A thoughtprint is a communication from the unconscious or subconscious mind which can be buried in written or verbal communications. The concept of the thoughtprint was developed by Dr. Andrew Hodges, a psychiatrist who serves as an expert witness in criminal cases. Dr. Hodges claims that criminal investigators can use the thoughtprint information to collect more information about a crime, much in the same way that fingerprints and other evidence are used.
Many of us can be accused of failing to say or write precisely what we mean in a variety of circumstances. According to Dr. Hodges, our unconscious mind can still be heard, if someone knows what to listen for and how to interpret the data. By analyzing spoken and written communications, an investigator could potentially unravel the communications to reveal the hidden messages behind them.
Some variation of the thoughtprint method has been used in criminal investigation for centuries. Most skilled interrogators are very good at reading between the lines to gather information from their subjects, and such information may be used in the interrogation in an attempt to obtain a confession or gather more information. However, most courts of law recognize that these methods are imperfect, and they will only accept explicit information into evidence in a criminal trial.
For example, if an interrogator genuinely believes that a suspect committed a murder, on the basis of the interrogation and the subject's behavior, the interrogator cannot use this belief as testimony in a criminal court. However, if the interrogator can use this belief to frame questions carefully and elicit a confession, this confession can be used in court. Dr. Hodges argues that when such beliefs can be supported by thoughtprint evidence in the form of unconscious communication, this should be admissible.
Forensic analysis of documents and spoken communications is hardly new, although Dr. Hodges has a unique approach to such analysis. Unsurprisingly, the method has met with some opposition from people in the criminal justice field. Identifying unconscious communications could be considered a rather woolly branch of the forensic sciences, since a thoughtprint cannot necessarily be backed up with independent confirmation and hard evidence. As such, the validity of including thoughtprints in trial testimony has been questioned.