I am confident that the majority of us have seen a polygraph test at some point, whether it be in a movie, a talk show episode or in person. In chapter 11 of the Lilienfield text it discusses the polygraph test, or more commonly referred to as the lie detector test. It explains how the test relies on bodily reactions, such as blood pressure, respiration, palm sweating, and overall anxiety, to tell if the victim is lying or not.
Although the largest organization of polygraph examiners in the United States claims the test is 98 percent accurate, it still presents a high rate of false positives. In simpler terms, the test labels innocent people as guilty and therefore cannot be administered in most of the U.S. courts for obvious reasons.
Along with the polygraph test, there are other lie detecting tests that agencies administer, including the guilty knowledge test and the integrity test. These two types of testing are more widely used compared to the polygraph test because they cover for some of the polygraph's short comings, such as its reliance on the pinochhio response. I think that the idea of these lie detector tests are important because they have always seemed to hold a notable amount of power in proving innocence. I also believe that society in general should become more familiar with the tests and how they work to hopefully become further educated about a somewhat critical aspect of the justice system.
In conclusion, I am still wondering about how many innocent people were pronounced guilty because of incorrect conclusions drawn by the polygraph test, or how many guilty people got off unscathed? Are any of the lie detector tests undoubtedly reliable? Should the court systems be allowed to utilize these questionable methods?
Click here to watch a video on the polygraph test.