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Do Lie Detectors Accurately Test Truthful Statements - Term Paper Example

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The author argues that in spite of the wide use of polygraphs by criminal investigation authorities in many countries, there is little evidence to support their accuracy and effectiveness in detecting lies, therefore, they should not be relied on as evidence in court rulings…
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Do Lie Detectors Accurately Test Truthful Statements
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Download file to see previous pages Polygraphs work by measuring physiological factors such as blood pressure, skin conductivity, respiration, and pulse the results of which can be used to determine whether or not a person is telling the truth or lying (Rosky, 2012). In other words, polygraphs are a combination of medical equipment that is used to detect deceptive behavior by measuring their psychological reactions. Basically, they assess three indicators; skin conductivity, respiration, and blood pressure or heart rate (Lewis & Cuppari, 2009). In as much as they are referred to as lie detectors, polygraphs do not detect lies. Rather, they detect deceptive behavior.

During use, the individual who is to be subjected to the polygraph test goes through a pre-test phase at which point they are informed about the technique and every test question is reviewed (Lewis & Cuppari, 2009). This phase is basically aimed at raising the subject’s concern about eliciting deceptive responses. This phase may be succeeded by a stimulation test which serves to demonstrate to the subject how accurate the instrument is. The subject is then subjected to the real test.

As previously noted, some of the countries in which polygraphs are used as a forensic tool for investigation include America, Canada, Europe, Israel, and India. In the United States of America, only 19 out of the 50 states admit polygraph testimony as evidence in court. The devices are extensively used in the country especially when investigating cases relating to sexual offenses and in supervising people who have been convicted of different crimes (Lykken, 1998). To this extent defense lawyers, prosecutors, and the police commonly rely on polygraphs in their investigations. In as much as they are extensively used in the country by law enforcement authorities, witnesses and accused persons in the U.S. may not be forced to take a polygraph test. However, even so, their use as evidence has to be approved by a federal court judge. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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