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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Critic of Polygraph Tests Accused of Teaching People to Lie to Government

When I read this story about a man who teaches people how to pass a polygraph test, I thought of my own multiple experiences with being polygraphed.

Regular readers know that I preach reliable / repeatable science. Polygraph exams are not scientific, they're art forms. They're investigative tools. I remember my last test. Here I am, all 6'7" and 345 lbs, with a blood pressure cuff that doesn't fit so it's down around my wrist, pneumo-tubes that are stretched beyond belief around my very large chest, and squirming in a special chair that I don't fit. I'm thinking, if the apparatus makes me this uncomfortable, and I can't sit comfortablly, how is this reliable or repeatable?

It's a game. It's a trick. The device is not a "lie detector." It just registers your biorhythms. It's the examiner who chooses to quiz you and drill down into certain questions. It's an investigative tool - nothing more.

To me, training someone to pass a polygraph is the same as those books that teach novice Photoshop users to pass the Photoshop ACE exam. It's hard for me to take the government seriously on this. Polygraph exams are tricks, nothing more. They play their games, and the examinee plays his. Fair's fair, I guess.

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