It is said that the average male lies six times a day and the average female lies three times per day- with the most common lie being "I'm fine." How are we supposed to know when someone is lying to us? Television shows such as Maury rely on polygraph tests to see if Mary really cheated on John with his brother, Joe. In a popular movie from 2000, Meet the Parents, Jack Byrnes administers a lie detector test to his daughter's boyfriend, Gaylord Focker (Ben Stiller). Gaylord comments on the inaccuracy of polygraph tests and Jack Byrnes quickly responds, "Well you'd be surprised how accurate the really are. They can tell fairly easily whether someone is lying or not." However, this is not the case. Polygraph tests have high rates of false positives due to the confusion of arousal with guilt. It is believed that the false positive rate is well above 40%- causing the US court to deny the use of lie detector tests as evidence (Psychology 419). With such high rates of inaccuracy why do you think people still use the polygraph test?
Lie detector scene in Meet the Parents: