinting’, and will discuss the innovative project in an upcoming UC Connect public lecture.

Forensic Brain-wave Project leaders Professor Robin Palmer and Dr Debra Wilson of the UC School of Law, will discuss the research along with key team member UC Adjunct Professor Richard Jones of the New Zealand Brain Research Institute.

The UC School of Law is leading the New Zealand Law Foundation-funded project, in association with partner researchers from Otago, AUT and Massey universities, investigating and attempting to validate forensic brain-wave analysis. The central aim of the project is to investigate and attempt to validate the forensic application of brain-wave technology pioneered by Dr Lawrence Farwell in the United States. The technology, which was accepted as evidence and favourably commented on in the 2003 Harrington case in the Ohio Supreme Court, has not been generally accepted or applied in US jurisdictions, nor in any countries outside the US.

Forensic brain-wave technology is designed to detect knowledge of information contained in the brain by reading and analysing the brain-waves of tested subjects using an EEG. The essence of the procedure is focused on the P300 brain wave, to conclude whether the subject has knowledge of identified items of information (called, ‘probes’, i.e. information known only to perpetrators). It is not a lie detector, but detects whether the subject has knowledge of identified probes. This proof of knowledge may then lead to inferences of guilt or participation.

Research results so far are highly encouraging, with a reported 96% to 99% accuracy level. The potential uses of this technology, are far-reaching: crime investigation and prosecution; civil litigation; employment disputes; counter-terrorism and drug-use detection.

To secure your place at this free public lecture, register here.


The UC Connect public lecture series (replacing What if Wednesdays) offers the community the opportunity to attend topical, interesting, educational lectures on a range of topics given by experts in their fields. To receive notifications on upcoming UC Connect speakers, join our mailing list.

Contact website: www.canterbury.ac.nz/ucconnect

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