Single trial discrimination of truthful from deceptive responses during a game of financial risk using alpha-band MEG signals

Seth, Anil K, Iversen, John R and Edelman, Gerald M (2006) Single trial discrimination of truthful from deceptive responses during a game of financial risk using alpha-band MEG signals. Neuroimage, 32 (1). pp. 465-476. ISSN 1053-8119

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We studied whether magnetoencephalography (MEG) could detect deceptive responses on a single-subject, trial-by-trial basis. To elicit spontaneous, ecologically-valid deception, we developed a paradigm in which subjects in a simulated customs setting were presented with a series of pictures of items which might be in their baggage, and for each item they decided whether to `declare (tell the truth) or `smuggle (lie). Telling the truth involved a small but certain monetary penalty whereas lying involved both greater monetary risk and greater potential reward. Most subjects showed decreased signal power in the 8-12 Hz (alpha) range during deceptive responses as compared to truthful responses. In a cross-validation analysis, we were able to use alpha power to classify truthful and deceptive responses on a trial-by-trial basis, with significantly greater predictive accuracy than that achieved using simultaneously recorded skin conductance signals. Average predictive accuracy for spontaneous deception was greater than 78%, and for some subjects, predictive accuracy exceeded 90%. Our results raise the possibility that alpha power modulation during deception may reflect risk management and/or cognitive control.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Originality: Presents a novel experimental paradigm and analysis technique for brain-based lie detection using magnetoencephalography (MEG). Rigour: Develops a methodology that motivates spontaneous deception in a controlled experimental setting and introduces a numerical analysis (based on nested linear regression and cross validation) suitable for the subject-by-subject and trial-by-trial assessment of recorded MEG signals. Significance: The results contribute to rapidly growing topic of 'reading out' of cognitive states from neural activity (i.e., 'reverse' brain imaging, or 'brain-reading'). The results also suggest a novel role for alpha oscillations in mediating cognitive responses to risk. This connection to risk suggests further implications for the related field of neuroeconomics. Impact: Our results light the way to the development of practical brain-based lie detection devices. This study was the first to combine trial-by-trial analysis and spontaneous deception in a single paradigm, an essential methodological innovation.
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Depositing User: Anil Seth
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:11
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2012 15:56
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