A polygraph, popularly referred to as a lie detector test, is a device or procedure that measures and records several physiological indicators such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and skin conductivity while a person is asked and answers a series of questions. The belief underpinning the use of the polygraph is that deceptive answers will produce physiological responses that can be differentiated from those associated with non-deceptive answers. There are, however, no specific physiological reactions associated with lying, making it difficult to identify factors that separate those who are lying from those who are telling the truth. Polygraph examiners also prefer to use their own individual scoring method, as opposed to computerized techniques, as they may more easily defend their own evaluations.
In some countries, polygraphs are used as an interrogation tool with criminal suspects or candidates for sensitive public or private sector employment. US law enforcement and federal government agencies such as the FBI, NSA and the CIA and many police departments such as the LAPD and the Virginia State Police use polygraph examinations to interrogate suspects and screen new employees. Within the US federal government, a polygraph examination is also referred to as a psychophysiological detection of deception (PDD) examination. The average cost to administer the test in the United States is more than $700 and is part of a $2 billion industry.
However, assessments of polygraphy by scientific and government bodies generally suggest that polygraphs are highly inaccurate, may easily be defeated by countermeasures, and are an imperfect or invalid means of assessing truthfulness. A comprehensive 2003 review by the National Academy of Sciences of existing research concluded that there was "little basis for the expectation that a polygraph test could have extremely high accuracy." The American Psychological Association states "Most psychologists agree that there is little evidence that polygraph tests can accurately detect lies."
The control question test, also known as the probable lie test, was developed to overcome or mitigate the problems with the relevant-irrelevant testing method. Although the relevant questions in the probable lie test are used to obtain a reaction from people who are lying, the physiological reactions that "distinguish" lies may also occur in innocent individuals who fear a false detection or feel passionately that they did not commit the crime. Therefore, although a physiological reaction may be occurring, the reasoning behind the response may be different. Further examination of the probable lie test has indicated that it is biased against innocent subjects. Those who are unable to think of a lie related to the relevant question will automatically fail the test.
The examiner typically begins polygraph test sessions with a pre-test interview to gain some preliminary information which will later be used to develop diagnostic questions. Then the tester will explain how the polygraph is supposed to work, emphasizing that it can detect lies and that it is important to answer truthfully. Then a "stim test" is often conducted: the subject is asked to deliberately lie and then the tester reports that he was able to detect this lie. Guilty subjects are likely to become more anxious when they are reminded of the test's validity. However, there are risks of innocent subjects being equally or more anxious than the guilty. Then the actual test starts. Some of the questions asked are "irrelevant" ("Is your name Fred?"), others are "diagnostic" questions, and the remainder are the "relevant questions" that the tester is really interested in. The different types of questions alternate. The test is passed if the physiological responses to the diagnostic questions are larger than those during the relevant questions.
Criticisms have been given regarding the validity of the administration of the Control Question Technique. The CQT may be vulnerable to being conducted in an interrogation-like fashion. This kind of interrogation style would elicit a nervous response from innocent and guilty suspects alike. There are several other ways of administering the questions.
An alternative is the Guilty Knowledge Test (GKT), or the Concealed Information Test, which is used in Japan. The administration of this test is given to prevent potential errors that may arise from the questioning style. The test is usually conducted by a tester with no knowledge of the crime or circumstances in question. The administrator tests the participant on their knowledge of the crime that would not be known to an innocent person. For example: "Was the crime committed with a .45 or a 9 mm?" The questions are in multiple choice and the participant is rated on how they react to the correct answer. If they react strongly to the guilty information, then proponents of the test believe that it is likely that they know facts relevant to the case. This administration is considered more valid by supporters of the test because it contains many safeguards to avoid the risk of the administrator influencing the results.
Although there is some debate in the scientific community regarding the efficacy of polygraphs, assessments of polygraphy by scientific and government bodies generally suggest that polygraphs are inaccurate, may be defeated by countermeasures, and are an imperfect or invalid means of assessing truthfulness. Despite claims of 90% validity by polygraph advocates, the National Research Council has found no evidence of effectiveness. In particular, studies have indicated that the relevant–irrelevant questioning technique is not ideal, as many innocent subjects exert a heightened physiological reaction to the crime-relevant questions. The American Psychological Association states "Most psychologists agree that there is little evidence that polygraph tests can accurately detect lies."
In 2002, a review by the National Research Council found that, in populations "untrained in countermeasures, specific-incident polygraph tests can discriminate lying from truth telling at rates well above chance, though well below perfection". The review also warns against generalization from these findings to justify the use of polygraphs—"polygraph accuracy for screening purposes is almost certainly lower than what can be achieved by specific-incident polygraph tests in the field"—and notes some examinees may be able to take countermeasures to produce deceptive results.
In the 1998 US Supreme Court case United States v. Scheffer, the majority stated that "There is simply no consensus that polygraph evidence is reliable" and "Unlike other expert witnesses who testify about factual matters outside the jurors' knowledge, such as the analysis of fingerprints, ballistics, or DNA found at a crime scene, a polygraph expert can supply the jury only with another opinion." The Supreme Court summarized their findings by stating that the use of polygraph was "little better than could be obtained by the toss of a coin." In 2005, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals stated that "polygraphy did not enjoy general acceptance from the scientific community". In 2001, William Iacono, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota, concluded that:
Although the CQT [Control Question Test] may be useful as an investigative aid and tool to induce confessions, it does not pass muster as a scientifically credible test. CQT theory is based on naive, implausible assumptions indicating (a) that it is biased against innocent individuals and (b) that it can be beaten simply by artificially augmenting responses to control questions. Although it is not possible to adequately assess the error rate of the CQT, both of these conclusions are supported by published research findings in the best social science journals (Honts et al., 1994; Horvath, 1977; Kleinmuntz & Szucko, 1984; Patrick & Iacono, 1991). Although defense attorneys often attempt to have the results of friendly CQTs admitted as evidence in court, there is no evidence supporting their validity and ample reason to doubt it. Members of scientific organizations who have the requisite background to evaluate the CQT are overwhelmingly skeptical of the claims made by polygraph proponents.
Polygraphs measure arousal, which can be affected by anxiety, anxiety disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), nervousness, fear, confusion, hypoglycemia, psychosis, depression, substance induced states (nicotine, stimulants), substance withdrawal state (alcohol withdrawal) or other emotions; polygraphs do not measure "lies". A polygraph cannot differentiate anxiety caused by dishonesty and anxiety caused by something else.
US Congress Office of Technology Assessment
In 1983, the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment published a review of the technology and found that
there is at present only limited scientific evidence for establishing the validity of polygraph testing. Even where the evidence seems to indicate that polygraph testing detects deceptive subjects better than chance, significant error rates are possible, and examiner and examinee differences and the use of countermeasures may further affect validity.
National Academy of Sciences
In 2003, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a report entitled "The Polygraph and Lie Detection". The NAS found that "overall, the evidence is scanty and scientifically weak," concluding that 57 of the approximately 80 research studies that the American Polygraph Association relied on to reach their conclusions were significantly flawed. These studies did show that specific-incident polygraph testing, in a person untrained in counter-measures, could discern the truth at "a level greater than chance, yet short of perfection". However, due to several flaws, the levels of accuracy shown in these studies "are almost certainly higher than actual polygraph accuracy of specific-incident testing in the field".
When polygraphs are used as a screening tool (in national security matters and for law enforcement agencies for example) the level of accuracy drops to such a level that "Its accuracy in distinguishing actual or potential security violators from innocent test takers is insufficient to justify reliance on its use in employee security screening in federal agencies." The NAS concluded that the polygraph "may have some utility" but that there is "little basis for the expectation that a polygraph test could have extremely high accuracy".
The NAS conclusions paralleled those of the earlier United States Congress Office of Technology Assessment report "Scientific Validity of Polygraph Testing: A Research Review and Evaluation". Similarly, a report to Congress by the Moynihan Commission on Government Secrecy concluded that "The few Government-sponsored scientific research reports on polygraph validity (as opposed to its utility), especially those focusing on the screening of applicants for employment, indicate that the polygraph is neither scientifically valid nor especially effective beyond its ability to generate admissions".
Despite the NAS finding of a "high rate of false positives," failures to expose individuals such as Aldrich Ames and Larry Wu-Tai Chin, and other inabilities to show a scientific justification for the use of the polygraph, it continues to be employed.
Several proposed countermeasures designed to pass polygraph tests have been described. There are two major types of countermeasures: General State (intending to alter the physiological or psychological state of the examinee for the length of the test), and Specific Point (intending to alter the physiological or psychological state of the examinee at specific periods during the examination, either to increase or decrease responses during critical examination periods).
- General State: asked how he passed the polygraph test, Central Intelligence Agency officer turned KGB mole Aldrich Ames explained that he sought advice from his Soviet handler and received the simple instruction to: "Get a good night's sleep, and rest, and go into the test rested and relaxed. Be nice to the polygraph examiner, develop a rapport, and be cooperative and try to maintain your calm". Additionally, Ames explained, "There's no special magic... Confidence is what does it. Confidence and a friendly relationship with the examiner... rapport, where you smile and you make him think that you like him".
- Specific Point: other suggestions for countermeasures include for the subject to mentally record the control and relevant questions as the examiner reviews them before the interrogation begins. During the interrogation the subject is supposed to carefully control their breathing while answering the relevant questions, and to try to artificially increase their heart rate during the control questions, for example by thinking of something scary or exciting, or by pricking themselves with a pointed object concealed somewhere on their body. In this way the results will not show a significant reaction to any of the relevant questions.
Law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies in the United States are by far the biggest users of polygraph technology. In the United States alone most federal law enforcement agencies either employ their own polygraph examiners or use the services of examiners employed in other agencies. In 1978 Richard Helms, the eighth Director of Central Intelligence, stated that:
We discovered there were some Eastern Europeans who could defeat the polygraph at any time. Americans are not very good at it, because we are raised to tell the truth and when we lie it is easy to tell we are lying. But we find a lot of Europeans and Asiatics can handle that polygraph without a blip, and you know they are lying and you have evidence that they are lying.
In Canada, the 1987 decision of R v Béland, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the use of polygraph results as evidence in court, finding that they were inadmissible. The polygraph is still used as a tool in the investigation of criminal acts and sometimes employed in the screening of employees for government organizations.
In the province of Ontario, the use of polygraphs is not permitted by an employer. A police force does have the authorization to use a polygraph in the course of the investigation of an offence.
In 2018, Wired magazine reported that an estimated 2.5 million polygraph tests given each year in the United States, with the majority administered to paramedics, police officers, firefighters, and state troopers. The average cost to administer the test is more than $700 and is part of a $2 billion industry.
In 2007[update], polygraph testimony was admitted by stipulation in 19 states, and was subject to the discretion of the trial judge in federal court. The use of polygraph in court testimony remains controversial, although it is used extensively in post-conviction supervision, particularly of sex offenders. In Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (1993), the old Frye standard was lifted and all forensic evidence, including polygraph, had to meet the new Daubert standard in which "underlying reasoning or methodology is scientifically valid and properly can be applied to the facts at issue." While polygraph tests are commonly used in police investigations in the US, no defendant or witness can be forced to undergo the test unless they are under the supervision of the courts. In United States v. Scheffer (1998), the US Supreme Court left it up to individual jurisdictions whether polygraph results could be admitted as evidence in court cases. Nevertheless, it is used extensively by prosecutors, defense attorneys, and law enforcement agencies. In the states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Delaware and Iowa it is illegal for any employer to order a polygraph either as conditions to gain employment, or if an employee has been suspected of wrongdoing. The Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 (EPPA) generally prevents employers from using lie detector tests, either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment, with certain exemptions. As of 2013, about 70,000 job applicants are polygraphed by the federal government on an annual basis. In the United States, the State of New Mexico admits polygraph testing in front of juries under certain circumstances. In many other states, polygraph examiners are permitted to testify in front of judges in various types of hearings (Motion to Revoke Probation, Motion to Adjudicate Guilt).
In 2010 the NSA produced a video explaining its polygraph process. The video, ten minutes long, is titled "The Truth About the Polygraph" and was posted to the website of the Defense Security Service. Jeff Stein of The Washington Post said that the video portrays "various applicants, or actors playing them—it’s not clear—describing everything bad they had heard about the test, the implication being that none of it is true." AntiPolygraph.org argues that the NSA-produced video omits some information about the polygraph process; it produced a video responding to the NSA video. George Maschke, the founder of the website, accused the NSA polygraph video of being "Orwellian".
The polygraph was invented in 1921 by John Augustus Larson, a medical student at the University of California, Berkeley and a police officer of the Berkeley Police Department in Berkeley, California. The polygraph was on the Encyclopædia Britannica 2003 list of greatest inventions, described as inventions that "have had profound effects on human life for better or worse." In 2013, the US federal government had begun indicting individuals who stated that they were teaching methods on how to defeat a polygraph test. During one of those investigations, upwards of 30 federal agencies were involved in investigations of almost 5000 people who had various degrees of contact with those being prosecuted or who had purchased books or DVDs on the topic of beating polygraph tests.
In 2008, an Indian court adopted the Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature Profiling test as evidence to convict a woman who was accused of murdering her fiancé. It was the first time that the result of polygraph was used as evidence in court. On May 5, 2010, The Supreme Court of India declared use of narcoanalysis, brain mapping and polygraph tests on suspects as illegal and against the constitution if consent is not obtained and forced. Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution states: "No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself." Polygraph tests are still legal if the defendant requests one.
The Supreme Court of Israel, in Civil Appeal 551/89 (Menora Insurance v. Jacob Sdovnik), ruled that the polygraph has not been recognized as a reliable device. In other decisions, polygraph results were ruled inadmissible in criminal trials. Polygraph results are only admissible in civil trials if the person being tested agrees to it in advance.
In private discipline, some insurance companies attempt to include a clause in insurance contracts, in which the beneficiary agrees that polygraph results be admissible as evidence. In such cases, where the beneficiary has willingly agreed to such a clause, signed the contract, and taken the test, the courts will honor the contract, and take the polygraph results into consideration. However, it is common practice for lawyers to advise people who signed such contracts to refuse to take the test. Depending on whether or not the beneficiary signed an agreements clause, and whether the test was already taken or not, such a refusal usually has no ill effects; at worst, the court will simply order the person to take the test as agreed. At best, the court will cancel the clause and release the person from taking the test, or rule the evidence inadmissible.
In most European jurisdictions, practice varies by country but polygraphs are generally not considered reliable evidence and are not generally used by law enforcement. Polygraph testing is widely seen in Europe to violate the right to remain silent.: 62ff
In England and Wales a polygraph test can be taken but the results cannot be used in the courts to prove a case. However the Offender Management Act 2007 put in place an option to use polygraph tests to monitor serious sex offenders on parole in England and Wales with those tests becoming compulsory in 2014 for high risk sexual offenders on parole in England and Wales.
The Supreme Court of Poland declared on January 29th, 2015, that the use of polygraph in interrogation of suspects is forbidden by the Polish Code of Criminal Procedure. Its use might be allowed though if the suspect has been already accused of a crime and if the interrogated person consents of the use of a polygraph. Even then, the use of polygraph can never be used as a substitute of actual evidence.
As of 2017 Belgium was the European country with the most prevalent use of polygraph testing by police, with about 300 polygraphs carried out each year in the course of police investigations. The results are not considered viable evidence in bench trials, but have been used in jury trials.: 62ff The polygraph was used in Lithuania for the first time in 1992. From the 2004 surveys on the use of the Event Knowledge Test (new version of the Concealed Information Test) for criminal investigation.
The High Court of Australia has not yet considered the admissibility of polygraph evidence. However, the New South Wales District Court rejected the use of the device in a criminal trial. In Raymond George Murray 1982 7A Crim R48, Sinclair DCJ refused to admit polygraph evidence tending to support the defense. The judge rejected the evidence because
- The veracity of the accused and the weight to be given to his evidence, and other witnesses called in the trial, was a matter for the jury.
- The polygraph "expert" sought to express an opinion as to ultimate facts at issue, which is peculiarly the province of the jury.
- The test purported to be expert evidence by the witness who was not qualified as an expert; he was merely an operator and assessor of a polygraph. The scientific premise upon which his assessment was based had not been proved in any court in Australia.
- Devoid of any proved or accepted scientific basis, the evidence of the operator is hearsay which is inadmissible.
The Court cited, with approval, the Canadian case of Phillion v R 1978 1SCR 18.
Lie detector evidence is currently inadmissible in New South Wales courts under the Lie Detectors Act 1983. Under the same act, it is also illegal to use lie detectors for the purpose of granting employment, insurance, financial accommodation, and several other purposes for which lie detectors may be used in other jurisdictions.
A security clearance in the United States may not be revoked based solely on polygraph results. However, a person's access to sensitive information may be denied if the polygraph results are not favorable. In addition, persons being considered for a government position or job may be denied the employment, if the position specifically requires successful completion of a polygraph examination. It is difficult to precisely determine the effectiveness of polygraph results for the detection or deterrence of spying. It is inadmissible as evidence in most federal courts and military courts martial. The polygraph is more often used as a deterrent to espionage rather than detection.
One exception to this was the case of Harold James Nicholson, a CIA employee later convicted of spying for Russia. In 1995, Nicholson had undergone his periodic five-year reinvestigation where he showed a strong probability of deception on questions regarding relationships with a foreign intelligence unit. This polygraph test later launched an investigation which resulted in his eventual arrest and conviction. In most cases, however, polygraphs are more of a tool to "scare straight" those who would consider espionage. Jonathan Pollard was advised by his Israeli handlers that he was to resign his job from American intelligence if he was ever told he was subject to a polygraph test. Likewise, John Anthony Walker was advised by his handlers not to engage in espionage until he had been promoted to the highest position for which a polygraph test was not required, to refuse promotion to higher positions for which polygraph tests were required, and to retire when promotion was mandated. As part of his plea bargain agreement for his case of espionage for the Soviet Union, Robert Hanssen would be made to undergo a polygraph at any time as a means of damage assessment. In Hanssen's 25-year career with the FBI, not once was he made to undergo a polygraph. Hanssen later admitted that had he been subject to a polygraph or received news of such during his tenure with the FBI, it would have discouraged him from espionage.
In 1983, CIA employee Edward Lee Howard was dismissed when, during a polygraph screening, he truthfully answered a series of questions admitting to minor crimes such as petty theft and drug abuse. In retaliation for his perceived unjust punishment for minor offenses, he later sold his knowledge of CIA operations to the Soviet Union.
It is also worth noting that polygraph tests may not deter espionage. From 1945 to the present, at least six Americans have committed espionage while successfully passing polygraph tests. Notable cases of two men who created a false negative result with the polygraphs were Larry Wu-Tai Chin, who spied for China, and Aldrich Ames, who was given two polygraph examinations while with the CIA, the first in 1986 and the second in 1991, while spying for the Soviet Union/Russia. The CIA reported that he passed both examinations after experiencing initial indications of deception. According to a Senate investigation, an FBI review of the first examination concluded that the indications of deception were never resolved. The Senate committee reported that the second examination, at a time when Ames was under suspicion, resulted in indications of deception and a retest a few days later with a different examiner. The second examiner concluded that there were no further indications of deception. In the CIA's analysis of the second exam, they were critical of their failure to convey to the second examiner the existing suspicions.
Despite these errors, in August 2008, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) announced that it would subject each of its 5,700 prospective and current employees to polygraph testing at least once annually. This expansion of polygraph screening at DIA occurred while DIA polygraph managers ignored documented technical problems discovered in the Lafayette computerized polygraph system. The DIA uses computerized Lafayette polygraph systems for routine counterintelligence testing. The impact of the technical flaws within the Lafayette system on the analysis of recorded physiology and on the final polygraph test evaluation is currently unknown.
In 2012, a McClatchy investigation found that the National Reconnaissance Office was possibly breaching ethical and legal boundaries by encouraging its polygraph examiners to extract personal and private information from US Department of Defense personnel during polygraph tests that purported to be limited in scope to counterintelligence matters. Allegations of abusive polygraph practices were brought forward by former NRO polygraph examiners.
Most polygraph researchers have focused more on the exam's predictive value on a subject's guilt. However, there have been no empirical theories established to explain how a polygraph measures deception. Recent research indicates that Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) may benefit in explaining the psychological correlations of polygraph exams. It could also explain which parts of the brain are active when subjects use artificial memories.[clarification needed] Most brain activity occurs in both sides of the prefrontal cortex, which is linked to response inhibition. This indicates that deception may involve inhibition of truthful responses. Recalling artificial memories[clarification needed] are known to activate the posterior cingulate cortex. However, fMRIs are limited by being expensive, immobile, and having inconsistent lying responses. Some researchers believe that reaction time (RT) based tests may replace polygraphs in concealed information detection. RT based tests differ from polygraphs in stimulus presentation duration, and can be conducted without physiological recording as subject response time is measured via computer. However, researchers have found limitations to these tests as subjects voluntarily control their reaction time, deception can still occur within the response deadline, and the test itself lacks physiological recording.
Earlier societies utilized elaborate methods of lie detection which mainly involved torture; for instance, the Middle Ages used boiling water to detect liars as it was believed honest men would withstand it better than liars. Early devices for lie detection include an 1895 invention of Cesare Lombroso used to measure changes in blood pressure for police cases, a 1904 device by Vittorio Benussi used to measure breathing, the Mackenzie-Lewis Polygraph first developed by James Mackenzie (cardiologist) in 1906 and an abandoned project by American William Moulton Marston which used blood pressure to examine German prisoners of war (POWs). Marston's machine indicated a strong positive correlation between systolic blood pressure and lying.
Marston wrote a second paper on the concept in 1915, when finishing his undergraduate studies. He entered Harvard Law School and graduated in 1918, re-publishing his earlier work in 1917. Marston's main inspiration for the device was his wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston. "According to Marston’s son, it was his mother Elizabeth, Marston’s wife, who suggested to him that 'When she got mad or excited, her blood pressure seemed to climb'" (Lamb, 2001). Although Elizabeth is not listed as Marston’s collaborator in his early work, Lamb, Matte (1996), and others refer directly and indirectly to Elizabeth's work on her husband's deception research. She also appears in a picture taken in his polygraph laboratory in the 1920s (reproduced in Marston, 1938).
Despite his predecessors' contributions, Marston styled himself the "father of the polygraph". (Today he is often equally or more noted as the creator of the comic book character Wonder Woman.) Marston remained the device's primary advocate, lobbying for its use in the courts. In 1938 he published a book, The Lie Detector Test, wherein he documented the theory and use of the device. In 1938 he appeared in advertising by the Gillette company claiming that the polygraph showed Gillette razors were better than the competition.
A device recording both blood pressure and breathing was invented in 1921 by John Augustus Larson of the University of California and first applied in law enforcement work by the Berkeley Police Department under its nationally renowned police chief August Vollmer. Further work on this device was done by Leonarde Keeler. As Larson's protege, Keeler updated the device by making it portable and added the galvanic skin response to it in 1939. His device was then purchased by the FBI, and served as the prototype of the modern polygraph.
Several devices similar to Keeler's polygraph version included the Berkeley Psychograph, a blood pressure-pulse-respiration recorder developed by C. D. Lee in 1936 and the Darrow Behavior Research Photopolygraph, which was developed and intended solely for behavior research experiments.
A device which recorded muscular activity accompanying changes in blood pressure was developed in 1945 by John E. Reid, who claimed that greater accuracy could be obtained by making these recordings simultaneously with standard blood pressure-pulse-respiration recordings.
Society and culture
Portrayal on television
Lie detection has a long history in mythology and fairy tales; the polygraph has allowed modern fiction to use a device more easily seen as scientific and plausible. Notable instances of polygraph usage include uses in crime and espionage themed television shows and some daytime television talk shows, cartoons and films. Numerous TV shows have been called Lie Detector or featured the device. The first Lie Detector TV show aired in the 1950s, created and hosted by Ralph Andrews. In the 1960s Andrews produced a series of specials hosted by Melvin Belli. In the 1970s the show was hosted by Jack Anderson. In early 1983 Columbia Pictures Television put on a syndicated series hosted by F. Lee Bailey. In 1998 TV producer Mark Phillips with his Mark Phillips Philms & Telephision put Lie Detector back on the air on the FOX Network—on that program Ed Gelb with host Marcia Clark questioned Mark Fuhrman about the allegation that he "planted the bloody glove". In 2005 Phillips produced Lie Detector as a series for PAX/ION; some of the guests included Paula Jones, Reverend Paul Crouch accuser Lonny Ford, Ben Rowling, Jeff Gannon and Swift Boat Vet, Steve Garner.
In the Fox game show The Moment of Truth, contestants are privately asked personal questions a few days before the show while hooked to a polygraph. On the show they asked the same questions in front of a studio audience and members of their family. In order to advance in the game they must give a "truthful" answer as determined by the previous polygraph exam.
In episode 93 of the US popular science show MythBusters, the hosts attempted to fool the polygraph by using pain to try to increase the readings when answering truthfully (so the machine will supposedly interpret the truthful and non-truthful answers as the same). They also attempted to fool the polygraph by thinking happy thoughts when lying and thinking stressful thoughts when telling the truth to try to confuse the machine. However, neither technique was successful for a number of reasons. Michael Martin correctly identified each guilty and innocent subject. The show also noted the opinion that, when done properly, polygraphs are correct 80–99% of the time, however no evidence of this opinion was presented during the episode.
Hand-held lie detector for US military
A hand-held lie detector is being deployed by the US Department of Defense according to a report in 2008 by investigative reporter Bill Dedman of NBC News. The Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System, or PCASS, captures less physiological information than a polygraph, and uses an algorithm, not the judgment of a polygraph examiner, to render a decision whether it believes the person is being deceptive or not. The device was first used in Afghanistan by US Army troops. The Department of Defense ordered its use be limited to non-US persons, in overseas locations only.
Polygraphy has been faulted for failing to trap known spies such as double-agent Aldrich Ames, who passed two polygraph tests while spying for the Soviet Union. However, Ames did fail several tests while at the CIA that were never acted on. Other spies who passed the polygraph include Karl Koecher, Ana Belen Montes, and Leandro Aragoncillo. However, CIA spy Harold James Nicholson failed his polygraph examinations, which aroused suspicions that led to his eventual arrest. Polygraph examination and background checks failed to detect Nada Nadim Prouty, who was not a spy but was convicted for improperly obtaining US citizenship and using it to obtain a restricted position at the FBI.
The polygraph also failed to catch Gary Ridgway, the "Green River Killer". Another suspect allegedly failed a given lie detector test, whereas Ridgway passed. Ridgway passed a polygraph in 1984; he confessed almost 20 years later when confronted with DNA evidence. In the interim he had killed seven additional women.
Conversely, innocent people have been known to fail polygraph tests. In Wichita, Kansas in 1986, because he failed two polygraph tests (one police administered, the other given by an expert that he had hired), Bill Wegerle had to live under a cloud of suspicion of murdering his wife Vicki Wegerle, although he was neither arrested nor convicted of her death. In March 2004, evidence surfaced connecting her death to the serial killer known as BTK, and in 2005 DNA evidence from the Wegerle murder confirmed that the BTK Killer was Dennis Rader and established Bill Wegerle's innocence.
Prolonged polygraph examinations are sometimes used as a tool by which confessions are extracted from a defendant, as in the case of Richard Miller, who was persuaded to confess largely by polygraph results combined with appeals from a religious leader. In the Watts family murders, Christopher Watts failed a polygraph test and subsequently confessed to murdering his wife.
In the high-profile disappearance of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam of San Diego in 2002, police suspected neighbor David Westerfield; he became the prime suspect when he allegedly failed a polygraph test. He was ultimately tried and convicted of kidnapping and first degree murder.
- Bogus pipeline
- Cleve Backster
- Doug Williams (polygraph critic)
- Ecological fallacy
- Ronald Pelton
- Silent Talker Lie Detector
- Voice stress analysis
- J P Rosenfeld (1995). "Alternative Views of Bashore and Rapp's (1993) alternatives to traditional polygraphy: a critique". Psychological Bulletin. 117: 159–66. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.117.1.159.
- "NSA Careers". Retrieved 11 March 2017.
- "Federal Psychophysiological Detection of Deception Examiner Handbook" (PDF). www.antipolygraph.org. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
- Harris, Mark (2018-10-01). "The Lie Generator: Inside the Black Mirror World of Polygraph Job Screenings". Wired. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
- "Scientific Validity of Polygraph Testing: A Research Review and Evaluation". Washington, DC: U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment. 1983. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
- "Monitor on Psychology – The polygraph in doubt". American Psychological Association. July 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
- Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences and Education (BCSSE) and Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) (2003). The Polygraph and Lie Detection. National Research Council. doi:10.17226/10420. ISBN 978-0-309-26392-4.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) (Chapter 8: Conclusions and Recommendations, p. 212)
- The Polygraph and Lie Detection. National Research Council. 2003. doi:10.17226/10420. ISBN 978-0-309-26392-4.
- "The Truth About Lie Detectors (aka Polygraph Tests)". apa.org. American Psychological Association.
- Iacono, W. G. (2008). "Effective policing: Understanding how polygraph tests work and are used". Criminal Justice and Behavior. 35 (10): 1295–1308. doi:10.1177/0093854808321529. S2CID 143302792.
- Lewis, J. A.; Cuppari, M. (2009). "The polygraph: The truth lies within". Journal of Psychiatry and Law. 37 (1): 85–92. doi:10.1177/009318530903700107. S2CID 152221286.
- The Polygraph and Lie Detection. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 2003. pp. 253–254. doi:10.17226/10420. ISBN 978-0-309-13313-5.
- "Appendix A: Polygraph Questioning Techniques". The Polygraph and Lie Detection. The National Academies Press. 2003. pp. 253–258. doi:10.17226/10420. ISBN 978-0-309-13313-5.
- Don Sosunov (October 14, 2010). "The Admissibility of Polygraph Evidence in Criminal Courts". Cite journal requires
- For more info on the Guilty Knowledge Test, see The Guilty Knowledge Test (GKT) as an Application of Psychophysiology: Future Prospects and Obstacles Archived 2008-05-28 at the Wayback Machine
- "A scanner to detect terrorists". BBC News. July 16, 2009.
- The polygraph and lie detection. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. 2003. pp. 4–5. doi:10.17226/10420. ISBN 978-0-309-08436-9.
- "United States v. Scheffer". March 31, 1998. Cite journal requires
- "United States v. Henderson" (PDF). May 23, 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 27, 2007. Retrieved August 31, 2007. Cite journal requires
- Iacono, William G. (2001). "Forensic 'Lie Detection': Procedures Without Scientific Basis". Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice. 1 (1): 75–86. doi:10.1300/J158v01n01_05. S2CID 143077241.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2014-01-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Eggen, Dan; Vedantam, Shankar (May 1, 2006). "Polygraph Results Often in Question". The Washington Post.
- "Lie Detector Roulette". Mother Jones.
- "Scientific Validity of Polygraph Testing: A Research Review and Evaluation – A Technical Memorandum" (PDF). (Washington, DC: U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment (OTA-TM-H-15). November 1983. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- Dunning, Brian. "Skeptoid #422: Lie Detection". Skeptoid. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- "Conclusions and Recommendations". The Polygraph and Lie Detection (2003), National Academies Press. p. 212
- Office of Technology Assessment (November 1983). "Scientific Validity of Polygraph Testing: A Research Review and Evaluation".
- IV Personnel Security: Protection Through Detection Archived 2011-06-12 at the Wayback Machine quoting Ralph M. Carney, SSBI Source Yield: An Examination of Sources Contacted During the SSBI (Monterey: Defense Personnel Security Research Center, 1996), 6, affirming that in 81% of cases, the derogatory informations were obtained through questionnaire and/or interrogation.
- Randi, James (2017). "A Consistently Erroneous Technology". Skeptical Inquirer. 41 (5): 16–19. Archived from the original on 2018-07-28. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
- Weiner, Tim, David Johnston, and Neil A. Lewis, Betrayal: The Story of Aldrich Ames, an American Spy, 1995.
- "Ames: Separated Spy, Agent Lives". tribunedigital-dailypress.
- Lykken, David T. A Tremor in the Blood: Uses and Abuses of the Lie Detector, 2nd ed., New York: Plenum Trade, 1998, pp. 273–79.
- Van Aperen, Steven (February 29, 2000). "The polygraph as an investigative tool in criminal and private investigations". Net-Trace.
- "Testimony of Richard Helms, Former Director of Central Intelligence, Former Ambassador to Iran, and Presently a Business Consultant in Washington, D.C., and Represented by Gregory B. Craig, of Williams & Connelly". mcadams.posc.mu.edu. 2001-01-29. Retrieved 2015-04-19.
- McCarthy, Susan. "The truth about the polygraph." Salon. March 2, 2000. Retrieved on July 5, 2013.
- "Pre-Employment Polygraph". Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 2016-05-10.
- "Lie Detector Tests". Ontario Ministry of Labour.
- "Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993)". cornell.edu.
- Vance, Stephen. "Looking at the Law: An Updated Look at the Privilege Against Self-Incrimination in PostConviction Supervision" (PDF). Federal Probation. 75 (1).
- "United States v. Scheffer, 523 U.S. 303 (1998)". cornell.edu.
- "General Law - Part I, Title XXI, Chapter 149, Section 19B". malegislature.gov. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- "2013 Maryland Code :: LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT :: § 3-702 - Lie detector tests". Justia Law. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- "Compliance Assistance By Law – The Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)". dol.gov. Archived from the original on 2005-09-23.
- Taylor, Marisa and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. "Seeing threats, feds target instructors of polygraph-beating methods". McClatchy Newspapers. Friday August 16, 2013. Retrieved on Friday August 31, 2013.
- "New Mexico Rules of Evidence" (PDF). New Mexico State University, Southwest Regional Training Centre. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
- Nagesh, Gautham (June 14, 2010). "NSA video tries to dispel fear about polygraph use during job interviews". The Hill. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- Stein, Jeff. "NSA lie detectors no sweat, video says". The Washington Post. June 14, 2010. Retrieved on July 5, 2013.
- "Polygraph/Lie Detector FAQs". International League of Polygraph Examiners.
- "Encyclopædia Britannica's Great Inventions". Encyclopædia Britannica Almanac 2003, via Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on May 19, 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
- ""Owner of 'Polygraph.com' Indicted for Allegedly Training Customers to Lie During Federally Administered Polygraph Examinations". Department of Justice, November 14, 2014. Accessed March 19, 2018.
- Taylor, Marisa. "Indiana man gets 8 months for lie-detector fraud". The Seattle Times. McClatchy Newspapers. Friday September 6, 2013. Retrieved on September 8, 2013.
- "Coach who taught people how to beat lie detectors headed to prison". Ars Technica. 2013-09-09.
- "WASHINGTON: Americans' personal data shared with CIA, IRS, others in security probe". McClatchy DC.
- "Indiana man gets 8 months for lie-detector fraud". The Seattle Times.
- Gaudet, Lyn M (2011). "Brain Fingerprinting, Scientific Evidence, and "Daubert": A Cautionary Lesson from India". Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science & Technology. 51 (3): 293–318. JSTOR 41307131.
- GIRIDHARADAS, Anand (September 14, 2008). "India's Novel Use of Brain Scans in Courts is Debated". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- Mahapatra, Dhananjay (May 5, 2010). "No narcoanalysis test without consent, says SC". The Times of India. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- When a job interview turns into an interrogation
- Meijer, Ewout H; van Koppen, Peter J (2017). "Chapter 3. Lie Detectors and the Law: The Use of the Polygraph in Europe". In Canter, David; Žukauskiene, Rita (eds.). Psychology and Law : Bridging the Gap. Routledge. ISBN 9781351907873.
- "How widely are lie detectors used in the UK?". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 29 June 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
- Grossman, Wendy (25 August 2020). "Letter to America: The Black Box that Wouldn't Die". Skeptical Inquirer. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
- Bowcott, Owen (8 August 2014). "Lie detector tests introduced to monitor released sex offenders". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
- "SN: tylko bez wariografu w przesłuchaniu I KZP 25/14". Czasopismo Lege Artis (in Polish). 2015-01-30. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
- Bundesgerichtshof: Entscheidungen vom 17.12.1998, 1 StR 156/98, 1 StR 258/98
- Vitas Saldžiūnas and Aleksandras Kovalenka (2015). "Lie detection with polygraph", LAP Lambert Academic Publishing. ISBN 978-3-659-74192-0.
- "Lie Detectors Act 1983 (NSW)". Legislation.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
- Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph (National Research Council (US)), Mark Harrison Moore (2002). The polygraph and lie detection. National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-08436-9.
- "RPCV and CIA defector Edward Howard dies in Moscow". Peace Corps Online. 2002-07-22.
- The Adrich H. Ames Case: An Assessment of CIA's Role, Oct. 21, 1994 Memorandum for Heads of Agency Offices from Director of Central Intelligence Archived 2009-07-05 at the Wayback Machine
- "An Assessment of the Aldrich H. Ames Espionage Case and Its Implications for U.S. Intelligence – Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – 01 November 1994 – Part One". fas.org.
- "Magazine". The Washington Post.
- Hess, Pamela, "Pentagon's Intelligence Arm Steps Up Lie-Detector Efforts", Arizona Daily Star, August 24, 2008. Also in Fox News via AP 
- "Glitch in widely used polygraph can skew results". McClatchy DC. Archived from the original on 2013-05-27. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
- "McClatchy – The Polygraph Files". mcclatchydc.com. Archived from the original on 2013-05-27. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
- "The IG complaint of Mark Phillips concerning the NRO". McClatchy DC.
- Taylor, Marisa, "Sen. Charles Grassley Seeks Probe Of Polygraph Techniques At National Reconnaissance Office", The McClatchy Company, 27 July 2012
- Bell, B. G.; Grubin, D. (2010). "Functional magnetic resonance imaging may promote theoretical understanding of the polygraph test". Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology. 21 (1): 52–65. doi:10.1080/14789940903220676. S2CID 144428132.
- Langleben, DD; Schroeder, L; Maldjian, JA; Gur, RC; McDonald, S; Ragland, JD; O'Brien, CP; Childress, AR (2002). "Brain activity during simulated deception: an event-related functional magnetic resonance study". NeuroImage. 15 (3): 727–32. doi:10.1006/nimg.2001.1003. PMID 11848716. S2CID 14676750.
- Verschuere, B.; Crombez, G.; Degrootte, T.; Rosseel, Y. (2010). "Detecting concealed information with reaction times: Validity and comparison with the polygraph". Applied Cognitive Psychology. 24 (7): 991–1002. doi:10.1002/acp.1601.
- Grubin, D.; Madsen, L. (2005). "Lie detection and the polygraph: A historical review". Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology. 16 (2): 357–69. doi:10.1080/14789940412331337353. S2CID 144898901.
- "History of CVSA". nitv1.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-03.
- Marston, William M (1917). "Systolic Blood Pressure Changes in Deception". Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2 (2): 117–63. doi:10.1037/h0073583.
- Council, National Research; Education, Division of Behavioral Social Sciences and; Statistics, Committee on National; Board On Behavioral, Cognitive; Polygraph, Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the (2003). The Polygraph and Lie Detection. nap.edu. doi:10.17226/10420. ISBN 978-0-309-26392-4.
- Moore, Mark H.; Polygraph, Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the; Council, National Research; National Research Council (u.s.). Board On Behavioral, Cognitive; Committee On National Statistics, National Research Council (U.S.); Division Of Behavioral And Social Sciences And Education, National Research Council (U.S.) (2003). The Polygraph and Lie Detection. ISBN 9780309084369.
- Lepore, Jill. The Secret History of Wonder Woman, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014, ISBN 9780385354042, pp. 183–209.
- Marston, William Moulton. The Lie Detector Test. New York: Richard R. Smith, 1938.
- "William Marston's Secret Identity". Reason magazine. May 2001.
- Lie Detector Charts Emotional Effects of Shaving – 1938 Gillette Advertisement
- FBI File of William Moulton Marston(including report on Gillette advertising campaign)
- Katherine To for Illumin. Fall 2003. Lie Detection: The Science and Development of the Polygraph
- "Leonarde Keeler and his Instruments". lie2me.net.
- Inbau, Fred E. Lie Detection and Criminal Interrogation, The Williams & Wilkins Company, 1948
- Troville, P.V. (1939). "A History of Lie Detection". Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 29 (6): 848.
- Troville, P.V. (1939). "A History of Lie Detection". Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 30 (1): 104.
- Reid, J. E. (1945). "Simulated Blood Pressure Responses in Lie-Detection Tests and a Method for Their Deception". Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 36 (1): 201–15.
- IMPAC: F. Lee Bailey bio Archived 2008-10-24 at the Wayback Machine
- Google Books:"Lie detectors" By Kerry Segrave
- James Hibberd (2007-11-25). "Darnell in Defense of the 'Truth': Fox Executive Talks About the Network's Controversial Lie Detector Show". TV Week. Archived from the original on 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- O'Dell, Cary (November 12, 2013). "The Tested Truth About 'Maury Povich'". Pop Matters. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
- For critical commentary on this episode, see Maschke, George (7 December 2007). "Mythbusters Beat the Lie Detector Episode featuring Michael Martin". AntiPolygraph.org.
- Dedman, Bill (April 9, 2008). "New anti-terror weapon: Hand-held lie detector". NBC News. Cite journal requires
- Ames provides personal insight into the U.S. Government's reliance on polygraphy in a 2000 letter to Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists.Ames, Aldrich (November 28, 2000). "A Letter from Aldrich Ames on Polygraph Testing". Federation of American Scientists.
- Ronald Kessler (March 8, 1994). "Spies, Lies, Averted Eyes". The New York Times. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
- Kessler, Ron (April 17, 1988). "Moscow's Mole in the CIA: How a Swinging Czech Superspy Stole America's Most Sensitive Secrets". Washington Post. p. C1.
- Bachelet, Pablo (October 13, 2006). "Book outlines how spy exposed U.S. intelligence secrets to Cuba". McClatchy Washington Bureau.
She first came under U.S. suspicion in 1994, when Cuba detected a highly secret electronic surveillance system. Montes took a polygraph test and passed it.
- Ross, Brian & Richard Esposito (October 6, 2005). "Investigation Continues: Security Breach at the White House". ABC News.
Officials say Aragoncillo passed several lie detector tests that are routinely given to individuals with top secret clearances.
- "Dept. of Energy, Office of Counterintelligence". Harold James Nicholson Dossier. Archived from the original on 2008-09-21. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
- Warrick, Joby; Eggen, Dan (2007-11-14). "Ex-FBI Employee's Case Raises New Security Concerns Sham Marriage Led to U.S. Citizenship". Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- "What made Ridgway kill still a riddle". The News Tribune. 2003-11-09.
- "BTK: Out Of The Shadows". 48 Hours Mysteries. October 1, 2005. CBS News.
- "United States of America versus William Galbreth" (PDF). 1995-03-09. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- "Chris Watts: Wife killed our girls, so I strangled her". Houston: KTRK-TV. August 20, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
- Roth, Alex (January 9, 2003). "Westerfield failed polygraph test badly: 'Greater than 99%' chance he was lying, examiner says on tape". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on September 29, 2012.
- Aftergood, Steven (2000). "ESSAYS ON SCIENCE AND SOCIETY: Polygraph Testing and the DOE National Laboratories". Science. 290 (5493): 939–40. doi:10.1126/science.290.5493.939. PMID 17749189. S2CID 153185280.
- Alder, Ken (2007). The Lie Detectors. New York: Free Press. ISBN 978-0-7432-5988-0.
- Bunn, Geoffrey C. The Truth Machine: A Social History of the Lie Detector (Johns Hopkins University Press; 2012) 256 pages
- Blinkhorn, S. (1988) "Lie Detection as a psychometric procedure" In "The Polygraph Test" (Gale, A. ed. 1988) 29–39.
- Cumming, Alfred (Specialist in Intelligence and National Security). "Polygraph Use by the Department of Energy: Issues for Congress." (Archive) Congressional Research Service. February 9, 2009.
- Harris, Mark (October 1, 2018). "THE LIE GENERATOR: INSIDE THE BLACK MIRROR WORLD OF POLYGRAPH JOB SCREENINGS". WIRED.
- Jones, Ishmael (2008). The Human Factor: Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture. New York: Encounter Books. ISBN 978-1-59403-382-7.
- Lykken, David (1998). A Tremor in the Blood. New York: Plenum Trade. ISBN 978-0-306-45782-1.
- Maschke, G.W. & Scalabrini, G.J. (2018) The Lie Behind the Lie Detector. 5th ed. Available on-line at https://antipolygraph.org.
- McCarthy, Susan. "Passing the polygraph." Salon. March 2, 2000.
- Roese, N. J.; Jamieson, D. W. (1993). "Twenty years of bogus pipeline research: A critical review and meta-analysis". Psychological Bulletin. 114 (2): 363–75. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.114.2.363.
- Sullivan, John (2007). Gatekeeper. Potomac Books Inc. ISBN 978-1-59797-045-7.
- Taylor, Marisa (Tish Wells contributed). "Feds expand polygraph screening, often seeking intimate facts." McClatchy. Thursday December 6, 2012.
- Woodrow, Michael J. "The Truth about the Psychophysiological Detection of Deception Examination 3rd Edition" Lulu Press. Ny, NY ISBN 978-1-105-89546-3
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Polygraph.|
- AntiPolygraph.org, a website critical of polygraph
- History of the Polygraph by Jim Fisher
- The Polygraph Museum Historical photographs and descriptions of polygraph instruments.
- Technology of Truth by Ken Alder. Magazine article about the history of the lie detector.
- The North American Polygraph and Psychophysiology: Disinterested, Uninterested, and Interested Perspectives by John J. Furedy, International Journal of Psychophysiology, Spring/Summer 1996
- Trial By Ordeal? Polygraph Testing In Australia
- "Thought Wave Lie Detector Measures Current in Nerves" Popular Mechanics, July 1937
- Mikkelson, David (July 11, 2011). "Next case on the Legal Colander". Snopes.