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Birth of a Notion.
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Victims of violent crimes may be asked
pick out the perpetrator from a book of
arrest photos or examine composite
pictures ('photofits') to find a similar
These are both conscious processes and
will be subject the limitations of
recall as well as being repressed by
stress reactions of the brain.
What if we could tap into the
memories, unfiltered by expectations,
predudices and the stress repression of
the experience of the crime. Maybe we
During a polygraph photo ID, the witness
would be hooked up to a variety of
sensors that together form a polygraph
'lie detector'. Polygraphs work by looking
for stress reactions so this should be just
what we are looking for. The witness
would then be shown a set of pictures, or
gradually evolving photofit while trained
operatives examine the sensor feedback
and talk to the witness to eliminate false
[changed 'serious' to 'violent' as that is
what I meant in the first place.]
||I once saw on television a set up in which a woman caused a scene and a man ran away with her hand bag, Derren Brown then asked a spectator to consciously recall the thief.
He then put her into a trance like state and she unconsciously recalled the perpetrator - giving a lot more details than she was previously able to.
Of course I can't vouch for exactly how honest the show was, it could have all been a set up, but it just goes to show.
||It's equally easy to implant false memories this way. inadvertently or not.
||doesn't a lie detector only woik on conscious thought processes?
||+1 'cos its you, 'cos its christmas and 'cos its interesting.
||Polygraphs take biometric readings.
The stress patterns of lying are the axis
of a lie detector test. The stress
patterns of the remembering a
incident would be used as an axis here.
Note that I am only suggesting the use
of the polygraph on victims of crime,
not passive witnesses, as passive
witnesses might not have a stress
reaction associated with the crime.
||Say the victim has a stress response to
photographs of people with goatee
beards yet does not
remember the perpetrator of the crime
having one. It is possible that the victim
has some other memory associated with
a man with a beard. It is also possible
that the attacker had a beard and that
the victim has not consciously
remembered that fact.
||I guess this is where DrC is coming
from. If the victim is not carefully
interviewed and the results treated as
facts rather than possibilities then it is
possible that police would arrest a man
with a goatee beard, not because he
attacked the victim, but because the
victim was beaten by their uncle as a
child and the uncle had a goatee beard.
||I'm not suggesting that this is an
automatic solution. I'm suggesting that
it might be a tool. Like all tools it would
have to be used
with skill to obtain good results.
||I personally don't think this will work. It follows the same methods as lie detecting, and lie detectors haven't become institutionalised into criminal law or anything, and are mostly seen in movies. There's a reason for this; most likely lie detectors are very fallible. So why would you want to institute a method of criminal identification that is easily fallible?
||If this does get intergrated into the system, then plenty of innocents will get locked up just because the witness identifying them had a bowel movement, or something.
||I've never seen a real ID parade, but I often wonder if they could be made more dynamic (for want of a better word) and more natural, to see how the person moves or holds themselves, cues which we often unconciously take in. Maybe CCTV footage of the parade members arriving could be replayed.
||"'He... he had a rose in his teeth, sarge.'"
||I was in a line-up once. It was a farce as
the victim knew the accused before the
crime took place. At the time I thought
that the police had not interviewed the
victim sufficiently to find this out. Later
I realised that it might be a tactic to get
the accused to confess and save police
time. I never found out.
||I've also been the victim of a mugging
(some years back). At the trial, nearly a
year after the crime, I was worried
about not being able to confidently
identify the accused. Because a witness
had turned up, he decided to plead
guilty and I was around for a quick
discussion between the lawyers before
they went into court.
||When I saw the man and heard his voice
I had a huge stress reaction. It was as if
every hair on my body wanted to stand
on end. I couldn't breathe and my body
stiffened ready to attack or be attacked.
It only lasted a couple of seconds but it
is this reaction that has me convinced
that the idea has at least a chance of
||Interesting, [st3f]. Of couse, it would have to be done in a way which minimized the pressure and stress that the victim was put under, which is kind of tricky with a polygraph attached to you. But it's a very interesting thought, so +