Simple, effective countermeasures to P300-based tests of detection of concealed information

J. Peter Rosenfeld*, Matthew Soskins, Gregory Bosh, Andrew Ryan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

219 Scopus citations


We found countermeasures to protocols using P300 in concealed information tests. One, the "six-probe" protocol, in Experiment 1, uses six different crime details in one run. The countermeasure: generate covert responses to irrelevant stimuli for each probe category. Hit rates were 82% in the guilty group; 18% in the countermeasure group. The average reaction time (RT) distinguished these two groups, but with overlap in RT distributions. The "one-probe" protocol, in the second experiment, uses one crime detail as a probe. Here, one group was run in 3 weeks as a guilty group, a countermeasure group, and again as in Week 1. Countermeasure: Covert responses to irrelevant stimuli. In Week 1, hit rate was 92%. In Week 2, it was 50%. In Week 3, 58%. There was no overlap in the irrelevant RT distribution in Week 2: Countermeasure use was detectable. However, in Week 3, the RT distributions resembled those of Week 1; test-beaters could not be caught. These studies have shown that tests of deception detection based on P300 amplitude as a recognition index may be readily defeated with simple countermeasures that can be easily learned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-219
Number of pages15
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Event-related potentials
  • Guilty knowledge tests
  • Lie detection
  • P300
  • Psychophysiological detection of deception

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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