that cue the viewer to certain portions of the visual field.45 In time, a true feedback loop that also helps adjust the computer to the human user may also be practical.

Interventions intended as therapy may in some cases enhance normal function. Brain-computer interfaces that control advanced prostheses that render the user faster or stronger would be one example, although perhaps an exoskeleton would be a nearer-term example of the same phenomenon. Dual-use considerations apply to this technology, just as they would for drugs intended to enhance cognitive performance (such as methylphenidate—marketed as Ritalin—which is often believed to help academic performance).

Deception Detection and Interrogation

Traditional measures of deception have relied on neurological correlates of stress like blood pressure and heart and breathing rates, but these are at best physiological proxies of intentional deception. One system known as the “brain fingerprinter” uses an EEG measure to detect an event-related potential called the P300 wave, which is associated with the recognition of a stimulus, such as a photograph of a certain location of interest. Services based on functional magnetic resonance imaging are being offered by companies such as No Lie MRI and CEPHOS, which market their products to governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

A 2008 NRC report entitled Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies stated that ‘‘traditional measures of deception detection technology have proven to be insufficiently accurate,” recommending that research be pursued “on multimodal methodological approaches for detecting and measuring neurophysiological indicators of psychological states and intentions….’’46 The report cautioned, however, that neurological measurements do not directly reveal psychological states, and so there is a distinct risk of over-interpretation of results, leading to both false negatives and false positives.

Another possible approach to deception detection involves the brain hormone oxytocin, which has been shown to be associated with a wide variety of social impulses. In the laboratory, subjects exposed to oxytocin via the nasal route have behaved in a more trusting and generous manner. The National Research Council’s 2008 report on emerging neuroscience identified oxytocin as a “neuropeptide of interest.” 47 However, the notion


45 See

46 National Research Council, Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2008.

47 National Research Council, Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies, 2008.

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