Hot Topic (More than 15 Replies) Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors) (Read 65651 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Jan 21st, 2008 at 11:37am
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On Wednesday, 23 January 2008, Fox premieresd its polygraph-themed game show The Moment of Truth, in which contestants are asked a series of 21 increasingly personal questions. If their answers accord with the secret results of previously administered lie detector "tests," contestants can win a cash prize of up to $500,000:

http://www.fox.com/momentoftruth/

While the name of the polygrapher performing the "testing" for the show has not been publicly divulged, according to a recent interview with Howard Schultz, the show's executive producer, "he's a member of the American Polygraph Association. This guy has been doing polygraphs for more than 25 years."

Time for a "moment of truth" about lie detectors. As AntiPolygraph.org's readers know, polygraph testing has no scientific basis: it's inherently biased against the honest, and yet easily beaten by liars using simple countermeasures that polygraph operators have no demonstrated ability to detect. (Download The Lie Behind the Lie Detector for details.) And the American Polygraph Association has such low ethical standards that it has no objection to one of its past presidents falsely passing himself off as a Ph.D. in marketing his services. Moreover, there is no evidence that polygraph operators with 25 years of experience deliver any more accurate results than those fresh out of polygraph school -- the longest of which is only 14 weeks long, less than half the length of a typical barber college!

While viewers may (or may not) find The Moment of Truth entertaining, they should bear in mind that the lie detector is just that -- entertainment -- and no more to be relied upon than a Magic 8-Ball.

Please post comments on The Moment of Truth here.
« Last Edit: Jan 25th, 2008 at 9:52am by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #1 - Jan 21st, 2008 at 6:30pm
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George,
Since when has the truth ever stopped the media?
  

Counter-measures were easy.
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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #2 - Jan 22nd, 2008 at 3:30am
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Not that anyone cares, but every examiner I have communicated with finds the show, and the entertainment industry's use of polygraph as a whole--------detestable, distasteful, abusive, and unethical.
  

All men are mortal. Socrates was mortal. Therefore, &&all men are Socrates.-----Woody Allen  &&
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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #3 - Jan 22nd, 2008 at 8:14am
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EJohnson wrote on Jan 22nd, 2008 at 3:30am:
Not that anyone cares, but every examiner I have communicated with finds the show, and the entertainment industry's use of polygraph as a whole--------detestable, distasteful, abusive, and unethical.

Why would they feel that way?

If the polygraph is a valid scientific method of determining truth or deception, why would it be unethical to use it to determine truth or deception on television?

I can think of a bunch of valid scientific tests that wouldn't be unethical to administer on television.  Why is it so "detestable" to have an APA member administer a polygraph on TV?
  

Lorsque vous utilisez un argumentum ad hominem, tout le monde sait que vous êtes intellectuellement faillite.
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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #4 - Jan 23rd, 2008 at 11:47am
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Nick Savastano

New York Post reporter Don Kaplan reveals that the polygraph operator for The Moment of Truth is Nick Savastano (the Post mis-spells his last name "Savatano"), who earlier performed on NBC's discontinued show, Meet My Folks.

In January 2003, Savastano did not respond to my public challenge to him to demonstrate his claimed ability to detect countermeasures by accepting Dr. Drew C. Richardson's polygraph countermeasure challenge (which, unless some intrepid polygrapher promptly steps up to the plate, will by next week have gone six years without a taker).
  

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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #5 - Jan 23rd, 2008 at 3:34pm
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Sergeant1107 wrote on Jan 22nd, 2008 at 8:14am:
EJohnson wrote on Jan 22nd, 2008 at 3:30am:
Not that anyone cares, but every examiner I have communicated with finds the show, and the entertainment industry's use of polygraph as a whole--------detestable, distasteful, abusive, and unethical.

Why would they feel that way?

If the polygraph is a valid scientific method of determining truth or deception, why would it be unethical to use it to determine truth or deception on television?

I can think of a bunch of valid scientific tests that wouldn't be unethical to administer on television.  Why is it so "detestable" to have an APA member administer a polygraph on TV?


Please name those scientific tests which would  be "ethical" in the framework where people are consuming the results without the guidance of a professional counselor, in front of millions of people, and under the umbrella of "entertainment." Take the old DNA type of TV scenario where a would be father of a 8 year old child is thrust with the news that he is not the actual father. What the cameras fail to show is the aftermath of the families----left unguided to attempt to reassemble their broken lives. Those people sat for the test for a few bucks and a plane ticket to "the big city." If you erroneously compare a person who seeks a job filled with tests, and background investigations, stress interviews, and normed against a population of purist-thinking boyscouts, than you are terribly misguided. A wise examiner once said that domestic type issue polygraph testing is not for public consumption, and should be properly framed and implimented by a professional therapist. Take it or leave it.
  

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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #6 - Jan 23rd, 2008 at 4:25pm
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EJohnson wrote on Jan 23rd, 2008 at 3:34pm:
What the cameras fail to show is the aftermath of the families----left unguided to attempt to reassemble their broken lives.


And what polygraphers refuse to admit is the shattered dreams of many good, honest patriotic folks who fail pre-employment or security screening for law enforcement and government jobs due to false positives of the polygraph, not to mention the harm done to national security when spies beat the lie detector and sell our secrets.  Lastly, but not least, is the confirmed murders by Gary Ridgway when he was cleared by a polygraph, allowing him to continue his murderous ways.
  

"Although the degree of reliability of polygraph evidence may depend upon a variety of identifiable factors, there is simply no way to know in a particular case whether a polygraph examiner's Conclusion is accurate, because certain doubts and uncertainties plague even the best polygraph exams."  (Justice Clarence Thomas writing in United States v. Scheffer, 523 U.S. 303, 118 S.Ct. 1261, 140 L.Ed.2d 413, 1998.)
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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #7 - Jan 23rd, 2008 at 6:12pm
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nopolycop wrote on Jan 23rd, 2008 at 4:25pm:
EJohnson wrote on Jan 23rd, 2008 at 3:34pm:
What the cameras fail to show is the aftermath of the families----left unguided to attempt to reassemble their broken lives.


And what polygraphers refuse to admit is the shattered dreams of many good, honest patriotic folks who fail pre-employment or security screening for law enforcement and government jobs due to false positives of the polygraph, not to mention the harm done to national security when spies beat the lie detector and sell our secrets.  Lastly, but not least, is the confirmed murders by Gary Ridgway when he was cleared by a polygraph, allowing him to continue his murderous ways.


Ah, another good out-of-context quote and remark. You are like a White Castle Hamburger, no matter what time, where, or when, you always know how to twist the insides. The only difference is that White Castle doesn't pretend to be healthy or smart. I'll pass on addressing your straw man remark. Inductive reasoning is best left for the prejudicial masses.
« Last Edit: Jan 23rd, 2008 at 8:21pm by EJohnson »  

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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #8 - Jan 24th, 2008 at 1:48am
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Whether polygraphic or DNA testing for entertainment is ethical or not is not a question for scientists, but rather a question for ethicists.  Further, whether or not such entertainment uses are ethical does not change the fact that science has shown DNA testing to be virtualy perfect and polygraphy baseless.

To answer the question about scientific tests being used for entertainment... How about field sobriety tests on "COPS"?  It is darned entertaining  Grin and has scientific validity.

I hope my writing is up to standard.
  
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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #9 - Jan 25th, 2008 at 11:13am
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While I agree with Media Life magazine writer Diego Vasquez's characterization of The Moment of Truth as "an hour of poor taste," it seems the viewing public may feel differently. According to Benjamin Toff of the New York Times, "...Nielsen estimated that the show delivered 23.2 million viewers, more than any series premiere on any network in almost a year."

Interestingly, in its first episode, the show made no claims about the accuracy of lie detectors, perhaps supposing that Americans already have sufficient belief in the pseudoscience of polygraphy that no explanation was necessary. The polygraph itself takes a backseat in the show. Contestants are asked some 50 questions while hooked up to the lie detector prior to the show's taping. As each contestant is introduced, the screen displays rapid-fire video sequences from the person's polygraph examination. Let's look at some frame grabs.

Here we see that polygrapher Nick Savastano is using a four-pen analog (non-computerized) polygraph instrument. There is no channel for a seat pad or strain gauge (used by many polygraphers nowadays in an effort to detect or deter physical countermeasures such as the anal sphincter contraction):



Note that the polygraph chair has no arm rest for the examinee's left hand (to which the galvanic plates are attached). The examinee's right arm rests on a table:



Here we see that Savastano's polygraph instrument is a Lafayette Ambassador:



Another glimpse of the polygraph instrument:



The first contestant was personal trainer and former XFL football player Ty Keck, who played for the Los Angeles Xtreme. He made it past the first round of personally intrusive questions to win $10,000, but decided to risk it and proceed to the second round, during which he was eliminated for allegedly lying when answering "no" to the question, "As a personal trainer, have you touched a female client more than was required of you?":


Ty Keck in the polygraph chair



Ty Keck on stage


The next contestant was George Ortuzar, marketing manager at the Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood, California. He made it past the first round of personal questions, went on to the second, and will continue on next week's show:


George Ortuzar in the polygraph chair



George Ortuzar on stage


And by accident or design, sleeveless blouses were de rigeur for wives and girlfriends:


Ty Keck's wife, Catia



George Ortuzar's girlfriend, Lily
  

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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #10 - Jan 28th, 2008 at 2:32am
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This is tawdry entertainment that plays into the base voyeuristic tendencies in the worst parts of human nature. 

E. Johnson is right in that there are valid scientific tests that shouldn't be made the objects of public entertainment (DNA paternity testing can be well over 99% accurate).  I like his line about the cameras not showing the shattered lives that such shows often leave behind.  But nopolycop is also right; Polygraphers also escape the consequences of what they frequently produce.

It's no surprise if, as E. Johnson claims, polygraphers universally detest shows like this (unless they're personally being enriched by it, as Nick Savastano is).  After all, the more people know about how the polygraph works the more difficult it is to use the device to good effect.  And the more people are exposed to the polygraph and encouraged to learn about it the more they'll know.  Polygraphers only like people getting (dis)information about the box from themselves.

Dr. Lethe

  

Is former APA President Skip Webb evil or just stupid?

Is former APA President Ed Gelb an idiot or does the polygraph just not work?

Did you know that polygrapher Sackett doesn't care about detecting deception to relevant questions?
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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #11 - Jan 28th, 2008 at 2:47am
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This show gives people a large (up to $500,000) monetary incentive to develop good countermeasures skills.  It'll be interesting to see if anyone wins big and then, after cashing the check, fesses up to using CMs.  Or if the show will ever flunk someone for apparently trying to use them.  (My guess is that peeps who are detected using CMs won't ever appear on the show, it'd shatter the image of the box being all but infallible)

I'm sure contestants have got to sign pretty lengthy agreement forms being going on the show, releasing the show, network, etc from all sorts of liability.  I wonder if that agreement also says anything about attempting to use countermeasures?  Maybe the Smoking Gun will turn something up?
  

Is former APA President Skip Webb evil or just stupid?

Is former APA President Ed Gelb an idiot or does the polygraph just not work?

Did you know that polygrapher Sackett doesn't care about detecting deception to relevant questions?
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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #12 - Jan 31st, 2008 at 6:17am
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Lethe,

please understand, the difference between polygraph and "entertainment." That is where you (and many others) "get" lost...

Sackett

P.S.  Yes, and George will confirm, I AM a Polygraph Examiner.
  
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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #13 - Jan 31st, 2008 at 4:06pm
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A close look at the credits from last night's (30 January 2008) episode of The Moment of Truth reveals that Nick Savastano is not the only polygrapher performing polygraph services for the show. He is joined by Pete Perrin of Lake Forest, California, a 2006-2007 member of the California Association of Polygraph Examiners' board of directors:



And sleeveless attire remains in style for younger females appearing on the show:


Contestant Christie Youssef



Christie's sister, Melissa Youssef


But not for older ones:


Christie and Melissa's mother, Nellie Youssef
« Last Edit: Feb 1st, 2008 at 5:50am by George W. Maschke »  

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Re: Fox Lie Detector Game Show "The Moment of Truth" (and a Moment of Truth About Lie Detectors)
Reply #14 - Feb 7th, 2008 at 12:32am
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George, I'm curious about your interest in the women on the show wearing sleeveless tops.

Is there a particular reason you're pointing this out, or are you just doing a little fashion policing?

I have no idea how I discovered this website, but it's provided me some very interesting reading; especially personal experiences with polygraphy and the cost it's had on real peoples lives.
  

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