Lie Detectors are Voodoo Psychology
2012 11 02
By Gerhard Adam | Science 2.0
It seems that one continuously hears about individuals passing or failing the lie detector, and despite many questions regarding its veracity, people still assume that there is a scientific basis for its use.
However, lie detection, or polygraphy is not based on science. In fact it isn’t based on much of anything, except psychological manipulation of the subject under the guise that taking the lie detector may cause them to confess, because they believe it is based on science.
In short ... it’s voodoo psychology.
The first problem is in what the polygraph, or lie detector actually measures. The lie detector measures blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and galvanic skin response or skin conductivity. Therefore the first scientific problem that must be addressed is what the correlation with these physiological measurements has to do with deception. It seems clear that the objective is to measure anxiety, but this presupposes that individuals become anxious for the same reasons and under the same circumstances. Since there is no context for these measurements by themselves, the thinking is that by asking some control questions, a kind of baseline can be established against which deception can be measured.
However, the problem with that, is that it presumes that individuals react in a predictable manner with specific traits associated with deception. In other words, the underlying "theory" is that physiological reactions will occur because of "guilty knowledge" in whatever is being investigated.
This brings us to another problem with the polygraph and that’s the definition of deception. In this case we are looking at a specific psychological condition in which the subject must keep two entirely separate but plausible scenarios in their mind during the interrogation. One must reflect the "truth" while the other is the "lie" or the story that is intended to deceive the interrogator. Of course, this renders the polygraph totally inappropriate in those situations where an individual believes what they are saying. So, in instances of UFO witnesses or witnesses to paranormal phenomenon, the use of the polygraph is completely irrelevant unless the sole purpose is to establish whether the subject is simply making up the story. Truth is entirely subjective and the subject that believes what they are saying is not being deceptive regardless of how wrong their information may be.
Despite some of the obvious difficulties with such assumptions, there has been no scientific testing that establishes that such a correlation exists, let alone exists consistently enough to be interpreted as being deceptive. People may be anxious because they are lying, but they may also become anxious because they are afraid the examiner thinks they are lying. Instead of "guilty knowledge", they may experience a guilty reaction over an unrelated event. More importantly, it fails to consider the issue of a psychopath that may not have any anxiety over their crimes and therefore escape detection. Essentially the entire premise on which lie detection is built consists of a variety of assumptions which have never been demonstrated to be valid.
Presumably some of these difficulties can be overcome because of the expertise of the examiner. Not really.
Here is a link to a checklist for finding a qualified examiner.
Apparently the requirements to become a polygraph examiner are somewhat vague. Despite the claim that such an examination is a psychology test, there is no requirement that one be a psychologist, or even have a psychology degree.
"Polygraph examiners often have experience in law enforcement or investigations, but a background in psychology or behavioral science is also beneficial. Polygraphists work in the public and private sector, and many are employed by local, state and Federal government agencies."
It would appear that the actual training for becoming a polygraph examiner involves approximately 380 hours (about 9.5 weeks) of training at an accredited Polygraph school.
Claims of accuracy abound, but generally this is promoted by polygraph examiners, so it is a bit of a biased perspective. Even if we were to accept an accuracy rating of 92% to 98%, this means that of 100 suspects, 2 to 8 would return bogus results. While the actual guilty party might be in this group, it doesn’t bode well for the innocent individuals that will have been accused as well.
Read the full article at: science20.com
The awkward truth about lie detectors
Latest News from our Front Page
Ingraham to Zuckerberg: Time for Open Borders at Your Mansion
2014 09 19
Talk radio host Laura Ingraham re-iterated her challenge to debate Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and criticized him for securing his property while demanding the US allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country on Monday.
“In the end, borders work for these guys. Right, I would not want to be on [Facebook board member] Marc Andreesen’s household staff if ...
MasterCard tests Orwellian national ID card on Nigeria
2014 09 19
The march toward enslaving the world’s population by a handful of globalist statists and corporations continues, with the latest chapter unfolding, of all places, in Nigeria, compliments of MasterCard.
According to the website GovtSlaves.info, the credit card giant is rolling out a card in Africa’s most populous country that has the ability to retain all personal, health insurance, tax payment and ...
Doctor: Gov’t ‘Tight-Lipped’ on Respiratory Virus, May Be From Illegals
2014 09 19
Dr. Jane Orient, Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, reported that the government has been “real tight-lipped” about the mysterious respiratory illness that has struck children in the United States, expressed concern that the illegal immigrant minors from Central America could be the source, and argued that the government should devote more resources to border security ...
Breaking—CDC whistleblower: “I’ve stopped lying”
2014 09 18
What more could anyone want in the way of evidence for an ongoing crime?
There is a video posted at the autism media channel/YouTube, and at Age of Autism: “William Thompson’s call to Congress.”
It is a recording of a telephone call between CDC whistleblower Thompson and Brian Hooker, PhD. No date is given.
Presumably, the call was recorded before August 27, when ...
Ebola patients buying survivors’ blood from black market, WHO warns
2014 09 18
As hospitals in nations hardest hit by Ebola struggle to keep up, desperate patients are turning to the black market to buy blood from survivors of the virus, the World Health Organization warned.
The deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has killed at least 2,400 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- the countries most affected by the virus.
Thousands more are ...
|More News » |