Advertisement

Science and the CQT polygraph

A theoretical critique
  • Leonard SaxeEmail author
Symposium: On The Validity Of The Polygraph

Abstract

Despite substantial contrary scientific evidence, polygraph tests to detect deception continue to be employed in the United States. It is argued that polygraph tests (in particular, the Control Question Technique) lack construct validity. Polygraph tests do not assess deceptiveness, but rather are situations designed to elicit and assess fear. Correct decisions may be obtained when subjects fear detection; however, because there is no way to determine the cause of a subject’s fear or anxiety, validation is impossible. The paper also considers other physiological detection paradigms and concludes that because of the nature of honesty their use to detect deception is unlikely.

Keywords

Smoke Alarm Autonomic Arousal Control Question Polygraph Test Guilty Person 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Abrams, S. (1988).A complete handbook of polygraphy. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  2. Abelson, R., Aronson, E., McGuire, W.J., Newcomb, T.M., Rosenberg, M.J., & Tannenbaum, P.H. (Eds.) (1968).Theories of cognitive consistency: a sourcebook. Chicago: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
  3. American Psychological Association (1981).Ethical principles of psychologists. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  4. Arther, R.O. (1986). The polygraph’s enemies: An update.Journal of Polygraph Science, 20, 133–136.Google Scholar
  5. Bailey, F.L., Zuckerman, R.E., & Pierce, K.R. (1989).The employee polygraph protection act: A manual for polygraph examiners and employers. Severna Park, MD: American Polygraph Association.Google Scholar
  6. Barland, G.H. (1988). The polygraph test in the USA and elsewhere. In A. Gale (Ed.),The polygraph test: lies, truth and science (pp. 73–95). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Bok, S. (1979).Lying: Moral choice in public and private life. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  8. Brett, A.S., Phillips, M., & Beary, J.F. (1986). Predictive power of the polygraph: Can the “Lie Detector” really detect liars?The Lancet, 8, 544–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caro, R.A. (1989).The years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of ascent. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  10. Department of Defense. (1984).The accuracy and utility of polygraph testing. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  11. DePaulo, B.M., Stone, J.I., & Lassiter, G.D. (1985). Telling ingratiating lies: Effects of target sex and target attractiveness on verbal and nonverbal deceptive success.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 1191–1203.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Donchin, E. (1987). Can the mind be read in the brain waves? In Frank Farley and Cynthia H. Hull (Eds.),Using psychological science: Making the public case. Washington, DC: The Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences.Google Scholar
  13. Ekman, P. (1985).Telling lies. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  14. Ford, C.V., King, B.H., Hollender, M.H. (1988). Lies and liars: Psychiatric aspects of prevarication.American Journal of Psychiatry, 145, 554–562.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Furedy, J.J. (1985). Incredulous vs. critical police use of the polygraph in criminal investigations.Canadian Journal of Criminology, 27, 491–495.Google Scholar
  16. Furedy, J.J. (1987). Evaluating polygraphy from a psychophysiological perspective: A specific-effects analysis.Pavlovian Journal Biological Science, 22, 145–152.Google Scholar
  17. Furedy, J.J. (1989). The North American CQT polygraph and the legal profession: A case of Canadian credulity and a cause for cultural concern.Criminal Law Quarterly, 31, 431–451.Google Scholar
  18. Furedy, J.J. & Heslegrave, R.J. (1988). Validity of the lie detector. A psychophysiological perspective.Criminal Justice and Behavior, 15, 219–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Furedy, J.J. & Helsegrave, R.J. (1988) (in press). The forensic use of the polygraph: A psychophysiological analysis of current trends and future prospects. In P.K. Ackles, J.R. Jennings, & M.G.H. Coles (Eds.),Advances in Psychophysiology, Volume 4. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.Google Scholar
  20. Goldberg, A. (1973). On telling the truth. In S.C. Feinstein and P.O. Giovacchini (Eds.),Adolescent psychiatry: Developmental and clinical studies, Vol. II. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  21. Greene, A.S., & Saxe, L. (1990).Tall tales told to teachers. Unpublished manuscript. Brandeis University.Google Scholar
  22. Greenwald, A. (1975). Consequences of prejudice against the null hypothesis.Psychological Bulletin, 82, 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hartshorne, H. & May, M.A. (1928).Studies in the nature of character: Book I General methods and results. New York: The Macmillan Company.Google Scholar
  24. Jones, E.E. & Sigall, H. (1971). The bogus pipeline: A new paradigm for measuring affect and attitude.Psychological Bulletin, 76, 349–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kuhn, T. (1970).The structure of scientific revolutions (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  26. Lykken, D.T. (1979). The detection of deception.Psychological Bulletin, 86, 47–53.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lykken, D.T. (1981).A tremor in the blood: Uses and abuses of the lie detector. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  28. Lykken, D.T. (1984). Polygraphic interrogation.Nature, 307, 681–684.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lykken, D.T. (1988). The case against polygraph testing. In A. Gale (Ed.),The polygraph test: lies, truth and science (pp. 111–125). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  30. Marston, W.M., (1917). Systolic blood pressure symptoms of deception.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2, 117–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Marston, W.M., (1935, April). Can you beat the lie detector?Esquire, 40, 174–177.Google Scholar
  32. O’Bannon, R.M., Goldinger, L., & Appleby, G.S. (1989).Honesty and integrity testing: A practical guide. Atlanta, GA: Applied Information Resources.Google Scholar
  33. Orne, M.T. (1975). Implications of laboratory research for the detection of deception. In N. Ansley (Ed.).Legal admissibility of the polygraph, (pp. 94–119). Springfield, IL: C.C. Thomas.Google Scholar
  34. Raskin, D.C. & Podlesny, J.A. (1979). Truth and deception: A reply to Lykken.Psychological Bulletin, 86, 54–59.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Raskin, D.C., (1982). The scientific basis of polygraph techniques and their uses in the judicial process. In A. Tranbell (Ed.),Reconstructing the past: The role of psychologists in criminal trials. Stockholm: Norstedt and Somers.Google Scholar
  36. Raskin, D.C. (1986). The polygraph in 1986: Scientific, professional and legal issues surrounding application and acceptance of polygraph evidence.Utah Law Review, 29, 29–74.Google Scholar
  37. Raskin, D.C. (1988). Does science support polygraph testing? In A. Gale (Ed.),The Polygraph test: Lies, truth and science (pp. 96–110). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  38. Rose, R. (1977). Disciplined research and undisciplined problems. In C.H. Weiss (Ed.),Using social research in public policy making (pp. 23–35). Lexington; D.C. Heath and Company.Google Scholar
  39. Sackett, P.R., Burris, L.R., & Callahan, C. (1989). Integrity testing for personnel selection: An Update.Personnel Psychology, 42, 491–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Saxe, L. (1983). The perspective of social psychology: Toward a viable model for application. In R.F. Kidd and M.J. Saks (Eds.),Advances in applied social psychology, Volume 2. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  41. Saxe, L. (1985). Liars and lie detection: Umpiring controversy.Transaction/Society, 39–42.Google Scholar
  42. Saxe, L. (1991). Lying: Thoughts of an applied social psychologist.American Psychologist, 46, 409–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Saxe, L. & Cross, T.P. (1987). Lie detectors. In G. Adelman (Ed.).Encyclopedia of neuroscience. Boston: Birkhauser.Google Scholar
  44. Saxe, L., Dougherty, D., & Cross, T.P. (1985). The validity of polygraph tests: Scientific analysis and public policy.American Psychologist, 40, 355–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Saxe, L., Schmitz, M., & Zaichkowsky, L. (1987).Polygraph tests as placebos. (Unpublished manuscript).Google Scholar
  46. Shusterman, G. & Saxe, L. (1990).Deception in romantic relationships. (Unpublished manuscript). Brandeis University.Google Scholar
  47. Thomas, L. (1983). The lie detector. InLate night thoughts on listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony (pp. 127–132). New York: Viking Press.Google Scholar
  48. U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment (1983).Scientific validity of polygraph testing (OTA-TM-H-15). Washington, DC: GPO.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heller SchoolBrandeis UniversityWaltham

Personalised recommendations