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About This Episode

Michel Funicelli


About Me

I am a retired police officer from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) with over 3 decades of operational service where I accumulated knowledge and experience in various investigative fields such as patrol, major crime, riot squad, close protection of VIPs, federal offences (drug and anti-smuggling enforcement), and organised crime.

I have practical experience in, and developed an excellent understanding of, many police investigative techniques such as patrol, traffic control, high risk vehicle stops, surveillance (physical, electronic, air and ground), use of confidential informants and state agents, investigative interviewing, crime scene management & examination, surreptitious entries, controlled deliveries, undercover operations, stings & reverse stings, dynamic entries in the execution of search warrants, redaction of a variety of judicial documents. I investigated a host of criminal offences including property crimes, crimes against the person, drug offences, smuggling offences, weapons offences, driving offences, conspiracies, organised crime, etc., and countless traffic accidents. During my police career I estimate to have given testimony in over 100 trials, including two before judge and jury (homicide in Vancouver, BC and telemarketing fraud in Los Angeles, CA).

– I hold a PhD in experimental Psychology from Concordia University with a specialty in memory and lie detection. More precisely my research deals with the examination and extension of a neurocognitive memory detection technique based on cerebral electrical impulses known as the P300 brainwave. I also hold a master’s degree in experimental Psychology from Concordia University with a research focus on personality profiles of police interviewers and their effectiveness during the interviews of criminal suspects. 

In brief, the P300 is a well studied electrical brainwave which appears as a positive (P) deflection on an electroencephalogram. It occurs about 300 to 600 ms after a person is presented with a meaningful and novel stimulus. We have all had the experience of hearing our name called out at a garden party and turning our head towards the voice. That’s the orienting reflex exhibited by the P300 brainwave. It is known to travel through the frontal, central, and parietal cortices of our brain. It is detectable by placing electrodes on the scalp of a person and it is considered as an index of memory recognition. In forensic circles it can be used to determine if a person involved in a crime, as a witness or a suspect, recognizes crucial pieces of information in relation to that crime and only known to the perpetrator or witness and the authorities. The P300 brainwave used in the context of a Concealed Information Test (CIT) can determine if that person is in possession of that crucial piece of information or not, and an inference of guilt or innocence can be drawn from such a conclusion.

The CIT is easy to understand. A person is presented with a crucial piece of information on a computer screen, such as the murder weapon, the wound pattern of a victim, the crime scene, the face of an accomplice or the face of an attacker, in the case of a victim, and it is assorted with a series of neutral alternatives. If the P300 amplitude for the probe item is larger than the amplitude of the neutral foils, then it can be said, after a statistical analysis, that the person has recognised the crucial piece of information. Conversely, if the P300 amplitude resembles those of the neutral items, then it can be said that the person has not registered the probe item into memory.

My other research interests are in lie detection in general, investigative interviewing, violent extremism, and psychopathy.



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