Normal Topic Polygraph purpose (Read 3221 times)
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Polygraph purpose
Feb 18th, 2004 at 7:54pm
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
I was wondering if anyone else has a suspicion that polygraphs might not be used to test whether or not a person is telling the truth for agencies like the FBI. 

Is there any evidence/writings that would indicate that there are other things that a polygraph examines that are unbeknownst the test subject and possibly a majority of the polygraph administers out there?

Could polygraphs have been used "legitimately" (with a high level of confidence that they were accurate) at one point time, but after years of testing some agencies determined that they were not good for detecting whether or not someone was lying, but better as some sort of psychological test?  Telling the public that they're undergoing a psychological test instead of a lie detector test might ruin the validity of the results.

Instead of worrying about whether or not the person is lying about something, is there a possibility that they want to find out how the person reacts to certain types of questions and holds up under pressure?

I'm just curious, a lot of the stories I've read seem to point to something else going on that we're not being told.
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Canadian Crusader
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Re: Polygraph purpose
Reply #1 - Feb 18th, 2004 at 9:05pm
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  
Its is quite simple really.  The poly is a guise to get the applicant to unknowingly submit to an interrogation.  I feel the poly "results" themselves are useless.  The polygrapher might as well not even turn the poly on.  The real test comes from the interrogation, the answers given and the "gut" feeling the polygrapher/interrogator had regarding the applicants answers and demeaner.
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Re: Polygraph purpose
Reply #2 - Feb 18th, 2004 at 9:07pm
Mark & QuoteQuote Print Post  

I can easily see where one might believe this to be true.  Sometimes, when looking at FACTUAL statistics stated by a particular agency (e.g. current failure rate for FBI pre-employment polygraph is 50%) it is almost inconceivable as to why these agencies would continue use of this tool.

However, I'm not sure that a "psychological test" is how these agencies now perceive the polygraph.  Although some more than others, it is apparent that some do believe the polygraph is a fail-safe method of detecting deception.  Let's face it, some liars are uncovered.  But to use it simply as a test to see how one reacts in an "interrogative" situation, I don't see how the FBI's 50% failure rate would then be explained.  I find 50% of applicants cracking or blowing up during the examination ALMOST as hard to believe as 50% of applicants actually lying.  Both are absurd.

Sadly, I think we are dealing with two main opponent-groups:  those who subscribe to the polygraph mantra and believe that it works (of course, if it is your income provider, you would naturally claim to believe in it) and the concept of bureaucracy - too much is needed (these days anyway) to put a change like that in place.  This is the bureaucrats' opinion, of course. 

That's just how I feel about the situation.  I see on other boards focused more on employment issues people talking about being "evaluated" at all phases of processing including the polygraph - meaning the examiner is looking at how you are dressed, etc.  Maybe this holds true for examiner bias but otherwise I just don't believe this to be the case.  I think the polygraph is still used solely based on the belief that it is an effective deception detection method.

Sorry for the long post, I tend to be overly verbose when posting here.
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Polygraph purpose

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