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Detection of Deception: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Traditional means of lie detection, such as the polygraph, rely on measurements of peripheral nervous system (PNS) activity. Recent advances in noninvasive brain imaging techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), have aroused public and academic interest in developing a viable alternative. This entry briefly explains the technique of MRI and its application in the detection of deception.

How MRI Works

An MRI scanner is a powerful superconducting electromagnet with a central bore large enough to accommodate a human body. This magnet generates a magnetic field perpendicular to the plane of the central bore. It is equipped with electromagnetic gradient coils that produce weaker, rapidly changing magnetic fields. These magnetic “pulses” cause the hydrogen nuclei in the body to resonate and emit radiofrequency signals used to ...

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