Mind Readers: Phillip Ross

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By littlelyss123
Words 1045
Pages 5
Mind Readers: By Phillip Ross Phillip Ross, contributing editor of Scientific American magazine, writes an article of a potential way to scan a brain and interpret thoughts as well as separate the truth from falsity. He starts off the article, imagining a world where one could see through to the truth. “Human society would be orderly, boring and as alien as an anthill,” he notes. If only there was a machine to read others’ minds… There is such a machine, but to some extent, can only measure anxiety, taken to mean as a lie. This machine, the polygraph, also known as the “lie detector”, only can hint whether a subject is lying. Critics say that the polygraph is flawed because of false positives (an honest answer is mistaken for a lie) and false negatives (a lie is overlooked as a truth). Furthermore, the polygraph is not permitted to use as evidence in the legal system; the National Research Council even called the device “blunt”. There must be a better way to achieve successful end results in looking at others’ thought processes. Ross names famous philosophers and scientists investigating the same problem. Greek philosopher Diogenes went about his life carrying a lamp to look for an honest man in what he thought was a corrupt society. Ross argues that instead of looking for clues of deception on the outside of one’s body (like sweating or breathing irregularly, as found in the polygraph), it is better to look inside one’s brain. There you can not only tell a truth from a lie, but look at how one solves a simple math problem step by step. A scientist who investigates this further is J. Peter Rosenfeld who observed an interesting feature in the EEG (electroencephalograph; chart of brain’s electrical signals) in which lying also elicited the P300 wave (component provoked in the process of decision making). Another scientist, Daedalus, observed that a…...

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