More Brain Scans to Detect Future Terrorists
Worked well in a test:
For the first time, the Northwestern researchers used the P300 testing in a mock terrorism scenario in which the subjects are planning, rather than perpetrating, a crime. The P300 brain waves were measured by electrodes attached to the scalp of the make-believe "persons of interest" in the lab.
The most intriguing part of the study in terms of real-world implications, Rosenfeld said, is that even when the researchers had no advance details about mock terrorism plans, the technology was still accurate in identifying critical concealed information.
"Without any prior knowledge of the planned crime in our mock terrorism scenarios, we were able to identify 10 out of 12 terrorists and, among them, 20 out of 30 crime-related details," Rosenfeld said. "The test was 83 percent accurate in predicting concealed knowledge, suggesting that our complex protocol could identify future terrorist activity."
Rosenfeld is a leading scholar in the study of P300 testing to reveal concealed information. Basically, electrodes are attached to the scalp to record P300 brain activity -- or brief electrical patterns in the cortex -- that occur, according to the research, when meaningful information is presented to a person with "guilty knowledge."
The base rate of terrorism makes this test useless, but the technology will only get better.
Posted on August 6, 2010 at 5:36 AM • 61 Comments