Could MRI Replace Lie Detectors in the Future?

lying affects the brain

Have you ever wondered about the science of lying? If lying affects the brain, would it be possible to use brain scanning to find the truth? What exactly happens in your brain when you tell a lie?


At the moment, the US legal system doesn’t use lie detectors of any kind. Nonetheless, polygraphs are widely used in a variety of settings. For example, you might have to pass a polygraph test if you want to apply for a high-security job.

But according to the American Psychological Association, polygraphs can only infer whether a person is telling the truth. It is not yet possible to know for sure whether this assessment is accurate.

So how do polygraphs work? Lying affects the brain, and this leads to involuntary physical reactions. Polygraphs pick up on these changes, but they cannot tell exactly what is happening in the brain.

Could MRI Be the Solution?

MRI tests can give interesting us social insights. After all, they make it possible to tell which areas of the brain are engaged during a certain activity, such as remembering a past event. So could it be possible to hell when a test subject is lying?

Scientists believe that MRI tests can’t necessarily act as lie detectors. There are some studies on this subject, but the sample size was too small to yield reliable results.

We know that lying affects the brain in certain areas. But the problem is, other actions can cause the same neurological response. An MRI test won’t tell you whether a person is telling a lie or using some related cognitive process.

It is possible that medical science will advance enough to change this. In the future, MRI tests might become an ordinary legal tool.

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