Detecting deception in the brain: A functional near-infrared spectroscopy study of neural correlates of intentional deception

Scott Bunce, Ajit Devaraj, Meltem Izzetoglu, Banu Onaral, Kambiz Pourrezaei

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Little is known about the neurological underpinnings of deliberate deception. Recent advances in the detection of deception have examined brain responses during experimental deception protocols. A consensus has begun to emerge across the handful of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies that have examined deception implicating areas of the dorsolateral and inferior prefrontal cortex as active during deliberate deception. The purpose of the current study was to determine the utility of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIR), a neuroimaging technique that allows reasonable ecological utility, for the detection of deception. Using a modified version of the Guilty Knowledge Task, participants attempted to conceal the identity of a playing card they were holding while dorsolateral and inferior frontal cortices were monitored with fNIR. The results revealed increased activation in bilateral inferior frontal gyri (BA 47/45) and middle frontal gyri (BA 46/10) when participants were lying. The results provide evidence that inferior and middle prefrontal cortical areas are associated at least some forms of deliberate deception. fNIR has the potential to provide a field-deployable brain-based method for the detection of deception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2005
EventNondestructive Detection and Measurement for Homeland Security III - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 7 2005Mar 9 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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