Brain-based mind reading in forensic psychiatry: exploring possibilities and perils

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One of the areas in which brain-based mind reading (BMR) may be applied is forensic psychiatry. The purpose of this paper is to identify opportunities and challenges for forensic psychiatry regarding BMR. In order to do so, a conceptual framework for BMR will be introduced, which distinguishes between three basic types of BMR, based on how they relate to the subject's knowledge. In addition, three features of BMR techniques will be articulated: first, whether they require passive cooperation; second, whether they require active cooperation; and third, whether they require that the subject is awake. Each of the types of BMR entails specific chances and risks for forensic psychiatry, involving, for example, confidentiality in the doctor–patient relationship and the possibility of coercive use of BMR techniques. It will be concluded that apart from legal considerations, such as tests of admissibility of evidence, professional ethics is highly relevant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-329
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Law and the Biosciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • brain imaging
  • forensic psychiatry
  • legal insanity
  • lie detection
  • mind reading
  • neurolaw


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