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polygraph-quackery-09
The lie detector is itself based on lies

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The Lie Behind the Lie Detector

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The dirty little secret behind the polygraph is that the "test" depends on trickery, not science. The person being "tested" is not supposed to know that while the polygraph operator declares that all questions must be answered truthfully, warning that the slightest hint of deception will be detected, he secretly assumes that denials in response to certain questions -- called "control" questions -- will be less than truthful. An example of a commonly used control question is, "Did you ever lie to get out of trouble?" The polygrapher steers the examinee into a denial by warning, for example, that anyone who would do so is the same kind of person who would commit the kind of behavior that is under investigation and then lie about it. But secretly, it is assumed that everyone has lied to get out of trouble.

The polygraph pens don't do a special dance when a person lies. The polygrapher scores the test by comparing physiological responses (breathing, blood pressure, heart, and perspiration rates) to these probable-lie control questions with reactions to relevant questions such as, "Did you ever commit an act of espionage against the United States?" (commonly asked in security screening). If the former reactions are greater, the examinee passes; if the latter are greater, he fails. If responses to both "control" and relevant questions are about the same, the result is deemed inconclusive.

The test also includes irrelevant questions such as, "Are the lights on in this room?" The polygrapher falsely explains that such questions provide a "baseline for truth," because the true answer is obvious. But in reality, they are not scored at all! They merely serve as buffers between pairs of relevant and "control" questions.

The simplistic methodology used in polygraph testing has no grounding in the scientific method: it is no more scientific than astrology or tarot cards. Government agencies value it because people who don't realize it's a fraud sometimes make damaging admissions. But as a result of reliance on this voodoo science, the truthful are often falsely branded as liars while the deceptive pass through.

Perversely, the "test" is inherently biased against the truthful, because the more honestly one answers the "control" questions, and as a consequence feels less stress when answering them, the more likely one is to fail. Conversely, liars can beat the test by covertly augmenting their physiological reactions to the "control" questions. This can be done, for example, by doing mental arithmetic, thinking exciting thoughts, altering one's breathing pattern, or simply biting the side of the tongue. Truthful persons can also use these techniques to protect themselves against the risk of a false positive outcome. Although polygraphers frequently claim they can detect such countermeasures, no polygrapher has ever demonstrated any ability to do so, and peer-reviewed research suggests that they can't.

Latest News:

Federal Probationer Scott Tyree Accused of Using Polygraph Countermeasures
Scott Tyree, a computer programmer who served a 17-year prison sentence for kidnapping a minor for sexual purposes and is now on federal probation, faces a 12 July 2019 revocation hearing. Tyree admitted to accessing pornographic images in violation of the terms of his probation and stands accused of having employed unspecified polygraph countermeasures during a 19 June 2019 polygraph "test."

Pseudoscientist "Dr." Charles Humble Attempts to Censor AntiPolygraph.org
AntiPolygraph.org has received a rather unpleasant letter from James D'Loughy, a lawyer representing NITV Federal Services, LLC (NITV), which markets a scientifically baseless voice-based lie detector called the "Computer Voice Stress Analyzer," and its president, self-described "Renaissance Man" "Dr." Charles Humble (who has not received a doctoral degree from any accredited institute of higher education).

SDPD Polygraph Screening Documents Disclosed
AntiPolygraph.org has published a set of documents concerning the San Diego Police Department’s polygraph practices. These documents, which date to 2017, focus primarily on pre-employment polygraph screening.

FBI Polygraph Statement of DI Poly
"I am writing this because most of you may know, if you fail an FBI poly, you will never have a chance at being hired again…."

NITV Threatens Competitor's IT Consultant With Federal Lawsuit
The purveyor of the scientifically baseless Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) has presented competitor Dektor Corporation's IT consultant with a seemingly extortionate legal threat.

Polygraph Critic Doug Williams to Testify in New Mexico Criminal Case
Longtime polygraph critic Doug Williams, himself a former police polygraph operator, is scheduled to testify as an expert witness against the admissibility of polygraph evidence in a New Mexico court hearing scheduled for 30 May 2019.

Federal Judge Orders Immediate Removal of Website Critical of Computer Voice Stress Analysis
Computer Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA) is a pseudoscientific "lie detector" marketed to government agencies by the so-named National Institute of Truth Verification (NITV) in West Palm Beach, Florida. Although NITV has admitted in court that "CVSA is not capable of lie detection," in marketing its Emperor's-new-clothes "technology," it continues to claim that CVSA is "over 98% accurate."…

Personal Statement of Christopher J. Du Jardin
Imagine that you are on trial. After it is over, you are found not guilty. However, that verdict is only a recommendation and the final decision is made by the prosecution, who are so convinced of your guilt that they overturn the verdict and you are declared guilty. Sounds too Kafkaesque for real life?...

How to Anonymously Share Files with AntiPolygraph.org
If you have documents or information that you think we should know about, you can now send it to us anonymously via our OnionShare anonymous dropbox...

A Critical Examination of Converus Inc.'s Pseudoscientific "EyeDetect" Lie Detector
In "An Eye-Scanning Lie Detector Is Forging a Dystopian Future," Wired science writer Mark Harris investigates "EyeDetect," a new scientifically unproven lie detector being hawked as a replacement for the old scientifically unproven polygraph.

Suspected Serial Killer John Arthur Ackroyd Beat the Polygraph While Woman He Raped, Marlene K. Gabrielsen, Failed It
In June 1977, John Arthur Ackroyd raped Marlene K. Gabrielsen off Highway 20 in Oregon. Gabrielsen promptly reported the rape to police, who polygraphed both her and Ackroyd. Gabrielsen, a Native American, "failed" while Ackroyd, a white army veteran, "passed." Prosecutors declined to press charges.

The Polygraph Interrogation of Christopher Lee Watts (And How He Could Have Beaten It)
On 15 August 2018, Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI) Agent Tammy Lee conducted a polygraph interrogation of Christopher Lee "Chris" Watts of Frederick, Colorado regarding the disappearance of his wife Shanann and daughters Bella and Celeste. She was joined in the post-test interrogation by FBI Special Agent Grahm Coder.

5th Edition of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector Released
AntiPolygraph.org is pleased to announce the release of the 5th edition of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector. This is the first new edition in 13 years.

NSA Blocks AntiPolygraph.org on Twitter
The NSA (@NSAgov) has blocked AntiPolygraph.org (@ap_org) from following and viewing the NSA’s tweets....

Additional Documents from EEOC Case Implicating U.S. Secret Service Polygraph Branch
AntiPolygraph.org has obtained minimally redacted copies of six documents associated with the case of an applicant for a GS-15 information technology position with the U.S. Secret Service who received treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder and whose application was rejected following an allegedly failed pre-employment polygraph "test." Most of the audio recording of the polygraph session provided to the complainant and the administrative judge is incomprehensible.

Personal Statement of a CIA Analyst
A former CIA analyst describes her polygraph experiences with the CIA and as a contractor working for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), FBI, and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

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