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How Reliable is a Lie Detector Test?

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Long a staple of movies and television, just how accurate is a lie detector test really? If you thought this technology was on the up and up, episode #79 of the Holistic Survival Show, where Jason Hartman interviews George Maschke of AntiPolygraph.org, might change your mind. In any event, it should give you much to consider.

Here are but a few of the public misconceptions regarding lie detector tests.

There is no scientific basis for the lie detector test. TRUE!

Although there are several types of “lie detector” tests, psychologists are most likely to encounter use of the Control Question Test in a forensic setting. The CQT is not so much a standardized test as it is a collection of procedures that combine interview techniques with physiological recording. These procedures vary in the nature of the interview, how questions are developed and ordered, and how the results are scored and interpreted.

The lie detector test inventor, William Moulton, was a crackpot and phony. TRUE!

At least that’s what the FBI thought. You can find out more about this topic at this link, which was obtained from the government under the Freedom of Information Act. It’s interesting to note that the very department (FBI) that gave Moulton the brush-off now uses his pseudoscience to screen applicants and employees AND guide official investigations.

The National Academy of Sciences doesn’t trust the test. TRUE!

This agency concluded that the “polygraph test’s accuracy in distinguishing actual or potential security violators from innocent test takers is insufficient to justify reliance on its use in employee security screening in federal agencies.”

Serial killer passes lie detector test with flying colors. TRUE!

Gary Leon Ridgway was an early suspect in the Green River killings in Oregon in the 1980s and 1990s. The amazing thing is that he passed a polygraph test in 1984 and continued on his killing spree, which didn’t stop until DNA evidence linked him to the crimes in 2001. Melvin Foster, a suspect in the murders for years, had failed a polygraph test.

During the course of the interview, Jason and George cover these and many other fascinating details about the “real” value of the so-called lie detector test. Don’t miss it!

The Holistic Survival Team

 

 

 

Flickr / hurricanemaine

 

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