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You know what a lie detector is, right?
It doesn't detect whether or not a person is lying,
but what is does is measure physiological signs of stress, such as sweating, elevated heart and breathing rate, etc.
Without a lie detector, a trained lie catcher can still monitor for behavioral and emotional cues that "leak," or give away, a person's attempt to conceal something.
Lie catchers rely on four basic modes of communication, in order to catch lies:
1. Verbal communication
2. Tone of voice
3. Facial expression
4. Body language
I know you like to ask about suggested reading.
I read "Telling Lies," by Paul Ekman.
Paul Ekman is a world renown expert on human emotion, and deception. And his book is a pretty good read.
Great. For extent these results are valid? Is there a way to bypass lie detector like we watch in movies?
Lie detectors aren't 100% accurate. There's actually not a lot of scientific evidence that attests to how accurate they are.
I've heard that they're anywhere from 75% to 90% accurate.
Years ago, a police officer in California was applying for a job at a precinct.
He looked to be "the epitome of what a police officer should look like."
He knew all the police codes.
And he had experience.
All in all, he was a very ideal candidate for the precinct's job opening.
It was standard for newly hired police officers to go through a polygraph (lie detector) test, just so that they could prove their integrity.
The polygraph test caught this police officer lying.
And after having been caught, the police officer admitted to having committed
"over 12 burglaries while on duty,
and using his police car to haul away stolen goods,
planting stolen narcotics on innocent suspects in order to make arrests,
and...had sexual intercourse in his police car with girls as young as 16 years."
There was another case example, involving a man called "Fay."
Fay had an acquaintance who was murdered.
And right before this man died, he said that his masked robber-murderer "looked like Buzz," who, in turn, very much resembled Fay.
Fay attested to his own innocence. But the police were convinced Fay was the killer.
They offered Fay a deal:
If Fay would pass a lie detector test, then all charges against him would be dropped.
BUT if Fay failed the lie detector test, then the evidence of his failure would be used in court, against him.
He failed the first polygraph test.
And he failed the second polygraph test.
Fay was given a life sentence, and put in prison.
But two years later, the real killers were caught. They confessed to the crime. And Fay was released.
So you see here, polygraphs are sometimes reliable.
And sometimes, they aren't.
And the biggest reason for this is that polygraphs measure physiological changes.
They can't really tell whether or not someone is lying.
Polygraphs measure physical changes that are caused by stress, and emotion.
Just because someone gets stressed out and emotional, doesn't mean that they're lying.
We call this the "Othello error."
The Othello error is where we make a mistake in determining WHAT is CAUSING an emotion.
I'm not sure if there is a sure-fire way to fool a polygraph.
But people have fooled polygraphs in the past, surely.
And it may not be because they deliberately try to fool the polygraph.
It may just be because of who they are.
Some people aren't quick to become emotional.
Some people are just naturally able to keep their cool, in otherwise tense and stressful situations.
Many of these people are what we call "true criminals."
But technological advances in polygraphing technology may one day give us a polygraph that can detect even the smallest signs of emotion, that today's polygraphs cannot detect.