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MrGrimm888's avatar

What is your opinion on the validity, of a polygraph(lie detector) test?

Asked by MrGrimm888 (13312points) May 3rd, 2017

If administered by an appropriate person, in appropriate conditions.

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16 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Not worth it’s weight in peanut butter. As reliable as a ouija board.

There are too many people who can fool a polygraph. That is why it is inadmissible in court.

kritiper's avatar

Acceptable. in non-legal forums, not admissible in court. It’s only as accurate as those who seek the truth, and the person being questioned believe it to be, and the nature of the questioning and how it might pertain to those involved.
I think they are quite accurate seeing as how the only way to defeat one is to lie continuously.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s pretty much lost its validity. I was watching a hilarious scene from the wire where 2 cops duct taped a suspect’s arm to the closed lid of a copying machine and told the man they were conducting a polygraph test. One cop would ask a question like the man’s name or address while the other cop pushed the button that would cycle the copier. The machine would whir and flash and the second cop would announce “true”. But on the big “did you do it ?” question, immediately after “no” number 2 cop pushed the finish button and the machine dinged as the lid lifted revealing a sheet of paper with “false” printed dead center.

ragingloli's avatar

You might as well consult a spirit medium.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

A trained individual can “beat” it. Certain muscle crunches and position of feet and toes etc. could cause false readings.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t think it has any validity.

Darth_Algar's avatar

By this point they’ve been pretty well established as bunk.

Yellowdog's avatar

They measure certain physical responses such as pulse, sweating, blood pressure, etc. which might be reactions to lying. However—some people don’t have reactions because lying means nothing to them, therefore no reaction.

I beat a lie detector test when I was twenty-one. I admitted to stealing from my employer (copier paper, unsold merchandise) but denied ever being fired from a job— I was grilled over whether I had quit because I knew, believed, or feared being fired or had reason to believe— or whether I was asked to resign or resigned in leui of being fired— and every time I lied and not once was caught.

The lie detector tests are meant to determine a person’s honesty—not their crimes. You can be honest about what you’ve done or are and generally there will be no reaction the machine will measure. However, they are unfair (what if you were unjustifiably fired, or fired for exposing a problem or reporting someone?)— and unreliable—and subjected to interpretation (they don’t register ‘true’ or ‘false’ but a person’s reaction to the question and their own response) —therefore are unreliable and usually illegal.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think it can be valid, just not 100%. Too many variables that can cause spikes in heart rates.

NomoreY_A's avatar

As George Washington told his pappy when he cut down the cherry tree,

“I cannot tell a lie. Popeye did it”.

syz's avatar

When I was in high school, there was some theft at my place of work, so everyone had to take a polygraph test. I had an AP English college placement exam that morning (“choose 3 of 4 questions to answer, you have 5 hours”), and I flat-lined the polygraph. My results were “non-reactive but inconclusive”. If you want to cheat the system, just do something incredibly stressful and draining immediately beforehand.

As an aside, I suspect that both sociopaths and psychopaths would easily pass.

kritiper's avatar

@syz A most interesting answer!

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’ve heard of a trick, where you put a tack in your shoe. Each time you lie,you step on the tack. Or something like that…

The reason I ask about polygraphs, is my football team just drafted a kid who was alleged to have raped a girl. There are no current charges. The police are still gathering information, and will decide in about 2 months,if they will charge him.

He was given at least one polygraph test, and passed. I don’t think of the kid as smart enough to manipulate the test. But I suppose he could have been coached about how to pass. NFL teams don’t play around with these types of issues. They were about to put a lot a stake in him. Clearly, at least my Raiders thought the kid was innocent. I guess time will tell….

Thanks to all for your contributions.

kritiper's avatar

Kind of hard to lie after telling the truth (they ask you what your name is, then ask you to tell a lie to show that the machine is working.) So I don’t see how the machine can be fooled by any tricks except the one @syz mentioned.
If it was so darn easy to cheat the machine, then they wouldn’t use it at all.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, I think it has some merit, but there are too many variables that can skew the results.

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