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Memory and Encoding Related Multifaceted Electroencephalographic Response (MERMER) is a brain response derived from the EEG data at different sites. The main component of a MERMER is the P300 brainwave, an evoked response that has been well studied in the scientific literature as a potential indicator of recognition. The MERMER response is not present in subjects who lack specific knowledge about a word, phrase, or picture presented. MERMER is utilized in brain fingerprinting.
The procedure used is similar to the Guilty Knowledge Test; a series of words, sounds, or pictures are presented via computer to the subject for a fraction of a second each. Each of these stimuli are organized by the test-giver to be a “Target,” “Irrelevant,” or a “Probe.” The Target stimuli are chosen to be relevant information to the tested subject, and are used to establish a baseline brain response for information that is significant to the subject being tested. The subject is instructed to press one button for Targets, and another button for all other stimuli. Most of the non-Target stimuli are Irrelevant, and are totally unrelated to the situation that the subject is being tested for. The Irrelevant stimuli do not elicit a MERMER, and so establish a baseline brain response for information that is insignificant to the subject in this context. Some of the non-Target stimuli are relevant to the situation that the subject is being tested for. These stimuli, or Probes, are relevant to the test, are significant to the subject, and will elicit a MERMER, signifying that the subject has responded to stimuli showing it to be significant. If a subject is lacking this information in their brain, the response to the Probe stimuli will be indistinguishable from the Irrelevant stimuli. This response does not elicit a MERMER, indicating that the information is absent from their mind. Note that there does not have to be an emotional response of any kind to the stimuli- this test is entirely reliant upon recognition response to the stimuli, and relies upon a difference in recognition.
Brain fingerprinting is a paradigm change that has resulted from the discovery of the MERMER by Dr. Lawrence Farwell. This discovery was brought about by the failure of polygraphs and other attempts at lie detection to resolve their tendency to produce false positives and negatives. This inability to understand the mechanisms of lying or the ability to omit pertinent facts undetected has been acknowledged as a crisis by the forensic science and criminal science communities. Dr. Farwell states that it is unclear what the impact of this new technology will be on how crimes are investigated. However, if this technology proves legitimate and is accepted by the forensic scientific community, it will require more specialized ways of collecting evidence from a crime scene that are “specifically suited to identifying the perpetrator through brain MERMERs.” Farwell also suggests a societal paradigm shift with the advent of MERMER testing, wherein an innocent person can easily prove their innocence through a simple scan, which is harmless, and requires no action or testimony from them.
Comparative MERMER methodologies
Three other experimental methodologies will be discussed in order to address the significance of the MERMER in investigative roles: In research conducted by Dr. Farwell in collaboration with Dr. Drew Richardson, then a scientist at the FBI Laboratory, Brain Fingerprinting had 100% accurate scientific results in using the MERMER to distinguish 17 FBI agents from 4 non-FBI agents out of a group of 21 subjects.  In one experiment, the information detected was specific knowledge that would identify an individual as an FBI agent. The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether this method could be useful in detecting members of a group or organization of people with a particular knowledge (e.g., members of a foreign intelligence organization or a terrorist organization). Stimuli were words, phrases, and acronyms flashed on a computer screen that would be common knowledge only to someone within federal law enforcement. A second experiment, conducted at the FBI by Dr. Farwell in collaboration with SSA Sharon Smith of the FBI Laboratory, correctly detected whether or not individuals had participated in specific, real-life events. This research has been published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences.
The second study was commissioned by the CIA and consisted of three experiments that examined the interchangeability of indicators. The first consisted of pictorial stimuli with probes and targets directly related to a simulated espionage enacted by some of the subjects. Another experiment was conducted by Dr. Farwell at the US Navy in collaboration with Navy LCDR Rene Hernandez, PhD. This experiment was collaboration between the intelligence agency and the Navy. In this experiment words, phrases, and acronyms were presented on a computer screen, and the information detected through brain responses was relevant to knowledge of military medicine.
A third example used verbal stimuli to identify subjects with knowledge of actual crimes. All 79 subjects in these three trials were identified correctly as “information present” or “information absent”. As with the other experiments, Brain Fingerprinting was 100% accurate.
The weight of the evidence in this body of experimentation would imply that systematic replications have been performed and have been found consistent with the conclusion that brain fingerprinting is scientifically valid. Visual and pictorial stimuli were both shown to be relevant methods of presentation. Live situation engagement, mock acting, and academic knowledge are all considered to be proven valid test criteria.
In most event-related brain potential studies, the data from many subjects are analyzed to draw conclusions about the processes taking place in the brain during a certain task. Since data are combined across subjects, and the results for any individual subject do not need to be statistically significant, relatively small number of responses can be collected for each subject. In Brain Fingerprinting testing and other brainwave-based techniques for detecting concealed information in the brain, it is important do draw highly accurate conclusions, with a high statistical confidence, for each individual subject. For example, when Dr. Farwell used Brain Fingerprinting technology to detect and record the murder of Julie Helton in the brain of JB Grinder, it would not have been useful to test 20 suspected serial killers and conclude that, as a group, these 20 had significantly more information about the crime than some other group. It was only necessary to determine, with high statistical confidence, one of two conclusions: a) JB Grinder’s brain contained a record of the salient details of the murder of Julie Helton, or b) JB Grinder’s brain did not contain a record of the significant details of the murder of Julie Helton. Brain Fingerprinting testing led to the former conclusion, with a 99.9% confidence. Grinder pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison By using a bootstrap algorithm Resampling (statistics), measurements from each individual subject can be averaged and compared in a way that is statistically meaningful. The bootstrapping algorithm provides for a determination of “information present” or “information absent” for each individual subject, and a statistical confidence for each individual determination for a single subject. The irrelavents and targets from the same subject provide control standards by which the unknown variables (the probes) may be compared. Such within-subject comparisons provide the only meaningful and practically useful statistics with regard to “information present” or “information absent” determinations.
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