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Countermeasure mechanisms in a P300-based concealed information test


  • This research was supported by the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute Grants DODP198-P-0001 and DoDPI04-P-0002 awarded to J. Peter Rosenfeld.

Address Correspondence to: John B. Meixner, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, 2021 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-2700, USA. E-mail:


We recently introduced an accurate and countermeasure (CM)-resistant P300-based deception detection test (J.P. Rosenfeld et al., 2008). When subjects use CMs to all irrelevant items in the test, the probe P300 is increased rather than reduced, as in previous P300-based deception protocols, allowing detection of CM users. Evidence herein suggests this is partly due to an omit effect; the probe was the only uncountered item. Three groups were tested: a guilty omit probe group performed an explicit response to each irrelevant item but not to the probe, an innocent omit irrelevant group saw only irrelevant items and omitted a response to one item, and a guilty no omit group had a concealed information item as probe and performed an explicit response to each. We found a greater P300 amplitude to probes in the guilty omit probe condition as compared with the other two conditions, indicating a P300 enhancing effect of omitting a response to a single stimulus.