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The most fundamental point of consensus among scientists and other relevant experts regarding brain fingerprinting, forensic science, and science in general is that different methods produce different results. Brain fingerprinting, from the seminal Farwell and Donchin (1986; 1991) and Farwell and Smith (2001) papers to the present, has never produced an error, neither a false negative nor a false positive. Some alternative methods of applying the same brain responses in attempts to detect concealed information have resulted in 10% to 15% errors and in some cases as high as nearly 50% errors, no better than chance. Even some purported “replications” of Farwell and Donchin have in fact used fundamentally different methods. Consequently they have failed to achieve accuracy approaching that of brain fingerprinting and, unlike brain fingerprinting, are susceptible to countermeasures. These fundamental differences in scientific methods are the reason why brain fingerprinting has been successfully applied in the field and ruled admissible in court, and these alternative methods are unsuitable for field use or application in the criminal justice system or national security.
In developing this consensus, we have specified precisely the standard scientific methods that constitute brain fingerprinting and attempted to identify the specific standards that are necessary and sufficient to obtain the results that brain fingerprinting has consistently attained. We have sought to identify differences in methods that are responsible for the widely divergent results obtained in different laboratories conducting related research.
Scientific Consensus on Brain Fingerprinting
and Differing Views on the Science, Technology, and Application