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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #15 - Sep 5th, 2001 at 4:15am
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Okay, we agree.

My comment regarding others who had terminated the interview was by way of background to refresh Dr Barland's memory or our previous conversation.  I did not consider it salient to main discourse of the e-mail.
  
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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #16 - Sep 5th, 2001 at 8:06am
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Examiner,

When you say, "Okay, we agree," do you mean that we agree that it's really not in the best interest of a person accused or suspected of a crime to make a post-test confession? If that's not what you meant, could you clarify?

I'd like to discuss a couple points you directed to Gino and wannabe. To Gino, you wrote:

Quote:
The download begins by advising people to use complete honesty.  I agree with that, personally I don’t believe knowledge the control question test is a barrier.  I think there is a study out on that very topic and I will try to locate it and provide the reference.  Then it goes on to say if you don’t want to do that, then decline the test.  Again as I have previously stated I agree that anyone who has committed a crime should not take a polygraph.  Then it goes on to say that if you decide to submit, or feel compelled to submit, here are some countermeasures you can use.  Then it says if all else fails, don’t make admissions and don’t admit to being on this site or doing any research or using countermeasures.  This is in complete conflict with your earlier advice.  Then it says if that advice wasn’t followed, here’s the grievance procedure.  So to say they didn’t follow your advice, so their problems are self-made (understanding of course their initial misconduct was self-made), I consider a cop-out.


In Chapter 4 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (Polygraph Countermeasures), we discuss three basic methods for protecting oneself against a false positive outcome:

1. refusal to submit to polygraph interrogation;
2. complete honesty;
3. polygraph countermeasures.

We present these options in that order, and leave it to the reader to decide how to procede. Note that we do not begin "by advising people to use complete honesty" but by discussing the option of refusing to submit to a polygraph interrogation. We explicitly recommend this course of action to anyone who stands accused of a crime.

The "complete honesty" approach does not mean that we advise guilty people to confess. Rather, it is an approach by which one can attempt to be excused from having to submit to polygraphic interrogation by disclosing up front that one understands that polygraph "testing" is a fraud. We note at p. 67 of the 1st edition: "We believe that the ethically preferable choice for those facing polygraph interrogation is to either refuse to submit or to use the 'complete honesty' approach (or both). But we are also aware that these two choices may entail serious adverse consequences."

Now, Examiner, you have confirmed that you "don't believe knowledge [of] the control question test is a barrier." I suspect that a lot of polygraphers feel the same way. Indeed, the narrow self-interest of those in the polygraph community dictates that they must (at least publicly, if not privately) adopt the position that knowledge of the CQT is no barrier, because otherwise, the polygraph house of cards would rapidly come crashing down.

But let me ask you this: if a subject tells you that he has read The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, that he understands that the stim test is a trick designed to dupe him into believing that polygraphy really works; if he tells you that he understands that you are going to decide whether he is truthful or deceptive by comparing his physiological responses to the "control" questions vs. the relevant questions, and that the irrelevant questions don't "provide a baseline for truth" but are instead not scored at all; if he tells you that he has studied and trained himself in the employment of polygraph countermeasures, and, despite all this, you procede to administer a CQT, then on what theoretical basis do you expect the truthful subject to produce stronger responses to the "control" questions and the guilty subject to produce stronger responses to the relevant questions?

Now, the 3rd option we provide, for those who are concerned that the "complete honesty" approach will be unfruitful, is polygraph countermeasures. Our recommendation to those who employ countermeasures not to make pre-test or post-test admissions (including regarding their knowledge of polygraphy and polygraph countermeasures) if accused of deception or having attempted countermeasures is hardly "in conflict" with this approach.

Regarding our chapter on grievance procedures (Ch. 5), you write: "Then it says if that advice wasn't followed, here's the grievance procedure." Not quite. Chapter 5 opens: "If you have read this book prior to your polygraph interrogation, you should not need to contest your polygraph results. However, if your first exposure to this book comes after you have already submitted to and 'failed' a polygraph 'test,' read this section carefully."

I respectfully submit that a review of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector suggests that you have misconstrued the approaches we present for avoiding a false positive outcome (you even got the order in which they are presented wrong).

In the case of your subjects who, to your chagrin, terminated their post-test polygraph interrogations, Gino is correct in pointing out that they did not follow our explicit recommendation that anyone accused of a crime should refuse to submit to a polygraph "test." This is no cop-out. If you still disagree, and/or think that we are somehow blameworthy, please explain.

You also wrote to wannabe:

Quote:
Wannabe, I believe I addressed this post also, with one exception.  I see in your posts you frequently refer to "the flip of a coin" polygraphy, would you mind providing a list of the peer reviewed research that YOU have studied to come to this conclusion or are you merely echoing someone else’s statements?


As we point out in Chapter 1 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, polygraphy has not been proven by peer-reviewed research to work better than chance under field conditions. Indeed, CQT polygraphy is not a standardizable, scientifically controlled procedure such that it could have any true validity. A plethora of uncontrolled (and uncontrollable) variables may influence the outcome, including, perhaps most significantly, whether the subject knows how to beat the "test."

I think wannabe and others refer to "coin flip" accuracy as meaning "no better than chance." While polygraphy has not been shown to work better than chance, the "coin flip" metaphor may be misleading to the extent that it suggests that polygraphers are wrong half the time. This need not be the case. For example, when you polygraph a servicemember who has tested positive on a urinalysis test, you have strong presumptive evidence that the person knowingly used an illegal drug. If you simply decided to "fail" all such persons when they come to you for a polygraph "test," you'll likely be right much more than half the time, even though such a methodology is completely invalid from a scientific standpoint. Similarly, in the case of counterintelligence-scope polygraph screening, if you simply decide to "pass" everyone, you'll be right almost all the time, because almost no one is a spy or saboteur. And yet again, this technique is completely invalid.

For further reading on how an invalid technique can seemingly work better than a coin flip, see Chapter 5 of the 2nd edition of David T. Lykken's book, A Tremor in the Blood: Uses and Abuses of the Lie Detector (New York: Plenum Trade, 1998).
  

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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #17 - Sep 5th, 2001 at 5:00pm
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George

    I really expected better from you than this.  I do not "simply" decide to pass or fail people who take polygraph examinations.  I know that is what you want people to believe, but in my agency at least, it doesn't work that way.  I give people a polygraph, then I evaluate their responses and determine whether or not they are practicing deception.  But that is only a tentative determination.  As the entire interview is then reviewed by two senior examiners for Quality Assurance.  Certainly an unethical examiner could construct a test to achieve a pre-determined outcome, but with the current review process utilized in my agency, that examiner would be found out and eliminated.  As I'm sure you know, polygraph in the military is regulated starting at the Department of Defense level with DoD Directive and Regulation 5210.48(R).  Essentially, the regulation restricts the use of polygraph to individuals who are the focus of a felony criminal investigation and other investigative actions have failed to resolve the issue.  What this means is by the time someone comes to see me significant evidence has been accumulated that indicates their involvement in the crime.  Is that evidence ever wrong?  Of course, circumstantial evidence or eyewitness testimony can easily be wrong.  To that end I have personally exculpated 15% of the people I spoke with so far this year.  My rate seems to run between 12%-20% per year.  The variance seems to be attributable to the experience level of the investigators I work with.

But, back to the topic.  What we agree on is a person who committed a crime should not take a polygraph.  We disagree on whether or not innocent people should take one, but as I stated I know several who are happy they did.  We also seem to agree that everyone should make their own choice regarding how to deal with their individual situation, and should do that based on all the information available to them.  In that vain, we do not agree regarding making admissions apparently.  I thought we did.  I certainly would agree that it is not always in a person's best interest to confess, conversely there are certainly times when it is in their best interest.  Each person needs to weigh the pros and cons of their situation and decide how best to mitigate it.  Sometimes that will certainly be by telling the truth.

I appreciate your clarification of the information in your download, obviously I did have the options in the wrong order.  I was happy to note that your advice to criminals is do not take a polygraph and it ends there.  I would agree that countermeasures will not mitigate their result.

With regard to complete honesty, I knew what you were talking about, its very clear in the download.  They should be completely honest about their efforts to research polygraph.  I support that.  I continue to maintain that it is not a barrier to conducting a polygraph.  When I became a polygraph examiner I had been an investigator for 17 years.  In that time I had observed hundreds of CQT polygraphs.  I most certainly was fully aware of the basis format.  Add to that I was intimately familiar with the question order and specific test format.  I had to submit to a polygraph to get accepted into the program.  Despite my knowledge this was no problem.  Examiners themselves have to take polygraphs from time to time.  Their knowledge doesn't seem to be any barrier.  Certainly I'm not a researcher or an applied psychologist, so I don't know that I'm qualified to discuss theory, Dr Barland can do a much better job of that.  My belief that it is no obstecle is obviously ancedotal.  I would consider it to be naive of any examiner today to believe that the people they are talking with are completly ignorant of the process.  I welcome any discussion or questions the people I speak with have. 

As for blame, I think we've come down to a matter of mere semantics.  In light of your expansions upon your advice covered in this and other threads, I'll yield that point.  I hope that people who obtain and consider using your download take the time to fully explore your message board.

I do find it very revealing that you chose to answer for Wannabe, as the question to him dealt with what HE was basing his statements on, I still hope to hear from him on that.  Regarding your further contensions about the availability or lack of peer-reviewed research I find that pretty misleading.  While I would defer this topic entirely to Dr Barland, because I do not have the background to fully address it, I will make some comentary.  The brief for Amicus Curiae by the Committee of Concerned Social Scientists, 1997, for the Supreme Court in case #96-1133, United States v Scheffer lists about 40 peer-reviewed studies, which support the reliability and validity of the CQT.  With regard to uncontrolled/able variables I would certainly agree with that.  That issue exists with virtually all psychological research.  This is probably why psuedo-experimentation is the preferred method of conducting experiments for research psychologists.

Once again we seem to be mixing screening and criminal testing formats.  As I said previously these two areas are entirely different.  My comments are related to criminal testing only.
  
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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #18 - Sep 5th, 2001 at 6:43pm
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Examiner,

You wrote:

Quote:
I really expected better from you than this.  I do not "simply" decide to pass or fail people who take polygraph examinations.  I know that is what you want people to believe, but in my agency at least, it doesn't work that way.


I assume you're referring to my explanation of how a completely invalid procedure can be right more than half the time (seemingly better than a coin flip):

Quote:
I think wannabe and others refer to "coin flip" accuracy as meaning "no better than chance." While polygraphy has not been shown to work better than chance, the "coin flip" metaphor may be misleading to the extent that it suggests that polygraphers are wrong half the time. This need not be the case. For example, when you polygraph a servicemember who has tested positive on a urinalysis test, you have strong presumptive evidence that the person knowingly used an illegal drug. If you simply decided to "fail" all such persons when they come to you for a polygraph "test," you'll likely be right much more than half the time, even though such a methodology is completely invalid from a scientific standpoint. Similarly, in the case of counterintelligence-scope polygraph screening, if you simply decide to "pass" everyone, you'll be right almost all the time, because almost no one is a spy or saboteur. And yet again, this technique is completely invalid.


I did not mean to suggest that you personally score your polygraph charts on the basis of the simplistic methodology I described above. Perhaps it would have been better had I substituted "one" for "you," but I think if you re-read my post, it's unmistakably clear that I was describing a hypothetical situation.

(It is noteworthy, however, that according to the data provided in the DoD Polygraph Program Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2001, all DoD counterintelligence-scope polygraph exams in that fiscal year seem to have been scored on the basis of passing everyone who did not make "substantive" admissions. For more on this, see my Open Letter to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld on Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in the DoD Counterintelligence-Scope Polygraph Program.)

You also wrote:

Quote:
I appreciate your clarification of the information in your download, obviously I did have the options in the wrong order.  I was happy to note that your advice to criminals is do not take a polygraph and it ends there.  I would agree that countermeasures will not mitigate their result.


Note that it was not our advice to criminals in particular that they should not submit to a polygraph interrogation. Rather, that is our advice to anyone -- innocent or guilty -- who is suspected of a crime. And you are mistaken if you suppose that we agree that countermeasures cannot help criminals to beat the polygraph. "Control" Question "Test" polygraphy is easily defeated through the use of simple countermeasures that polygraphers cannot detect.
  

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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #19 - Sep 6th, 2001 at 5:23am
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I was referring to your comment about determining pass or fail prior to collection and evaluation of the data.  I don't do that and I do not personally know any other examiner who does.

Apology accepted, and again I don't conduct screening tests so I can't comment intelligently about what they do or don't do.  My comments are regarding criminal testing only, as I previously stated these two areas of polygraphy are completely different and mixing them in the discussion is not an accurate way to address the topic.

As I stated I understand you and I disagree on the point regarding who should or should not test.  I agree to disagree with you here.

With regard to the effectiveness of countermeasures, thats certainly one opinion.  To those who would stake their futures on it, I say take a look at the thread in this forum titled, To those who have tried countermeasures, or words to that effect.  I personally know of 17 people who would disagree with the guidance provided on this site, that performing countermeasures as describe in the download makes it easy to pass a polygraph.  They tried, they failed.  Yes, they confessed.  And of course since they didn't follow your guidance to the letter George, I understand you bear no responsibility for their failures.  Obviously they didn't study the download hard enough, or practice the countermeasures long enough with enough dilligence.  But wait a minute, thats beginning to sound pretty hard.  They must have just been inept because its obvious anyone who spends 30 minutes prepping can beat a poly, right George?
  
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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #20 - Sep 6th, 2001 at 7:06am
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Examiner,

You wrote:

Quote:
My comments are regarding criminal testing only, as I previously stated these two areas of polygraphy are completely different and mixing them in the discussion is not an accurate way to address the topic.


On what basis do you say that polygraph screening and the polygraphic interrogation of criminal suspects are "completely different?" They have a lot in common:

  • Both depend on the polygrapher lying to and deceiving the subject about the nature of the procedure.
  • In both, truth vs. deception is (at least in theory) determined based upon a comparison of the subject's physiological responses to "control" vs. relevant questions.
  • The validity of neither has been established by peer-reviewed scientific research.


With regard to polygraph countermeasures, I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone from reading the discussion in the thread To those who have tried countermeasures. A fuller discussion of polygraph countermeasures appears in the thread, Countermeasure considerations for the innocent, which Dr. Barland started. Critical readers may judge for themselves whether DoDPI can detect countermeasures attempts better than chance (a claim Dr. Barland never actually made).

At the 23 July 2001 meeting of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Study to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph, Professor Charles R. Honts of Boise State University stated that polygraphers cannot detect the kinds of countermeasures discussed in The Lie Behind the Lie Detector. To listen to his remarks on polygraph countermeasures in RealPlayer format, click here.

Regarding countermeasures, you wrote:

Quote:
I personally know of 17 people who would disagree with the guidance provided on this site, that performing countermeasures as describe in the download makes it easy to pass a polygraph.  They tried, they failed.  Yes, they confessed.


This seems to be an admission that the only people you've detected attempting to employ countermeasures were those who confessed.

You concluded:

Quote:
They must have just been inept because its obvious anyone who spends 30 minutes prepping can beat a poly, right George?


Regarding your 17 subjects who admitted to having attempted countermeasures, you did not clearly state what techniques they attempted. I cannot know whether they ineptly attempted the kind of countermeasures described in The Lie Behind the Lie Detector or some other (less effective and perhaps even counterproductive) technique. Is it your contention that all 17 admitted to having read The Lie Behind the Lie Detector and attempted the countermeasures described there?

In peer-reviewed studies by Charles Honts and others, roughly 50% of programmed-guilty subjects were able to beat the "control" question "test" with not more than 30 minutes of instruction in the kind of countermeasures described in The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (and experienced polygraphers were not able to detect the countermeasures). Anyone planning to employ polygraph countermeasures would be well advised to spend more time than 30 minutes in preparation.
  

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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #21 - Sep 6th, 2001 at 4:34pm
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George:

    Regarding Criminal v Screening, the purpose of the examinations is completely different.  Screening seeks to determine whether or not an individual is suitable for employment, Criminal testing seeks to determine whether an individual has knowledge or participated in a specific criminal event.  The formats and technical conduct of the examinations are disparate because of the differences in the purpose.  With regard to the similarities you propose, that brings up an interesting point I have never really understood as a significant point of contention on this site.

    Yes, an examiner lies during the conduct of an interview.  Every investigator I have ever known or heard of, from law enforcement to insurance to private lies during the interview process.  The United States Supreme Court sanctioned this type of activity decades ago.  This is an appropriate and accepted aspect of law enforcement.  Its not like its any secret, I fail to understand why this is such a significant issue here.

Your next point may or may not be true depending on testing format and agency.

Your final point is clearly debatable as there are studies on both sides of the issue.  I'm not a researcher and don't currently have access to an academic library, so I have to defer sitings of specific research to Dr Barland.  Again I would encourage review of the Amicus brief described in my previous post for those who want to review both sides of the issue objectively.

While I wouldn't dispute the findings of Honts' research without reviewing it first.  I would have to believe that its application to field examiners as whole is debatable.  Check Dr Barland's post in the "To those who have tried countermeasures" thread, he articulates well that the detection varies depending on the test format and the examiner.

George, you should be a defense attorney, talk about twisting words.  The 17 individuals I spoke of all were unsuccessful in their efforts to employ countermeasures.  All confessed to commiting the crimes they were suspected of.  All admitted to obtaining your download and practicing and then employing the countermeasures described in the text.  These, by no means represent the total number of people I have detected performing countermeasures.  This thread originated from a discussion of two additional cases, which are not included in that 17. 

I read it somewhere on this site, but don't recall where.  someone stated that the question is not can the polygraph  be defeated by countermeasures, but how EASY is it for this to be done.  A very accurate statement in my opinion.  And I do find this confusing, George you cite peer-reviewed research that people with not more than 30-minutes training in the type of countermeasures you describe can easily defeat a polygraph.  But now you say that anyone planning to utilize this approach is well advised to spend more than 30-minutes training.  If this is true, how is that paticular research project applicable in supporting what you advocate.  It appears to me that you do not believe that the polygraph can be easily defeated.
  
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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #22 - Sep 6th, 2001 at 6:42pm
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Examiner,

You wrote:

Quote:
The 17 individuals I spoke of all were unsuccessful in their efforts to employ countermeasures.  All confessed to commiting the crimes they were suspected of.  All admitted to obtaining your download and practicing and then employing the countermeasures described in the text.  These, by no means represent the total number of people I have detected performing countermeasures.  This thread originated from a discussion of two additional cases, which are not included in that 17.


I would not dispute that it is possible that you have indeed polygraphed 17 subjects who admitted to having obtained The Lie Behind the Lie Detector and practiced and then employed the countermeasures decscribed therein. But I don't believe you.

I cannot reconcile your above claim with what you wrote in your original private message to Gordon Barland:

Quote:
In the last several weeks I have encountered numerous DI subjects, who abruptly terminated their interviews at the 40-60 minute mark.  I spoke with you briefly about this at DoDPI.  Per your suggestion I "studied" George's book and sure enough at the top of page 81, he instructs them to do exactly what I had experienced.


Your words to Gordon strongly suggest that you only recently learned about the existence of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector. If I am wrong about this, I apologize for having questioned your word, and suggest that you contact Dr. Andrew Ryan, chief of the DoDPI Research Division, at research@jackson-dpi.army.mil, as I suspect the charts of these 17 individuals will be of great research interest to DoDPI.

You also wrote:

Quote:
And I do find this confusing, George you cite peer-reviewed research that people with not more than 30-minutes training in the type of countermeasures you describe can easily defeat a polygraph.  But now you say that anyone planning to utilize this approach is well advised to spend more than 30-minutes training.  If this is true, how is that paticular research project applicable in supporting what you advocate.  It appears to me that you do not believe that the polygraph can be easily defeated.


Before addressing the point you raise, I would remind you that our purpose in writing The Lie Behind the Lie Detector and making it publicly available for free is to help truthful persons to avoid a false positive outcome, not to help liars beat the system.

In the laboratory studies by Honts et al., about half of programmed guilty subjects were able to beat the polygraph after no more than 30 minutes of training (and, as I mentioned earlier, experienced polygarphers were not able to detect the countermeasures at better than chance levels). For persons who face a polygraph interrogation in the real world, the stakes are typically high. A person's career or even his liberty may depend on the outcome. Hence, it is, in my opinion, only prudent that someone planning to use countermeasures to protect himself against a false positive outcome should invest more than 30 minutes studying and practicing.
  

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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #23 - Sep 6th, 2001 at 8:15pm
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Quote:
The problem that existed for both of the individuals being discussed here, is the case facts showed their involvement.  When the commander has no information as to the circumstances which lead these individuals to commit criminal acts, the only option is to err on the conservative side and assume they acted deliberately.  


Question: Why would the commander who "has no information as to the circumstances" not have the information he needs to make a judgement call on how to proceed? Did the Criminal Investigation Division do an investigation or not? If they did a "thorough" investigation the questions the commander has should have already been answered. If not, why not? If the investigation has not supplied the answers to the commanders questions, why the big rush to the polygraph? Is time so critical that the military doesn't complete the investigation and instead rushes to the polygraph? Seems to me, as an examiner, you are obligated to not conduct a test unless the investigation has been completed properly. Apparently you run everything they shove at you so no waves will rock your boat.  Either the commander has already made up his mind, or he's impatient and wants the situation resolved quickly at the expense of a proper investigation so he goes with whatever the examiner comes up with. I'll bet the commander know little about how the polygraph "works" and goes with whatever the examiner says. And this is "uniform" justice?  We either need new commanders or new criminal investigators... what we don't need is some bozo with a bunch of rubber tubes playing the big brother when he knows he doesn't have a clue as to the guilt or innocense of the people sitting in his "chair". Gut feelings? "Awwww heck, you're a nice kid and seem sorry for what you've been accused of. If you promise not to do it again, I'll tell the commander you learned your lesson, okay? Now give me a big hug". Your gonna make me barf. Be a man, and tell the commander the truth, the polygraph doesn't work! You'll feel much better about yourself, as you deserve.
  

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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #24 - Sep 7th, 2001 at 3:32am
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Psuedo Relevant:

    A very good choice of screen name, very appropriate.  Bring something of substance to the discussion and I'll be happy to comment.
  
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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #25 - Sep 7th, 2001 at 12:21pm
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Examiner,

I think that Pseudo Relevant raised some legitimate questions, and am disappointed that you chose to dismiss them with an ad hominem attack (poking fun at his screen name)...

I'd like to address one more point that you raised yesterday. You wrote:

Quote:
Yes, an examiner lies during the conduct of an interview.  Every investigator I have ever known or heard of, from law enforcement to insurance to private lies during the interview process.  The United States Supreme Court sanctioned this type of activity decades ago.  This is an appropriate and accepted aspect of law enforcement.  Its not like its any secret, I fail to understand why this is such a significant issue here.


That polygraphy depends on the polygrapher lying to and deceiving the subject goes to the heart of the question of whether polygraphy is a scientific method of lie detection (or "truth verification," if you prefer) or whether it is a pseudoscientific fraud. I think it is appropriate here to cite the conclusion of Chapter 13 (The Tools of Diogenes: An Overview) of the 2nd edition of David T. Lykken's A Tremor in the Blood: Uses and Abuses of the Lie Detector:

Quote:
Lies! Lies! Lies!


One important point about the various lie detection methods that we have only touched upon in passing deserves explicit emphasis in this summing up. All of these techniques fundamentally depend on deception -- not just in one way and not just in little ways. The theory and assumptions of polygraphic interrogation require the examiner to successfully deceive each subject that he tests in several basic ways. First, he must persuade the subject that being untruthful or even unsure about his answers to the control questions may cause him to fail the test, although in fact the opposite of this is true. Second, when he administers the "stim" test in order to impress the subject with the accuracy of the technique, the examiner has two choices, both of them deceptive. He can use the original Reid "pick-a-card" method in which the deck is either stacked or marked so that the examiner can be sure to guess the right card. Alternatively, he can use the Raskin "pick-a-number" method in which he deceitfully explains that he is "determining what your polygraphic response looks like when you lie." The truth is, of course, that individuals do not show characteristic physiological response patterns when they lie that they do not also show when telling the truth. Third, throughout his interactions with the subject, the examiner must convey the impression of virtual infallibility. The stimtest is just a component of this basic deception. The purpose is benign enough; if guilty subjects are convinced the polygraph will reveal their guilt, then they are more likely to respond strongly to the relevant questions. If innocent subjects are similarly convinced, then they will tend not to respond so strongly. Moreover, because most examiners truly believe in their near-infallibility, because as we have seen they are the victims of their own deceptive art, they may convey this needed impression not only effectively but also without conscious guile. Nonetheless, the polygraph test, as we have seen, has an accuracy closer to chance than to infallibility; the innocent suspect being tested by the police faces worse odds than in a game of Russian roulette. The fact that most polygraph examiners are not aware of these facts (indeed, they may be the last to know) is not an adequate excuse. Fourth, when the subject is interrogated after a polygraph test, he may be the victim of repeated deceptions. "This unbiased, scientific instrument is saying that you're not telling the truth about this, John!" "Why don't you tell me whatever it is that you feel guilty about, Mary, then maybe you will do better on the next test." "With this polygraph chart, George, no one is going to believe you now. The best thing you can do is to confess and make the best deal you can."

I will confess here that I do not personally object to certain harmless deceptions of criminal suspects that might lead to verifiable confessions and a quick and easy solution to a criminal investigation. But a procedure that claims to be a genuine test for truth that cannot hope to succeed even by its own theory and assumptions unless the subject is successfully deceived in certain standard ways is an invitation to abuse, abuse by examiners and especially by sophisticated criminals and spies. I submit that it is madness for courts or federal police and security agencies to rely on polygraph results for this reason alone. As we have seen, of course, there are many other reasons for this same diagnosis.
  

George W. Maschke
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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #26 - Sep 7th, 2001 at 4:00pm
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George , it wasn't an ad hominem attack, merely an observation that his/her screen name and his/her style match.  I don't intend to be goaded or baited into the type of discussion it appears to me he/she wants to have.

After reading your quote from Lykken, I still don't understand the significance of the issue.  I guess first one needs to understand that Lykken is a polygraph advocate, not a detractor.  His objection is to the CQT not the use of the instrument to separate the guilty from the innocent.  These objections stem from the fact that the Government chose the CQT format over his proposed format, a variation of the Guilty Knowledge Test, which he advocates.  So if you want to have a discussion of self-serving statements and misinformation certainly we can start with his book.  This is a statement of my opinion only.  After all Lykken concludes by saying he doesn't have a problem with lying to criminal suspects generally, just in telling some lies.  Certainly an interesting ethical deliniation.

Sorry I didn't get to your previous post earlier, but I'll address it now.  George I don't care whether you or anyone else on this site believes anything I write.  As I previously acknowledged I will not alay the suspicions of the doubters, no matter what I write, so its not an issue worth debating.

I see where the confusion comes in regarding my e-mail with Dr Barland and I gratefully accept your apology.  I originally learned of your site and your download sometime late last year or early this year.  I had read both your download and Williams' book, along with several others prior to my recent meeting with Dr Barland.  While I perused your site, Stoppolygraph, Nopolygraph, and Williams' site occasionally I didn't spend time studying in detail the threads, posts, and alerts.  I basically scanned them for anything that caught my eye and to see if any of my prospective examinees appeared to be posting.  Dr Barland's recent suggestion to me, when we met at DoDPI, was to take a more active interest and to re-read and study your download in detail, which I did.  That is what I was alluding to in the message.

Also you may rest assured that I, like many other examiners, are in frequent contact with DoDPI.  You may also rest assured that any confirmed or suspected countermeasure polygraph examinations are provided to them, from my agency at least.  In fact I have four more that I will be forwarding today, three from your site and one from Williams'.  These three are part of the 17 I mentioned earlier.

I also acknowledge that you clearly state the purpose for making your download available, I'm not suggesting that you are intentionally trying to help criminals defeat the polygraph.  In fact I have noticed that you frequently avoid interacting with criminals, who post here.  Certainly that is evidence to me that your expression of intent is true.  Of course since it is available to anyone with a computer and internet service you can't regulate those who would use it for other than what you intend.  I'm not really clear on what you are writing here though.  Are you stating that it is your belief that countermeasures will not help guilty people defeat the polygraph and your only intent is to ensure that innocent people pass by augmenting their naturally occuring responses?  I also noted that you mentioned in an earlier post that some countermeasures may be counterproductive to helping those innocent people.  I certainly agree with that and I commend you for your candor.  As Dr Barland noted in the "To those who have tried countermeasures" thread, there are risks.  Certainly neither you nor I want to have an innocent person countermeasuring their way into a false positive.  I can see where it might be argued that you have a vested interest in raising the rate of field false positives, but I don't believe that is what you are trying to do.  Though I disagree with your basic premise that innocent people need to augment their responses in order to pass a polygraph, I acknowledge that you believe it and your stated intent is genuine, in my opinion.

I note too, that you frequently mention the Honts studies in this thread and others.  As I stated I'm not qualified to enter into a debate on the research, although I again would like to point out that the Amicus brief I referenced earlier references numerous peer reviewed studies which support the reliability and validity of the CQT.  I read a thread on this site in the policy forum where someone is preparing to discuss those studies with you.  I'll certainly follow that thread with interest.  I'm also glad you acknowledge that the implementation of countermeasures is not easy and requires extensive study and practice.

As a final note to this post, Wannabe has been addressing the question I asked him here in another thread.  I want to ensure that everyone following this thread was aware of that.  He has stated that he visits other polygraph websites, both pro and con to collect the information, which he used to form his opinion.  While I disagree with his conclusion, I commend him for his dilligence in researching the topic.  This is an important issue to the discussion in this thread.  I want to again encourage anyone who is contemplating using the information from this or any other website in an important life decision to go to the source of that information and review it for themselves and not rely on someones else's interpretation and summary of that information.

  
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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #27 - Sep 7th, 2001 at 4:52pm
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examiner wrote on Sep 7th, 2001 at 3:32am:
Psuedo Relevant:

   A very good choice of screen name, very appropriate.  Bring something of substance to the discussion and I'll be happy to comment.


Answer my questions. Or are you afraid to let the truth be known?  Just like every other so-called "examiner", when the tough questions come up, you back away... once again true colors revealed.
  

Poll: Credibility Rating (1 = Lowest, 10 = Highest)&&Rate the following jobs on the scale of 1 to 10 in accordance to your opinion.&&&&Forensic Psychophysiologist&&Sanitation Engineer&&Politician
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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #28 - Sep 7th, 2001 at 7:22pm
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Examiner:

You say in part:

“…Yes, an examiner lies during the conduct of an interview.  Every investigator I have ever known or heard of, from law enforcement to insurance to private lies during the interview process.  The United States Supreme Court sanctioned this type of activity decades ago.  This is an appropriate and accepted aspect of law enforcement.  Its not like its any secret, I fail to understand why this is such a significant issue here…”

     You are to be congratulated for your candor and thanked for furthering these on-going discussions.  For the present, without much elaboration (I plan to start a new thread regarding polygraph “examiner” deception), I would like to simply characterize that which you describe as “…examiner lies during the conduct of an interview…” and list certain of those deceptions.  Deceptions for the average examiner would include (but not necessarily be limited to) intentional oversimplification, confuscation, misrepresentation, misstatement, exaggeration, and known false statement.  Amongst the areas and activities that such deceptions will occur within a given polygraph exam and on a continual basis are the following:

(1)      A discussion of the autonomic nervous system, its anatomy and physiology, its role in the conduct of a polygraph examination, and the examiner’s background as it supports his pontifications regarding said subjects.  In general, an examiner has no or little educational background that would qualify him to lead such a discussion and his discussion contains the likely error that gross oversimplification often leads to.

(2)      The discussion, conduct of, and post-test explanations of the “stim” test, more recently referred to as an “acquaintance” test.


(3)      Examiner representations about the function of irrelevant questions in a control question test (CQT) polygraph exam.

(4)      Examiner representations about the function of control questions and their relationship to relevant questions in a CQT exam.


(5)      Examiner representations about any recognized validity of the CQT (or other exam formats) in a screening application and about what conclusions can reasonably be drawn from the exam at hand, i.e. the one principally of concern to the examinee.

(6)      A host of misrepresentations that are made as “themes” and spun to examinees during a post-test interrogation.


(7)      The notion that polygraphy merits consideration as a scientific discipline, forensic psychophysiology or other…

This listing is not offered as complete (nor in any way are the surrounding thoughts fully developed) but merely as a starting point for the following commentary and recommendation.   You have stated that court opinions have been written which sanction the use of deception on the part of law enforcement officers.  Agreed.  I would suggest for your consideration the following points:

(1)      The deceptions cited in such decisions are generally isolated to specific actions/conversations occurring within specific investigations, not pandemic and not necessary to the day-to-day general and routine practices of law enforcement officers.

(2)      The decisions you might cite clearly refer to law enforcement officers.  On what basis would you extend this “license to lie” to civilian polygraph examiners conducting polygraph exams related to purely administrative, commercial, or domestic subjects or even to polygraphers hired by the accused in a criminal matter?

For a number of years I have called for the abolition of polygraph screening.  I have done so for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is what I believe to be the large scale victimization of people, many of whom have presented their relevant testimony on this web site and message board.  I am also offended by any negative impact that pseudoscience has on legitimate science and in particular on meaningful and legitimate forensic science as practiced in the crime laboratory.  

Although I hope my expanded ability to opine as a recently retired employee of the FBI will augment the voices of those already carrying the torch and lead to the aforementioned abolition, let me begin by suggesting an intermediate step.  Although I do not believe for a minute that all of the deception, lack of due process, etc. that accompanies  polygraph screening is justified (even when practiced by law enforcement and/or intelligence officers), for the sake of immediate conversation, let’s assume that it is.  If in fact it is proper practice and the realm of the law enforcement officer, then it resides within the realm of an advocate, i.e., those who would investigate and prosecute crime.  As such it is clearly not a role for a neutral party and in the realm of the amicus curiae expert of the forensic science community.  Aside from clearly falling within the role of an adversary and not a neutral forensic expert, I would further maintain, that in the numerous disciplines and sub-disciplines now recognized as being a part of forensic science (my background has largely revolved around the practices of forensic chemistry and toxicology), there is no accepted role for deception in any of these disciplines.  Far from being accepted, any such deception would likely be (and has been) the subject of administrative or criminal inquiry.  

Let me summarize what I have just said…the deceptions such as are used in polygraphy, if they are to be accepted, belong in the realm of advocates, like police interrogators and prosecutors and not with parties that are supposed to be neutral, like forensic laboratories.  Before we examine further whether polygraph screening merits continuation in any setting based on the complexities of validity, utility, and deterrence, let’s begin by removing it from that setting where it clearly has no role—the forensic crime laboratory and related professional scientific bodies…  Although there is a clear role for scientific inquiry into polygraph practices, there is no basis for polygraphy being a part of the forensic family or the forensic crime laboratory.
« Last Edit: Sep 7th, 2001 at 8:29pm by Drew Richardson »  
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Re: CM advice on dealing with DI results misguided
Reply #29 - Sep 7th, 2001 at 9:00pm
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Drew:

    Very good commentary.  Although I don't agree with everything in your list of lies as I believe some of them are truths.  But that is the basis of the entire discussion here.

I regret that I will no longer be able to participate on this site.  1st Amendment not withstanding, I hope this forum continues to welcome open discussion of both sides of this issue.  Again I regret I will not be a part of it.
  
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