Professor Burkhard Schaefer comments on use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

In a recent article by the Scotsman newspaper, Professor Burkhard Schaefer commented on the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), as utilised by some commercial businesses and, on one occasion, a US court.

In a recent article by the Scotsman newspaper, Professor Burkhard Schaefer commented on the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), as utilised by some commercial businesses and, on one occasion, a US court.

Professor Schaefer discussed the growth of commercial companies offering brain imaging services for lie detection.  He expressed doubts noting that the results were not always reliable in some uses of the technology: 'The statistical nature of the science makes this a difficult task, and robust standards need to be developed.  We have concerns that decision makers will over-estimate the relevance and importance of the results, simply because they come from 'scientific experts' and have pictures attached to them.' 

He also identified the possible ethical implications of the technology, such as the discovery of a brain tumour when the scan was being carried out for non-medical reasons. 

 

Burkhard Schaefer is Professor of Computational Legal Theory at Edinburgh Law School.

 

Academic Profile: Professor Burkhard Schaefer