Neuroethics Publications

Commentary: The Future of Forensic Functional Brain Imaging

Daniel D. Langleben, University of Pennsylvania
Frank M. Dattilio, University of Pennsylvania

Document Type Journal Article

Suggested Citation
Langleben DD, Dattillio FM: Commentary: the future of forensic functional brain imaging. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 36:502–4, 2008


In "Functional MRI Lie Detection: Too Good to be True?" in this issue of The Journal, Joseph Simpson reviews the merits and the limitations of using fMRI to detect deception. After presenting the gaps in experimental data that stand in the way of translating the laboratory proof of concept to a field application, Simpson surveys the legal, regulatory and ethics concerns facing fMRI, should it emerge as a technologically robust method of lie detection. In our commentary, we update and interpret the data described by Simpson, from the points of view of an experimental scientist and a forensic clinician. We conclude that the current research funding and literature are prematurely skewed toward discussion of existing findings, rather than generation of new fMRI data on deception and related topics such as mind-reading, consciousness, morality, and criminal responsibility. We propose that further progress in brain imaging research may foster the emergence of a new discipline of forensic MRI.


Date Posted: 02 July 2010