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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) A Response to Paul M. Menges (Read 50804 times)
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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #30 - Mar 6th, 2003 at 8:58am
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Smirky,

If Steincj is correct that, "Federal Agencies could care less about a Security Clearance." then you have nothing to worry about, because if one is required for the job you want, and you don't have or can't get one, then you won't get the job.  No problem.   

Stein has an issue with the polygraph because he supposedly failed a pre-employment exam with the FBI.  He believes this has impacted him in some negative way, however he is still employed, as I understand it, with the DoD.   

Stein,

You asked me, 
"Hey Batman, is it standard procedure for federal polygraphers to sensitize their subjects to the nature of the test PRIOR to hooking them up?  Shouldn't this alone make the test invalid?"   

You then stated, 
"A member of your beloved APA and former Federal Polygrapher told me it does."

It appears you already have your answer.  Do you not believe him?  Is that why you are seeking my opinion or input?

You also stated and then asked,
"If the machine itself TRULY works, then the outcome of the "test" shouldn't be affected by the subject having prior knowledge of the polygrapher's mind tricks.
Don't you agree, Batman?"

Well that's a pretty loaded question Stein.  What "mind tricks" are you referring to?  I am not aware of any "mind tricks" that are utilized during the course of a polygraph examination.   Maybe you could elaborate.

You advised Smirky,
"...don't be scared with Batman's words about countermeasures.  My opinion, don't use them if you don't need to."

Why would you advise Smirky not to use countermeasures?  If they can not be detected then why shouldn't Smirky, or anyone for that matter, utilize countermeasures?   

Lastly, you told Smirky,
"If you truly have nothing to hide, then I believe you have nothing to worry about."

Based on your alleged experience with polygraph, and that of several others who post on this site, I would think Smirky would have a whole hell of a lot to worry about, wouldn't you agree?

Now I know you will undoubtedly respond to my question about the "mind tricks".  That's fair, but if you do, please answer the other questions I have posed to you.

Batman
  
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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #31 - Mar 6th, 2003 at 9:41am
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Batman wrote on Mar 6th, 2003 at 8:58am:

If they can not be detected then why shouldn't Smirky, or anyone for that matter, utilize countermeasures? 

batman,

Just because something can't be detected doesn't mean you should avail yourself. There are ethical considerations that are, when it gets right down to it, more important. I flunked out of college and had to repeat a term. All of my finals were take home, 3 hrs max, half closed book, turn them in the next week. Now the fact is I had partied too much that term and after finishing the finals I realized I had likely failed and I deserved to fail.  I had to go though the rest of the weekend knowing that I could cheat and there would be no way anyone would ever know - except me.  I was tempted but ultmately decided that cheating and living the rest of my life knowing that I took unfair advantage of others simply wasn't an option. Perhaps this explains my distaste for the CQT - even though I understand it's underlying rationale.

-Marty
  

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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #32 - Mar 6th, 2003 at 7:36pm
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Marty,

The question was put to Steincj.   I appreciate your heart-warming story about your college years, however the point of the question is very simple.

Many of the individuals who post here emphasis how countermeasures can not be readily detected.  If I'm not mistaken there is some foolish challenge out there regarding same.  Yet these same individuals, many of whom in one breath promote the use of countermeasures by telling people to read certain publications, want to take the high road and say that they don't really believe the use of countermeasures is honest.  These same individuals state that polygraph is a voodoo science, that's it's not reliable, yet then tell someone that if they are honest they have nothing to worry about.

How can this be?  If polygraph really is a voodoo science then anyone who takes one should be very afraid.  They should do everything within their power to overcome it's weaknesses, and the examiners bias (which many here say is evident), to include the use of countermeasures.  I just don't see how you can one without the other. It someone firmly believes the polygraph does not work, that it is based on a pseudo-science, then how can that same person tell someone not to worry and not to use countermeasures?

I tell people not to use countermeasures because I do believe the polygraph works.  It works just as well in exonerating people as it does in identifying individuals who are untruthful.  I also believe that the use of countermeasures can be detected.  Therefore I advise people to be honest, cooperate, don't use countermeasures.  I believe if they lie they will get caught, and if they use countermeasures they will get caught.   

However, if I were to believe otherwise then my advice to people would be just the opposite.  I'm looking for some clarification from Steincj.  I'm sure he will provide it.

Batman
  
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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #33 - Mar 6th, 2003 at 8:16pm
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Batman,

You write:

Quote:
...How can this be?  If polygraph really is a voodoo science then anyone who takes one should be very afraid.  They should do everything within their power to overcome it's weaknesses, and the examiners bias (which many here say is evident), to include the use of countermeasures.  I just don't see how you can one without the other. It someone firmly believes the polygraph does not work, that it is based on a pseudo-science, then how can that same person tell someone not to worry and not to use countermeasures?....


You thought you would never hear it, but you are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT.  Lie Detection polygraphy is completely unreliable, it should not be trusted and anyone who finds him/herself as a potential examinee should be more than slightly concerned.  Anyone who suggests that an examinee simply be honest and unconcerned with the process is either ignorant of the facts or a fool.   This is a clear example of the need  to critically analyze the words of weak allies as well as outright opponents..  Thank you for pointing out the inconsistency.
  
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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #34 - Mar 6th, 2003 at 9:26pm
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The problem with countermeasures is that there is even less information about their efficacy than there is about that of the polygraph.  What information there is does suggest countermeasures can be effective with training. However, when a person is given only a small amount of time, countermeasure information alone is not effective. There is a study that shows "accurate" written information about countermeasures together with a detailed description of the CQT polygraph produces no increase in false negatives when the subject is not given much time to train. However, Drew's challenge is far from "silly" and is well thought out within the limits of what one can do absent a full study. How can this (Drew's challenge) be the case and that accurate but limited countermeasure descriptions provided no benefit?  Let me suggest there are 2 effects from this information:

1. The "trick" of the control question is disclosed.
2. Accurate countermeasures were described.


By disclosing point 1 the subject would become less sensitive to the control question, knowing it's purpose was not detecting deception. Fear of detection has long been described by polygraphers as the basis of the physiological response and disclosing the trick removes much of the fear.  By disclosing point 2 the subject would then understand the need to augment their reaction but would not be given time for significant practice. Both of these work in opposing directions and thus can explain why there was no difference from limited but accurate countermeasure instruction.

The problem here is that if someone were to learn the "secret" of the control question test w/o information on countermeasures they would likely respond less on the control Q's but, without using countermeasures, they would be more likely to fail and one would expect a higher rate of false positives.

This brings up the ethical question of whether someone who has learned how the CQT works should avail themselves of countermeasures or simply deal with the fact that because they are no longer ignorant, they should expect a higher likelyhood they will fail.  (sort of an Adam and Eve touch).  I've always disliked being told that I shouldn't know something "for my own good" but, OTOH, I don't like lying either.


*BTW, batman. Would you like the details of the study where "ACCURATE" countermeasure information was given?  Note that was the studies choice of words.

[edited to clarify the study above provided limited countermeasure training time]

-Marty
« Last Edit: Mar 7th, 2003 at 12:09am by Marty »  

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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #35 - Mar 7th, 2003 at 1:01am
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Batman,

Clarification is my middle name . . .
Batman wrote on Mar 6th, 2003 at 8:58am:

If Steincj is correct that, "Federal Agencies could care less about a Security Clearance." then you have nothing to worry about, because if one is required for the job you want, and you don't have or can't get one, then you won't get the job.  No problem.  

Or the agency you are applying for will process you for clearance as part of their application process . . .
Quote:
Stein has an issue with the polygraph because he supposedly failed a pre-employment exam with the FBI.  He believes this has impacted him in some negative way, however he is still employed, as I understand it, with the DoD.  

1.  Not supposedly, I did fail.  If you want proof I will gladly send you a scanned copy of my letter rescinding my offer of emplyment because of the polygraph.
2.  You know what happens when you make assumptions, Batman.  I am not "employed" by the DoD.  I once was on Active Duty, but now am a member of the Individual Ready Reserve, basically on Inactive Reserve status.  The DoD has control of me, but I do absolutely nothing (and receive no pay or benefits).  Recall of the IRR is the last step before a draft.
3.  The failure of my polygraph HAS affected my ability to apply for other government postions.  See my personal statement for details.
Quote:
You asked me, 
"Hey Batman, is it standard procedure for federal polygraphers to sensitize their subjects to the nature of the test PRIOR to hooking them up?  Shouldn't this alone make the test invalid?"  
You then stated, 
"A member of your beloved APA and former Federal Polygrapher told me it does."
It appears you already have your answer.  Do you not believe him?  Is that why you are seeking my opinion or input?

Oh, I believe him.  I just want your reaction to the possibility that the polygraph test is widely abused and mishandled around the nation.  I want you to know that there are many, many reasons why people are being bounced by the polygraph, and not all of them are based on pure machine readings.
Quote:

You also stated and then asked,
"If the machine itself TRULY works, then the outcome of the "test" shouldn't be affected by the subject having prior knowledge of the polygrapher's mind tricks.
Don't you agree, Batman?"
Well that's a pretty loaded question Stein.

You're damn right it is.  The PL CQT is based solely on a unknowing subject falling for all the tricks employed on them.   Why can't a screening or pre-employment test be based solely on the machine readings?  Because the machine readings don't tell you squat unless you compare them to other questions to which you ASSUME the subject is lying.  Tha is BOGUS!!!
Quote:
What "mind tricks" are you referring to?  I am not aware of any "mind tricks" that are utilized during the course of a polygraph examination.   Maybe you could elaborate.

"Let me explain to you the imprtance of honesty and integrity" -- a phrase used when administering a Probable Lie Control Question test.  Emphasize honesty but assume that the subject will lie.  If that isn't the most ass backward thing . . .

"Please write a number from 1 to 7 on a card.  I'm going to run a test to calibrate the machine."  HA!

"This test is about to begin" -- don't you mean "This test began the moment I hooked you up"

Must I go on?  Read TLBTLD for more details.  Better yet, go back to your DoDPI handbook.  It's all in there.
Quote:

You advised Smirky,
"...don't be scared with Batman's words about countermeasures.  My opinion, don't use them if you don't need to."
Why would you advise Smirky not to use countermeasures?  If they can not be detected then why shouldn't Smirky, or anyone for that matter, utilize countermeasures?  

In my opinion, I believe that countermeasures that are used on a first polygraph are undetectable.  However, if an individual tried to use countermeasures on a second polygraph, after not using them on the first, well, a comparison of the charts wouls CLEARLY indicate an improvement in test results.  The marked improvement could only be attributed to 2 things - substantially less anxiety as to the polygraph experience or use of countermeasures.   Countermeasure-paranoia among polygraphers will always lead them to the second conclusion.
Quote:

Lastly, you told Smirky,
"If you truly have nothing to hide, then I believe you have nothing to worry about."

Based on your alleged experience with polygraph, and that of several others who post on this site, I would think Smirky would have a whole hell of a lot to worry about, wouldn't you agree?

My case is very different than others.  You assume (again, Batman, assumptions mare bad) that I am just someone who claims a false positive but really had some issues during my test.  I had nothing to hide during my poly, but a PAPERWORK error by the agency created misleading information which swayed the polygrapher into calling me deceptive.  Remember, my polygraph took TWO days, and at the end of day one, I was deemed "inconclusive."  But at the end of day two, I was a "definitely conclusive, a conclusive failure."  The polygrapher was looking for information from me that he believed, from a PAPERWORK error, to be true, and when he didn't find it, he failed me.

Without that paperwork error, I'm sure I would have passed.  The PL CQT relies on too many outside factors to judge results on, rather than using straight polygraph readings, like CKT (event specific).  The PL CQT is straight up fishing.  My polygrapher was told where the fish were, went there, didn't get a bite, and chose to believe that there were fish in the water, rather than refute what he was told.  It is crazy.
Quote:

Now I know you will undoubtedly respond to my question about the "mind tricks".  That's fair, but if you do, please answer the other questions I have posed to you.

Come on, Batman.  You know I am a man of my word, despite what your silly PL CQT says about me.  I don't skate around or ignore arguments.  Hell, I'll even include a point from your second post:
Quote:
It someone firmly believes the polygraph does not work, that it is based on a pseudo-science, then how can that same person tell someone not to worry and not to use countermeasures?

Ahh, see, I believe that the polygraph MACHINE does work.  It can measure the physiological responses of the human body.  What does NOT work is the person sitting behind the machine, trying to interperet another human's autonomic nervous system measurements down to a 50/50, truth or lie result.  
Now in the CKT, the measurements are overwhelming, and the questions are specific.  But I would never believe guilt or innocence based on the test result; it is only another piece to the comlete investigation pie.
Of course the PL CQT is nothing like the CKT.  Truth or lie is determined by answers to a question in which the polygraph examiner ASSUMES (there's that word again) that a previos answer given by a subject is a lie.  How crazy is that?  And to boot, some agencies use these test results as the final authority on an individual.  It's the whole pie, not even a piece of it!

The system itself SUCKS.  And countermeasures are living proof that the system is totally unreliable.  Using countermeasures corrupts the system even more.  Well, if a system is corrupt, we ought to get rid of it!!
 
Why do I tell people not to use countermeasures?  If good people, those with nothing to hide, use countermeasures to ensure they pass a polygraph, years later, when they are a asset to the agency they work for, everyone will assume that the polygraph worked well, and let in a real winner.  
When that happens, NOBODY wins, becasue the broken, corrupt system perpetuates. 

Chris
« Last Edit: Mar 11th, 2003 at 2:49am by steincj »  
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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #36 - Mar 9th, 2003 at 3:38am
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Thanks to Fair Chance, Beech Trees, Batman, and Steinj for responding to my question about procuring a background check and drug test at my own expense prior to being polygraphed for a government contract job.   

I understand now that these checks would not be acceptable, or that I actually would not be able to pay the private company contracted by the government for this purpose.   

I am a methodical person, therefore have researched polygraph, and have read TLBTLDT.  As I said before, I do not wish to use countermeasures. It would seem to me that most if not all recruits who are required to take a polygraph would naturally do research, given that we would hopefully have above average intelligence, and a propensity for investigation.   

Because I have been informed of the "dirtly little secret" and I intend to say so, will I be accused of countermeasures?  Are there any numbers available of people who have passed the polygraph after having read TLBTLDT and told the polygrapher that they have done so? Do I now have a less than 50% chance of passing the polygraph, since I did look into how the test is administered?   

I really want this job, but it seems by doing research and trying to get a leg up, I have diminished my chances.   



  
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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #37 - Mar 9th, 2003 at 5:08am
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Quote:

I really want this job, but it seems by doing research and trying to get a leg up, I have diminished my chances.  


Aye, that is the rub my friend. AFAIK, you have diminished your chances since it will be quite hard for the polygrahper to properly condition you on the control questions. OTOH, I would also assume they want bright people who investigate things. This gets to the heart of my so far fruitless search for info on exactly how polygraphers examine other polygraphers. Perhaps you should be tottaly honest and describe what you know and request a DLT form of the CQT. This gets around the problem and should be more likely to give an accurate result for one who knows the "trick".

Sorry, you have eaten a bite from the apple and there is no going back. Perhaps the TLBTLD text should have a warning up front that knowledge of what's inside could reduce one's chances of passing a polygraph absent use (not knowledge) of countermeasures and many (including me) have an ethical problem with use of countermeasures. OTOH, I have an ethical problem with the PL form of the CQT, the most common form. Also, I am fascinated by the subject, but am not the target of it so I am free to pontificate without personal consequence. I'm not really sure why it so fascinates me. Perhaps it is the intersection of technology and psychology. I'm a nerd at heart.

-Marty
  

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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #38 - Mar 9th, 2003 at 5:25am
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Smirky,

[You wrote]
“I am a methodical person, therefore have researched polygraph, and have read TLBTLDT.  As I said before, I do not wish to use countermeasures. It would seem to me that most if not all recruits who are required to take a polygraph would naturally do research, given that we would hopefully have above average intelligence, and a propensity for investigation.”

I respect and support your decision not to use polygraph countermeasures during your polygraph exam. Honesty is always the best option as outlined in TLBTLD. However, honesty is not a guarantee of passing a polygraph. False positive results are not uncommon. 

Consider for a moment… you report promptly for your scheduled pre-employment polygraph exam, you answer all questions with absolute total honesty, you do not use/employ polygraph countermeasures, you do everything exactly as directed and explained by the polygrapher, and at the conclusion of the polygraph exam, you are accused of lying/deception, accused of possibly using countermeasures, [even if you do not] and ultimately fail the polygraph exam. 

It is my personal position as well as others on this board, that people should simply “consider” protecting themselves against possible false positive results. I do not encourage you or anyone else to lie during a polygraph. In addition, I do not encourage the use of polygraph countermeasures to mask deception. It is my opinion that people should simply educate themselves against a method of testing that is susceptible to countermeasures. 

If people were sentenced to Federal/State/County incarceration based strictly on polygraph testing results to determine guilt or innocence; innocent people would be going to jail… any questions.? 

[You further ask]
“Do I now have a less than 50% chance of passing the polygraph, since I did look into how the test is administered?”


Strictly in my opinion, you never have a better than 50/50 chance [coin toss] of passing any type of polygraph exam whether or not you tell the polygrapher you have researched polygraph testing or not. If you do tell the polygrapher you have researched polygraph countermeasures, it is only reasonable to assume that your chances of receiving a passing result {NDI] would be significantly reduced. After all, you would have just told the polygrapher that you understand the farce theory supporting the “science” of polygraph testing.

I want to be clear: it is not my intention to insult and/or offend any professional polygraph examiner on this board. That being said; its fair to conclude, if I openly claimed to be a tarot card reader with significant accuracy, I feel certain that I would fall victim to critics challenging my very method and accuracy.


Respectfully,
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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #39 - Mar 9th, 2003 at 5:51am
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x x x,

From the (pro) polygraph literature I have read, properly conditioning a subject as to the importance of a control question is essential to minimize false positives.  If one knows what is really going on and can't be convinced otherwise by a very practiced polygrapher, they are very likely to produce a false positive or at best an indeterminate result without CM's.

BTW, I believe you are correct in assessing that CM's should not be applied full bore to every control Q. It is likely that most respond differently to charges of disloyalty, cheating, stealing, etc. Most of us are not equally worried in each possible CQ area so responding to each at a high level could well be a flag.

Pretty damn amazing (and telling) that NO polygrapher here has yet responded to any of my requests which are directly from a polygrapher's testing survey (with real names in the biz) published in 2002.

I guess it's easy for them to disparage George's info (which seems to be accurate) but not so easy to go after information published by their own side.

I personally would not use CM's (easy for me to say) but don't believe it is unethical to use CM's in a PL CQT since the examiner is lying at the git go. I do think it unethical used in a DLT form of the CQT since deception is not part and parcel.

-Marty
  

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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #40 - Mar 9th, 2003 at 6:37am
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Marty,

You are mistaken in supposing that deception is not also part and parcel of the directed-lie "control" question "test." Although the deceptions involved are perhaps less egregious than is the case with regard to the probable-lie CQT, the technique is nonetheless theoretically dependent on deception, as explained both in Chapter 3 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector and in my article "The Lying Game: National Security and the Test for Espionage and Sabotage."

Moreover, neither the directed-lie nor the probable-lie versions of the CQT have any scientific basis: they are sheer pseudoscience. It is unethical for government (or anyone else) to make judgements about a person's honesty and integrity on the basis of such nonsense. Those who would use countermeasures to protect themselves against the danger of being wrongly branded a liar have ample ethical justification for doing so, regardless of which "flavor" of snake oil is being administered.
  

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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #41 - Mar 9th, 2003 at 6:55am
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Well, there are 2 issues here.

1. Is deception an essential part of the DL, CQT?
2. Is it ethical to use countermeasures in a polygraph exam?

It is clear that deception is part and parcel of the PL-CQT. It really can't be administered without deception.

As for the DL-CQT, It was invented in large part to deal with the ethical issues of lying to the examinee (some polygraphers have such qualms) . The deception, to the extent that it exists, is in conditioning the examinee to believe that the polygraph is highly accurate if not perfect. This is NOT an essential component of the DLT, but is used (and justified) to reduce false positives with naive subjects. For more sophisticated subjets, it is skipped. I think it is completely appropriate for an examinee to cut the crap short and, if they don't want to talk about reading antipolygraph.org, can get a copy of Kleiner and cite chapter and verse.

BTW, such conditioning is not part of the CIT polygraph, the rarely used (in this country anyway)  form of the polygraph.  I hear Drew is going to do a bakeoff with the CIT and the brain fingerprinting approach. Should be interesting.

As for being shear pseudoscience. Well, while I do think anything  that requires an ignorant populace to work may well be characterized as a pseudoscience, There are ways that the polygraph could be used, with proper informed consent, that would not be so egregious. The problem of course is that a large part of it's effectiveness is due to exploiting ignorance which informed consent would destroy.

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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #42 - Mar 9th, 2003 at 7:10am
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Marty,

The polygrapher deception involved in the directed-lie CQT is not limited to exaggerated claims about the accuracy of the technique. The rationale for the directed-lie "control" questions provided to the subject is deliberately false and misleading.
  

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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #43 - Mar 9th, 2003 at 7:17am
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George,

Your analysis and description of the DLT is in fact essentially identical with what Kleiner describes and I guess it can be considered a form of deception but at least it doesn't exceptionally disadvantage the most honest examinees, unlike the PL-CQT, and it doesn't require the polygrapher to flat out lie.  Most of them I think believe the polygraph is highly accurate and not all of the lie on the stim tests.

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Re: A Response to Paul M. Menges
Reply #44 - Mar 9th, 2003 at 7:21am
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Quote:

Marty,

The rationale for the directed-lie "control" questions provided to the subject is deliberately false and misleading.


How so? It seems to me that it may be incomplete, but getting the examinee to respond "appropriately" to the DL control in order to work is in fact a truthful statement. My guess is though that "appropriately" probably means something different to another polygrapher being examined than a naive subject. Smiley

It may not be full disclosure, but it is a long way from the flat out deception involved in a PL-CQT.

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