The qEEG in the Lie Detection Problem: The Localization of Guilt?


  • Kirtley E. Thornton



Previous attempts by the author to discern if the qEEG could be an effective instrument in the detection of a lie resulted in positive
results (100% effective, 73% of the time; Thornton, 1995). The procedure failed to make a decision in 4 of the 15 events being examined. A new design was created which requires no verbal response of the participant. The participant in the present study was presented with four instructions: (a) allow yourself to be anxious, (b) listen to stories of events of which you have no direct experience or knowledge, (c) listen to stories of self-reported true (real crimes) events which you participated in and feel guilty about your participation, and (d) block the real crime stories (events provided by participant) as they are read to you. The participant’s eyes were closed during the entire collection of data and no verbal response was elicited. Analysis of the different cognitive/emotional states with qEEG measures revealed an intriguing predominant pattern of left hemisphere/posterior (dorsal) activation for the experience of anxiety, right hemisphere (right temporal, in particular) activation for the experiencing of guilt and more centrally located activations when the participant attempted to block the real stories.