According the New York Times, India’s courts have blasted into new territory this week by admitting brain imagery data to convict a suspect of a crime. The only problem is the method has not been verified by any scientific journal on the planet.
As a modern update to the lie detector test, The Brain Electrical Oscillations Signature test actually is fairly straight-forward. It’s based on the EEG machine, which measures the brain’s electrical activity, muscular tension, and eye movements. The makers of the machine claim that the processed imagery can provide proof that a suspect experienced the crime or if he is merely imagining it.
The rationale here is that parts of the brain will show activity if a real memory is triggered, such as smell and visual imagery that is brought to consciousness suddenly.
This is unconscionable, to say the least. Very reminiscent of Chris Gray’s recent (2007) article in the Anthropology of Consciousness titled “Consciousness Studies: the Emerging Military-Industrial-Spiritual-Scientific Complex.” Except, there is no scientists in this real-world rendering of the complex.
One of the issues I have with this Orwellian application of the EEG is the claim that the software engineers can differentiate “actual” memories from imagined scenarios by brain topography. My understanding of brain activity is that there is little difference between experiencing a sensation and dreaming or imagining a sensation. To the brain, this is the same activity. And memory itself is shifty, fractured, continuously recreated, and highly unreliable.
Welcome to the dark side of consciousness studies!