Uses and Abuses of the Polygraph

  • David T. Lykken


The circumstances that led to my becoming an authority on the lie detector were adventitious, to say the least. During the summer of 1958, I was made responsible for the supervision and employment of two freshman medical students who had been awarded summer fellowships. Medical students, in my experience, tend to be very energetic and generally competent. My two summer fellows presented me with an unusual problem. They tore into the work with which I had planned to keep them busy for 3 months and finished in the space of a few weeks. In some desperation, I set them to building a fence around my back garden while I studied the matter. The fence, a week’s work for two ordinary persons, was completed in a day and a half but by then I had contrived their next assignment.


Control Question Criminal Suspect Bank Teller Innocent Suspect Polygraph Test 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • David T. Lykken
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychiatry Research Unit, College of Medical SciencesUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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