H. Beam Piper’s veridicator?

Fans of Piper’s excellent work will remember his veridicator, the nearly infallible lie detector (it doesn’t work on crazy people who actually believe they’re God) that made the Federation legal system palatable. Because, unlike the polygraph which simply measures a few external physical parameters for the purely subjective evaluation of potentially biased examiners, the veridicator measured what was going on in the brain; it scanned for brainwaves indicating that a liar was actively suppressing a particular statement. (There’s a fun scene in Little Fuzzy where a biased scientist is trying very hard to convince himself and the court that his testimony on his research is true. Makes me want to slap a veridicator helmet on a few climate change “scientists” craniums.)

Welcome to the 7th Century AE.

Scientists Trying New Trick to Catch You in a Lie
“If our suspect — he for brevity — says he never saw it, and yet he really did see it, a brain wave called P300 lights up like a Christmas tree. That elevated cerebral activity shows up if he is hooked to an electroencephalograph, according to John B. Meixner and J. Peter Rosenfeld, who disclosed their findings in the journal Psychological Science. “

Actually, this is still a long way from a real veridicating lie detector.* What it seems to be doing is checking if a visual scene (like a crime scene photo) is familiar. If it works as advertised, it could still be used as a screening tool to eliminate suspects who don’t recognize a place. Not so helpful for folks who live/work/visit at the location, I suppose.

Darned interesting, though. I wonder if anyone is working on statement suppression detection?


* But so is the polygraph.


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