Newell = Lumpy
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh have developed a 'mind-reading' computer.
It is hoped the mind-reading machine, which can forecast the activity patterns a brain will create for a specific word, will offer a better understanding of how and where the brain stores information and even lead to improved treatments for language disorders and learning disabilities.
Researchers used nine volunteers to train the computer. They were given 58 words and asked to think about the meaning and properties of the words. Brain scans taken when the users were thinking about the different words were then captured using magnetic resonance imaging, which identifies real-time brain activity.
Here is a link to the rest of this story (short)
"It's a fantastic placebo effect." I'm reminded of a recent study in which Yale researchers gave participants various nonsensical explanations of human behavior. Half of the time, the researchers added the phrase "Brain scans indicate" before the explanation, and then inserted the spurious finding. When this brain-speak was added, participants judged the explanations more satisfying.
Link to full story
"Still, in two cases in California and New York, defendants accused of first-degree murder successfully argued for a lesser charge of manslaughter after presenting brain scans to establish diminished brain function from neurological disorders."
"Neurolaw" in the courtroom (long article)
I stopped reading at "New York and California". jb
"What impact will neuroimaging testimony have on future Panetti hearings?"
One attempt at the answer:
Neuroimaging and Competency to Be Executed after Panetti (abstract)
I like the copier idea...years ago as a trooper I use to use a radar detector...one wire around the suspect with the radar on...I would toggle my radar unit and thus activate the radar detector alarm...worked every time
I see this scenario several times a year. Defendant, the lone occupant of a motor vehicle, arrested for possession of marijuana found concealed in the vehicle, claims that someone else who has access to teh vechicle must have left the marijuana there, as he doesn't use drugs. Assuming he has no record for drugs, I make the following offer:
The Defendant will submit, at his expense, to a drug test at the local hospital, TODAY. I stipulate that if the test shows no THC, I will dismiss the case. The defense stipulates that if the test does show THC, it will be admissable at trial.
I've made that offer a couple of dozen times, and had 2 defendants take me up on it, in 13 years. Both were clean, and I dismissed their cases. The rest of the defendants, having just assured their attorney that they "don't use drugs," found a reason to reject my offer.
One of the first things I saw, as a new prosecutor, was a judge telling a young misdemeanor defendant she would accept his plea only if he did not test positive for marijuana. He went with probation and didn't test positive for marijuana. He did, however, test positive for cocaine.
I've done that once- a drug test ordered by the court, performed through probation, determinative of dismissal or guilt. The guy was claiming that the pot was his friends, and he didn't smoke. UA was clean, and I willingly dismissed.
I've actually considered purchasing some of the instant-read saliva drug test kits for this express purpose. Has anyone used those in their office?
by Barbara Bradley Hagerty
June 29, 2010
First in a three-part series
The criminal brain has always held a fascination for James Fallon. For nearly 20 years, the neuroscientist at the University of California-Irvine has studied the brains of psychopaths. He studies the biological basis for behavior, and one of his specialties is to try to figure out how a killer's brain differs from yours and mine.
About four years ago, Fallon made a startling discovery. It happened during a conversation with his then 88-year-old mother, Jenny, at a family barbecue.
"I said, 'Jim, why don't you find out about your father's relatives?' " Jenny Fallon recalls. "I think there were some cuckoos back there."
* * *
After learning his violent family history, he examined the images and compared them with the brains of psychopaths. His wife's scan was normal. His mother: normal. His siblings: normal. His children: normal.
"And I took a look at my own PET scan and saw something disturbing that I did not talk about," he says.
What he didn't want to reveal was that his orbital cortex looks inactive.
"If you look at the PET scan, I look just like one of those killers."
Read more from NPR
Brain Exam May Have Swayed Jury in Sentencing Convicted Murderer
by Greg Miller
14 December 2010
Testimony on the brain activity of a convicted murderer may have saved him from the death penalty.
Earlier this month, a jury in Miami rejected the death penalty and chose life in prison for Grady Nelson, who in 2005 stabbed his wife 61 times, killing her, and stabbed and raped her 11-year-old, mentally handicapped daughter. A report in The Miami Herald last weekend suggests that measurements of Nelson's brain activity may have influenced some members of the jury, who viewed the results as evidence of a brain injury that would partially explain his behavior.
Full article available at ScienceMag.org
Clear up this fuzzy thinking on brain scans
France has banned commercial applications of brain imaging. So why approve its use in court, asks Olivier Oullier.
The article from Nature.com
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