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Hey Adam,

Thanks for the hat-tip and the perspective. I agree with you that when discussing neuro-evidence, one ought to keep uppermost the idea that while we cannot specify baseline reliability of juror lie detection, the bulk of the evidence suggests that it is not particularly good, which is particularly important where the consequences of errors are so large.

But I don't think this fundamentally alters the significance of the neuro-evidence skeptics. Whatever the problems with juror lie detection, it seems to me to be worse to introduce a form of evidence that is very likely to exercise enormous influence over a jury (given the power of pretty brain pictures) while offering nothing that suggests greater reliability and accuracy than, say, juror lie detection.

If we have a significant problem with juror lie detection, and I certainly think that we do, then we ought to reflect on the significance of these problems and whether there might be ways of improving them. Importing a form of evidence that proffers no greater assurances of reliability and accuracy but which will be much more likely to sway a jury then other forms of evidence offered as the truth of the matter asserted seems to be enough of a problem to generate the concern typically raised in the discourse.


Hi Daniel,

I agree with the thrust of your comments above. If brain-based lie detection is unreliable and confuses jurors more than it helps them, there's no point in admitting a technology that will make fact-finding worse!

My impression (in our CrimProf comment exchange) was that Pardo and Patterson (and Bennett and Hacker) have a particular critique about how we understand and speak about the mind and the brain. That particular critique is not relevant to the use of brain-based lie detection provided one relies only on correlations between brain phenomena and lying phenomena.

Hi Adam,

That was a different "Daniel"!

(I almost always sign in with my full name . . . )

Oh, okay! Sorry about that!

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