Excerpted From The Daily Mail: A superhuman skill once the preserve of comic book heroes could soon become a reality.
Scientists have used a combination of brain scanning and artificial intelligence to read the minds of ‘criminals’ to determine whether they are guilty of knowingly committing a crime.
This is the first time that neurobiological readings alone have been used to determine guilt, according to the study, and the findings could impact how we judge criminal responsibility in the future.
The researchers say that their brain scans are not currently admissible in court.
They caution that the mental state of a defendant should not be reduced to the classification of brain data.
But it is a big step forward for the emerging field of ‘neurolaw’, which connects neuroscience to legal rules and standards.
The full results of the study have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr Read Montague, director of the research institute’s human neuroimaging laboratory, said: ‘People can commit exactly the same crime in all of its elements and circumstances and, depending on their mental states, the difference could be one would go to jail for 14 years and the other would get probation.
‘Predicated on which side of the boundary you are on between acting knowingly and recklessly, you can be deprived of your freedom.
‘In principle, we are showing these brain states can be detected when the activity is taking place.’
Neuroscientists can now begin to ask further questions about the relationship between the mind and criminal activity.
Research in the future could examine whether a range of factors – like developmental disorders, mental health conditions, brain damage and substance abuse – could impact upon decisions made by defendants in criminal cases. Read the whole thing