The Truth About Lying

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What is the best way to decide whether someone is lying or telling the truth? Some people believe that looking at verbal and non-verbal cues will give a lie away, but others think that lie detector tests like the Polygraph is most effective. Before reading about this topic in the textbook, my initial belief was that lie detectors like the Polygraph were almost 100% accurate and that they were used widely across the country in important criminal cases. Surprisingly to me, I found out that the Polygraph test is very beatable and that it doesn't even yield very good results much of the time. It often accuses innocent people of being guilty, and also lets guilty people get away with being "innocent". This is an interesting video about beating the test.
Something else very surprising to me was that the textbook described ways that the lie detector can be beat. I didn't know there was public knowledge available about how to beat the test, such as biting your tongue or clenching your fists during control questions, or solving tough math problems in your head while the question is being asked (counting back from 500 by 12's). I was also surprised that police officers are not as good at detecting lies as they think they are, given some exceptions of CIA officers. In general, police officers are just as good at detecting lies as we are, which is not much better than a 50-50 shot. Although they claim they can detect a lie by looking at non-verbal cues such as your eye movement or fidgeting, they fail to recognize that these cues could be the result of being placed on the spot, or being accused of lying. In fact, tests show that verbal cues are more effective at lie detecting than non-verbal cues, so beware when the cops are trying to manipulate you and tell you that you are lying because they could be wrong themselves!

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This page contains a single entry by lage0095 published on April 2, 2012 8:57 PM.

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