Polygraph Introduction & Application

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A polygraph or lie detector is a device which is considered to hold the unique efficiency to detect lie by measuring and recording several physiological variables (blood pressure, heart rate, skin conductivity, respiration) while a series of questions are being put to the subject (Dawson, 1980).


Polygraph was often used to request for resignation to the dishonest job applicants in those days (Barland, 1978). Later, an important addition in law in 1988 in the US disapproved the firing of employees based on polygraph results. However, several US government agencies practice the applicability of polygraph in the detection of lie (American Polygraph Association, 1983a; 1983b; American Psychological Association, 1974; 1983). Amongst several government sectors, the police investigators of US also hold the practice of polygraph applicability. The US Supreme Court has left it to the decision of individual jurisdictions whether or not the inclusion of polygraph test should take place in the court cases. On the other hand, in European jurisdictions, the application of polygraph is considered as an unreliable and invalid means of approaching the truth.
The procedure for the application of polygraph instrument for lie detection has its beginning with a pre-test interview designed to establish a connection between the tester and the testee. The information gained by this step is called "Control Questions." We might say that just as in a good research design of an experiment a control group exists so in the practical application of polygraph the first step can be considered as the control step. ...
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