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Is it possible to ‘read’ the mind, for one human being to know what another is thinking or feeling, their beliefs and intentions. And if I can read your mind, how about others – could our authorities, in the criminal justice system or the security services? Some developments in contemporary neuroscience suggest the answer to this question is ‘yes’. While philosophers continue to debate the mind-brain problem, a range of novel technologies of brain imaging have been used to argue that specific mental states, and even specific thoughts, can be identified by characteristic patterns of brain activation; this has led some to propose their use in practices ranging from lie detection and security screening to the assessment of brain activity in persons in persistent vegetative states.