Research Article

Cognitive Neurodynamics

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 263-299

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Brain fingerprinting field studies comparing P300-MERMER and P300 brainwave responses in the detection of concealed information

  • Lawrence A. FarwellAffiliated withGovernment Works, Inc., Brainwave Science Email author 
  • , Drew C. RichardsonAffiliated withFederal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory
  • , Graham M. RichardsonAffiliated withDepartment of Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University


Brain fingerprinting detects concealed information stored in the brain by measuring brainwave responses. We compared P300 and P300-MERMER event-related brain potentials for error rate/accuracy and statistical confidence in four field/real-life studies. 76 tests detected presence or absence of information regarding (1) real-life events including felony crimes; (2) real crimes with substantial consequences (either a judicial outcome, i.e., evidence admitted in court, or a $100,000 reward for beating the test); (3) knowledge unique to FBI agents; and (4) knowledge unique to explosives (EOD/IED) experts. With both P300 and P300-MERMER, error rate was 0 %: determinations were 100 % accurate, no false negatives or false positives; also no indeterminates. Countermeasures had no effect. Median statistical confidence for determinations was 99.9 % with P300-MERMER and 99.6 % with P300. Brain fingerprinting methods and scientific standards for laboratory and field applications are discussed. Major differences in methods that produce different results are identified. Markedly different methods in other studies have produced over 10 times higher error rates and markedly lower statistical confidences than those of these, our previous studies, and independent replications. Data support the hypothesis that accuracy, reliability, and validity depend on following the brain fingerprinting scientific standards outlined herein.


Brain fingerprinting P300-MERMER P300 Event-related potential Detection of concealed information MERMER