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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box T.M. Cullen
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Re: New and Nervous
Reply #60 - Feb 26th, 2009 at 4:44am
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To be fair, even your favorite oft quoted NAS study found accuracy rates significantly above chance for some uses.

To wit, the NAS reported concluded the following:

"Estimate of Accuracy Notwithstanding the limitations of the quality of the empirical research and the limited ability to generalize to real-world settings, we conclude that in populations of examinees such as those represented in the polygraph research literature, untrained in countermeasures, specific-incident polygraph tests for event-specific investigations can discriminate lying from truth telling at rates well above chance, though well below perfection.

Accuracy may be highly variable across situations. The evidence does not allow any precise quantitative estimate of polygraph accuracy or provide confidence that accuracy is stable across personality types, sociodemographic groups, psychological and medical conditions, examiner and examinee expectancies, or ways of administering the test and selecting questions. In particular, the evidence does not provide confidence that polygraph accuracy is robust against potential countermeasures. There is essentially no evidence on the incremental validity of polygraph testing, that is, its ability to add predictive value to that which can be achieved by other methods."

I can't think of anything more absurd, or cruel, than subjecting a retarded person to a polygraph interrogation on the pretext of "getting at the truth" or "eliminating" him/her as a "suspect", which is the typical ruse used by LE agencies and others to get people to voluntarily  submit to a polygraphic interrogation.

Incidently, consider the phrase "significantly above chance"  If one were to assume that to mean 20% "above chance" that would equate to only 60%!   If 50% is "chance", then 1.2 x .5 = .6 or 60%. I'll even spot you 5%.  Let's say 65% accuracy.  That is not very accurate.  Especially considering the way the polygraph is presented to the public at large, and suspects in particular.

So to be fair, and in the spirit of gentlepersonly debate, I'll revise my statement and say that the polygraph has not been found to be VERY accurate, and has been found to be unreliable, and NOT a scientifically valid test.

"Dear Suspect.  We think you stole money from your employer.  Will you take the polygraph test, which is really not a scientifically valid test, is unreliable, and not very accurate.  About 60-65% accurate.  We can not FORCE you to take it.  You are within your legal rights to decline.  But if you do, you must be hiding sumthin!  What are you hiding scum bag?  What ya afraid of, huh?!'


"M-O-O-N"  That spells "Tom Cullen"
« Last Edit: Feb 26th, 2009 at 6:30am by T.M. Cullen »  

"There is no direct and unequivocal connection between lying and these physiological states of arousal...(referring to polygraph)."

Dr. Phil Zimbardo, Phd, Standford University
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