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While reading the section in the book about lying and lie detection, there were various things that caught my attention. One thing that really surprised me was the statistics about how often people detect lies. Despite confidence and other factors, people actually only have a 55 percent chance of being correct when detecting lies. This was really surprising to me because I feel like I am better at detecting lies than only half of the time. Granted, most of the time, I cannot prove that someone is or is not lying to me, so I would never actually know if I am good at it.
Another concept that was really surprising to me was that the polygraph test is not as reliable as once thought. The reason behind this is that it relies on the Pinocchio response, which states that people's body's react when they lie and it also measures emotional arousal. I know from personal experience that I am a terrible liar and that people can probably tell from my body language, but according to the textbook, measuring the Pinocchio response, along with others, yield a high rate of false positives with the polygraph test. In addition, the main problem with polygraph tests is that they confuse arousal with signs of guilt. When I was little, we were taught to fear the polygraph test because people believed that it would reveal when someone was lying all of the time.
All in all, typical lie-detecting methods tend to be unreliable, but we rely on them anyway probably as a source of comfort more than anything.


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It is interesting how much hype and respect we have for the polygraph test, but I think a lot of that has to do with how often we see it used in movies and television. I think movies and television hand us these ideas on how the world is, and until we are confronted with situations where we learn otherwise, we unknowingly take on false perceptions of the things of the world we don't experience.

Polygraphs are also used to screen federal employees, and a false-positive result can have career-ending consequences. A U of M professor actually testified to congress arguing that this practice should stop.

I find it very interesting that the Polygraph is so unreliable. Being that it is always thought to be the best lie detecting device, but it turns out there is really no good way to tell if someone is lying or not without real evidence against them.

I also found that people can only detect lies 55% of the time. I thought that it would be somewhere around 75% instead. From the reading and the blogs, it seems that we need to fine another way to determine lies other than the polygraph test.

When it comes to detecting lies, I used to think I was good till I read that section of the book as well. I think people think others are lying more than they actually are because as humans we see negatives and think about negatives more than positives. Therefore its more common for us to think people are lying even when they really aren't.

I find it amazing that we can go through times like you talked about, how everyone thinks something is foolproof when we really don't know all we should about it. Now that people are realizing that the polygraph test is unreliable people are getting angry and defensive, there's even an anti-polygraph website that calls the polygraph a "modern torture device".
I personally wouldn't go to that extent but there are clearly people who are distraught about this gadget.

Actually, I'm not surprised at all that people can tell what lies are only 55% of the time. I think people overestimate their abilities in reading other people's body language and their words when determining if what they say is truthful. I'm not too surprised about the accuracy of polygraph tests either. I don't think they are valid because they measure the levels of arousal instead of the levels of guilt.

Polygraph tests also have reliability problems in the fact that they rely on accurate "control" question results. If a person's responses to the control question are misinterpreted that messes up the entire test.

It is weird to think that we pretty much have the same odds of guessing if someone is lying or not. It would help so much to know when someone is lying in our every day life, and with our justice system.

I think that detecting 55% of lies is actually pretty good. Considering how much people lie, all of the time, 55% is a considerably large amount. I think a lot of people catch people lying but don't always state that they have. Polygraph tests being unreliable is something that I grew up learning when watching dating shows, such as the bachelor. Whenever someone lied, it was depicted on the lie detector, but it wasn't always 100% correct. Still, very interesting.

I think that it is absolutely ridiculous that the polygraph is still in use despite providing a great number of false positives. This is unacceptable and we, being in the 21st, century really need to develop something more reliable to detect lies.

I find it somewhat concerning about how polygraph tests are so often considered to be fact, when, as your blog points out, there are many inconsistencies with them. Hopefully people will start realizing that they are not such a great machine as they think that they are and the machines won't be used very often.

I was also very interested when I read about the polygraph tests and how it just detects arousal. Personally, I get agitated and nervous even when being accused of lying, so I feel like I would fail the polygraph test even if I was being truthful, just like the book says happens to a lot of people.

This is a topic that im suprised hasn't been studied more rigorously than it has because all humans lie and it would be interesting to find out what motivates our brain to make us do it.

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This page contains a single entry by shaff133 published on April 16, 2012 9:11 PM.

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