“Brain Fingerprinting” Project at University of Arizona

Eric Swedlund reports for the Arizona Daily Star in an article titled, “UA on Security’s Cutting Edge.” Excerpt:

John Allen, a psychology associate professor, will try to answer this question: “Is Brain ‘Fingerprinting’ Ready for Prime Time?”

Conventional polygraphs measure factors such as heart rate and sweaty palms to determine nervousness or anxiety, but “brain fingerprinting” examines brain waves for particular responses associated with recognition.

The technique is currently being used to assess memory, but it has potential applications in criminal investigations.

Allen will test subjects in a mock crime scenario and note how recognition of a specific fact will elicit different brain activity. Applications could involve testing spies to determine if they recognize particular acronyms, pictures or phone numbers.

Allen said the procedure must accurately identify guilty people without incriminating the innocent. Tests thus far indicate about 90 percent accuracy on both accounts.

“In any attempt to increase homeland security, you have to protect the citizenry against false accusations,” Allen said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.