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Normal Topic Research Article "Charlatanry in forensic speech science: ..." withdrawn from scientific journal after pressure from Nemesysco (Read 15267 times)
Frunobulax
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Research Article "Charlatanry in forensic speech science: ..." withdrawn from scientific journal after pressure from Nemesysco
Jan 1st, 2009 at 8:01pm
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In a newspaper I stumbled upon this, which appears to be unknown in this forum: Two professors of Stockholm University had a research article entitled "Charlantry in forensic speech science: A problem to be taken seriously"  accepted for publication in the (allegedly) serious scientific journal International Journal of Speech Language and the Law. Abstract:
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A lie detector which can reveal lie and deception in some automatic and perfectly reliable way is an old idea we have often met with in science fiction books and comic strips. This is all very well. It is when machines claimed to be lie detectors appear in the context of criminal investigations or security applications that we need to be concerned. In the present paper we will describe two types of “deception” or “stress detectors" (euphemisms to refer to what quite clearly is known as “lie detectors”). Both types of detection are claimed to be based on voice analysis but we found no scientific evidence to support the manufacturers’ claims. Indeed, our review of scientific studies will show that these machines perform at chance level when tested for reliability. Given such results and the absence of scientific support for the underlying principles it is justified to view the use of these machines as charlatanry and we argue that there are serious ethical and security reasons to demand that responsible authorities and institutions should not get involved in such practices.

The issue (Vol 14, No 2 (2007)) was printed and the printed edition distributed. However, the publisher "... received complaints from Mr Liberman and Nemesysco Limited about the content of this article and particularly that the allegations made against them in it were highly defamatory, containing many inaccuracies and misleading statements.". See http://www.equinoxjournals.com/ojs/index.php/IJSLL/article/view/3775. It seems fairly clear to me, that the publisher (Equinox) accepted commercial interests to excert pressure and to censor scientific results. Since the publisher owns the copyright of the article, it is not (at least presently) possible to publish e.g. on the Internet. However, the authors are free to distribute "personal copies", and, allegedly, will do so to anyone asking (http://ling-map.ling.su.se/blog/ English version near the bottom of the page). (My comment: note that personal copies may not be published, doing so in, e.g. this forum may give its owner a problem...)

Nemesysco http://www.nemesysco.com/ is the manufacturer of "Voice Analysis" products, like http://security.nemesysco.com/  and the "Love detector" http://www.love-detector.com/.

This was brought to my knowledge through an article in one of Sweden's major newspaper, http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=597&a=868300 (in Swedish).
  
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T.M. Cullen
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Re: Research Article "Charlatanry in forensic speech science: ..." withdrawn from scientific journal after pressure from Nemesysco
Reply #1 - Jan 1st, 2009 at 8:29pm
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It is similar to those pushing the anthropogenic versus nature driven theory of global warming in which we have "politics/policy driving science", rather than "science driving policy".

In the case of the "lie detection" industry, there is a huge commercial motivation, as well as a lot of bureaucrats wanting to cover their asses.  They would look like fools if they came out and said:  "Well, after decades of relying on the polygraph, and wasting millions of $, we have concluded that it just don't work!".  So what do they do?  They say:  "Well, we never said the polygraph was perfect.  That is why we are working on bigger and better methods of detection.  Like voice stress, and differential fart analysis."

I was always under the impression that you must FIRST prove a theory (in this case, that deception can be scientifically detected), and THEN apply that theory in some constructive way.

Galileo where art thee?  Or is it "thou"?

TC

  

"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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George W. Maschke
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Re: Research Article "Charlatanry in forensic speech science: ..." withdrawn from scientific journal after pressure from Nemesysco
Reply #2 - Jan 1st, 2009 at 8:42pm
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Frunobulax,

Thank you for your post! The article you cite, by professors Anders Eriksson and Francisco Lacerda, is a very important one for all concerned with such matters, and I'd like it to reach as wide a reading audience as possible. Professor Eriksson graciously provided me a copy of the article. A future posting about the controversy surrounding the suppression of this article is planned.
  

George W. Maschke
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Re: Research Article "Charlatanry in forensic speech science: ..." withdrawn from scientific journal after pressure from Nemesysco
Reply #3 - Jan 29th, 2009 at 11:33pm
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Athena
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Re: Research Article "Charlatanry in forensic speech science: ..." withdrawn from scientific journal after pressure from Nemesysco
Reply #4 - Feb 7th, 2009 at 6:33am
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The full version of the article is still available at Scrib http://www.scribd.com/doc/9673590/Eriksson-Lacerda-2007

One of the interesting pieces of it was this bit:

Contrary to the claims of sophistication...the LVA [Nemesysco's "Layered Voice Analysis" system] is a very simple program written in Visual Basic. The entire program code, published in the patent documents, comprises no more than 500 lines of code... there is really nothing in the program that requires any mathematical insights beyond very basic secondary school mathematics... we initially intended to use the code published in the patent documents to make a running copy of the program, but the code is rather messy and not particularly well structured and we decided it would not be worth the time and effort to clean up the code in order to convert it into a running program.


  
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George W. Maschke
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Re: Research Article "Charlatanry in forensic speech science: ..." withdrawn from scientific journal after pressure from Nemesysco
Reply #5 - Feb 24th, 2009 at 9:39pm
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For an update on Nemesysco's attempt to suppress Professors Anders Eriksson and Francisco Lacerda's article, "Charlatanry in Forensic Speech Science: A Problem to Be Taken Seriously" see Nemesysco Founder Amir Liberman Is a Charlatan on the blog.
  

George W. Maschke
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Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"
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