Necessity of the target discrimination in the P300-based complex trial protocol test for concealed information

Elena Davydova, J. Peter Rosenfeld*, Elena Labkovsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The two most common types of ERP-based protocols to detect concealed information are the 3-stimulus protocol (3SP) and Complex Trial Protocol (CTP). Both protocols traditionally include presentation of a target (a stimulus with assigned significance requiring a unique behavioral response). The intention of the target presentation is forcing subjects to pay attention to all stimuli, especially to guilty knowledge stimuli, called probes. It was unclear though, how the presence of a targets influences probe recognition, and thus, the concealed information test (CIT) effect—the difference in P300 response to the probe and Irrelevant (crime-unrelated) stimuli. The question of target necessity was first raised in relation to the 3SP, and it was found that although omitting target stimuli reduced P300 amplitudes for all probe and irrelevant stimuli, the CIT effect was not reduced. The current study investigated how the presence or absence of the target/nontarget discrimination in the CTP affects the CIT effect, by comparing two CTP groups both with (T) and without (NT) the target/nontarget discrimination. The results demonstrated that this discrimination significantly increases the P300 effect. We found a greater P300 CIT effect in the T group than in the NT group, suggesting that for field use, it is better to retain the target discrimination in the CTP. CIT effects were also seen with P300 latency, but not reaction time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13548
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • P300
  • assessment of memory deficit
  • concealed information test
  • detection of deception
  • event-related potentials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry

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