Classic CBS 60 Minutes Exposé on the Polygraph

In this 1986 exposé of the polygraph trade, CBS 60 Minutes set up a test in which three polygraph examiners chosen at random from the New York telephone directory were asked to administer polygraph examinations to four different employees of the CBS-owned magazine, Popular Photography, regarding the theft of a camera and lens. In fact, no theft had occurred.

Each polygrapher was told that a different employee was suspected as the likely culprit. In each case, the polygrapher found the person who had been fingered to be deceptive.

Comments 2

  • Interesting video. With a larger sample size and statistically significant analysis,
    this type of experiment could demonstrate operator bias in results. It is actually
    a very common situation, i.e. in initial applicant screening operations where there
    is no known offense and expectation of deception on the part of the subject, yet
    a false positive is taken as grounds for rejection.

  • At the end of this segment 60 minutes said legislators stopped the use of lie detectors in the private sector, but what about in courtrooms? I have to wonder how many innocent people lost their job, (have spent or still are spending) time in jail, and had their lives ruined because of lie detectors.

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