CCNi Debate 2021: Lie Detection and Brain Reading

Next CCNi Debate scheduled for Monday 22nd March 4-7pm via Zoom. Details below.

CCNi Debate 2021 - Lie Detection and Brain Reading - The decoding of neural signals to determine mental states – challenges and opportunities

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is one of our most essential tools for the non-invasive study of human cognition. Hence one leading research focus in the field of fMRI is how to optimize power and reliability of data. This drive emerged from long-standing concerns that not only brain imaging but also the biosciences and psychology in general suffers from Type I error rate inflation (i.e. false positives) in a large number of studies. Some researchers argue strongly for larger samples of participants to ensure test–retest reliability at the group level. However, a more urgent societal objective should be to elevate fMRI as tool for revealing consistent neuronal markers at the individual level. For example, fMRI use in presurgical mapping or for lie detection is only legitimate when done in individual subjects. Brain decoding technologies are tools that enable the reading out of our decisions, perceptions or emotions, and have profound neuroethical implications across legal, neuromarketing, and technological domains. How far can fMRI go in reading our minds? Are there reliable brain markers predictive of criminality or deception, for use in forensic psychiatry? Can we achieve robust predictors of social traits? In this panel discussion, we examine single subject uses of fMRI, and associated legal and ethical implications.

The speakers are Prof Barbara Sahakian, Prof Jack Gallant, Prof John-Dylan Haynes & Prof Hank Greely.

Professor Barbara Sahakian, University of Cambridge

Author of Sex, Lies, and Brain Scans: How fMRI Reveals What Really Goes on in our Minds (Barbara J. Sahakian & Julia Gottwald. Oxford University Press: 2017), Barbara is a clinical neuropsychologist who in this book addresses the use of neuroimaging to read our minds, including the ethical implications.

Prof Jack Gallant, UC Berkeley

Jack has pioneered brain imaging experiments in computational systems neuroscience, including the reconstruction of our visual experiences.

Prof John-Dylan Haynes, Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin

John-Dylan’s research focus includes brain reading in perceptual decision-making, intention and free will. He has shown that unconscious brain activity patterns predict our decisions.

Prof Hank Greely, Stanford (speaker/chair)

Hank is an expert in ethical, legal, and social consequences of new biomedical technologies in neuroscience. Hank is interested in how tools to measure our thoughts and decisions could fundamentally change legal systems, for example, how fMRI could be used for lie detection.

To register for this event please follow this link



First published: 3 March 2021