Lie detection by functional magnetic resonance imaging

Hum Brain Mapp. 2002 Mar;15(3):157-64. doi: 10.1002/hbm.10020.


The accurate detection of deception or lying is a challenge to experts in many scientific disciplines. To investigate if specific cerebral activation characterized feigned memory impairment, six healthy male volunteers underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging with a block-design paradigm while they performed forced-choice memory tasks involving both simulated malingering and under normal control conditions. Malingering that demonstrated the existence and involvement of a prefrontal-parietal-sub-cortical circuit with feigned memory impairment produced distinct patterns of neural activation. Because astute liars feign memory impairment successfully in testing once they understand the design of the measure being employed, our study represents an extremely significant preliminary step towards the development of valid and sensitive methods for the detection of deception.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lie Detection* / psychology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / psychology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology