India Using Brain Scans to Prove Guilt in Court
This seems like a whole lot of pseudo-science:
The technologies, generally regarded as promising but unproved, have yet to be widely accepted as evidence -- except in India, where in recent years judges have begun to admit brain scans. But it was only in June, in a murder case in Pune, in Maharashtra State, that a judge explicitly cited a scan as proof that the suspect's brain held "experiential knowledge" about the crime that only the killer could possess, sentencing her to life in prison.
This latest Indian attempt at getting past criminals -- defenses begins with an electroencephalogram, or EEG, in which electrodes are placed on the head to measure electrical waves. The suspect sits in silence, eyes shut. An investigator reads aloud details of the crime -- as prosecutors see it -- and the resulting brain images are processed using software built in Bangalore.
The software tries to detect whether, when the crime's details are recited, the brain lights up in specific regions -- the areas that, according to the technology's inventors, show measurable changes when experiences are relived, their smells and sounds summoned back to consciousness. The inventors of the technology claim the system can distinguish between people's memories of events they witnessed and between deeds they committed.
EDITED TO ADD (10/13): An expert committee said it is unscientific, but their findings weren't accepted.
Posted on September 22, 2008 at 6:10 AM • 60 Comments