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Lecture 15

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University of Toronto St. George
John Bassili

Lecture 15 notes Are Polygraph Tests Accurate? - Polygraph operators claim an accuracy rate of around 90% - David Lykken demonstrates that there is no basis for this claim - Laboratory studies tend to find that lie detection based on polygraph data is 70% to 85% accurate - Operators claim that laboratory results cannot be generalized to real situations. In the lab, people are not in jeopardy so they do not feel strong anxiety about being found out - Beating the test o Suppressing emotionality is very difficult o The best way to fool polygraph operators is to react emotionally to control questions by, for example, strongly contracting one’s toes o Although polygraph operators claim that this is easily detected, in fact it can only be detected if it is done in a very clumsy way Natural cues to Lying - The cues people use to decide if someone is lying or telling the truth have been studied in natural settings such as in airport customs inspections - People tend to agree on the cues they consider to be sig
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