What is Brain Fingerprinting?
Brain fingerprinting is a computer based
technology designed to determine hidden
information in individual’s brain by measuring
electrical brain wave responses to words,
phrases, or pictures presented on a computer
Brain fingerprints are measured by an EEG
event-related potential, a P300-MERMER.
response emitted by the brain of a
subject who has the relevant
information stored in his brain.
It is based on Oddball Paradigm.
Memory and Encoding Related
It is a patented device and comes
along with a head gear.
FIG : Showing the experimental setup
OPERATING MECHANISM :
shown to an
(an scalp ERP
Types of Stimuli Used
– Life-experience related
– Relevant to the investigated event -recognizable and noteworthy only
for the subjects who had participated in the event (MERMER)
– Push a button to indicate known image
– Contains relevant information
– Creates a baseline
• Irrelevant Stimuli
– information relevant to the crime that the suspect claims to have no
How Brain Waves are used to detect guilt?
A suspect is tested by looking at three kinds of information
represented by different colored lines :
RED : Information the suspect is expected to know
It arises due to target type stimulus.
GREEN: Information not to suspect. The irrelevant stimuli
is responsible for this type of brain waves.
BLUE: Information of the crime that only perpetrator
would know. This occurs due to probes.
In this figure the red and
blue lines are closely
correlated, suspect has
knowledge of crime
Information regarding the
crime is not known.
Phases of Brain Fingerprinting
There are four stages to Brain Fingerprinting:
1. Crime Scene Evidence Collection: Gathering evidences from
2. Brain Evidence Collection: A specialist checks whether the
crime scene evidence matches evidence stored in brain.
3. Computer Evidence Analysis: Computerized analysis is done
on the brain evidences and statistical methods are
applied to move to the next phase.
4. Scientific Result: Finding whether the person is guilty or not
Features of Brain Fingerprinting
The interpretation in brain fingerprinting is to look for P300 as response to stimuli
related to crime in question, e.g. a murder weapon or a victim’s face.
It is based on EEG signals, the system does not require the testee to issue a verbal
response to questions or stimuli
It uses cognitive brain responses, and it does not depend on the emotions of the
subject, nor is it affected by emotional responses
It is different from polygraph(lie-detector), which measures emotion-based
physiological signals such as heart rate, sweating and blood pressure
Unlike polygraph testing, it does not attempt to determine whether the subject is
lying or telling the truth.
• The entire Brain Fingerprinting System is under computer
control. The computer control includes:
Presentation of the stimuli
Recording of electrical brain activity
Mathematical data analysis algorithm that compares the
responses of the 3 stimulus
Determination of information present or information
• Macon County, Missouri Sheriff Robert Dawson engaged Dr.
Farwell to conduct a Brain Fingerprinting test on murder
suspect James B. Grinder. The test proved that the record
stored in Grinder’s brain matched the scene of the murder of
• Brain Fingerprinting could detect trained terrorists even
before they strike.
• Farwell LA, Donchin E., “The brain detector: P300 in the detection
of deception. Psychophysiology”
• Kumar Ravi, “Brain Fingerprinting”, Compusoft -An international
journal of advanced computer technology, 1 (2), Dec-2012 (VolumeI, Issue-II)
• Farwell LA, Donchin E., “Brain Fingerprinting”
• Wikipedia Brain Fingerprinting