Shower thoughts this morning, and now I"m late for work.
Since a professional poker player deals with concealing stress all the time as they bluff or try to draw in other players into monster hands, would they be better able to suppress indicators that a polygraph registers than your average person? I know that polygraphs have their own issues, but it would seem to me that whereas someone under a polygraph exam may be nervous and not do well, a pro poker player may be like Dietrich and the voice analyzer in Barney Miller.
A poker player would have no real advantage. The polygraph measures autonomic responses like respiration and galvanic skin response (skin moisture variations). The entire range of recorded indications is also largely dependent on human analysis and the opinion of the polygraph operator as to a declaration of truthfulness or deceit. This is primarily why such results are not admissible in criminal courts as evidence.
Possibly the good poker player keeps his heart and respiration rate down and his responses are less noticeable on the machine. But as the previous post indicates, the real advantage is fooling the polygraph operator who is likely to be basing his analysis on his own perception of the subject since there is no consistent positive indication of lying from the machine. If such machines actually provided reliable results they wouldn’t need human operators.
Pretty much the Operator decides your guilt or innocence without relying on the polygraph at all. It is often used simply to point at any blip and say “The lie detector says you are lying, what’s the real truth?”
*The video also demonstrates another fact some Americans might not be aware of: In many cases, police actually know that the test doesn’t really detect if a suspect is lying — but use it anyway to trick suspects into (sometimes false) confessions.
“If the examiner does the theater well, and tricks the subject into believing that his or her lies can be detected, they might confess,” Leonard Saxe, a psychologist at Brandeis University who’s conducted research into polygraphs, previously told Vox.
It’s what a FBI operator told me. Beleive it or dont.
I can give you dozens of cites about how bogus and unreliable polygraphs are, if you like.
Same in the US. Polygraph results aren’t admissible in court, so they’re given for other reasons, one of them being what DrDeth said. Other reasons are to find inconsistencies in a story or just to keep someone talking, which could incriminate them.
I’ll reiterate, polygraph machines don’t have little green and red “truth” and “lie” lights on them. If they could really tell whether a person is telling the truth or not they would. It is the operator’s opinion that is the end result. The same results can be interpreted in different ways by different operators testing different subjects.
I believe one of the strategies to beat a polygraph is to genuinely believe in the lies you’re telling and consciously control certain physical rhythms… I don’t think poker players would use the same strategy as their minds would probably be racing with odds and watching everyone else and consciously trying to create a blank face to the other players; I think they’d use a different strategy which wouldn’t fool the machine & operator the same way it would other players.
Believing the lies you’re telling won’t help you pass a polygraph test, since polygraph tests have nothing to do with lying. The only lie they can detect is if you’re lying about having an orgasm. For anything else, their reliability, for any subject, is about the same as the reliability of a tossed coin.
I mean it would help in terms of minimizing or eliminating the physiological stress responses that occur when the typical subject is being deceptive, which are mainly what the machine reads. IIRC it’s one of the many weaknesses of the system; that some people can sail through the questions without causing the needle to move (or whatever the modern equivalent is) by being conscious-free or well-rehearsed at being deceptive… believing the delusion that you really weren’t at the location and really didn’t shoot Jones can help with that.
I’ve wondered if a really good actor would have an advantage. Especially a method actor who could immerse themselves so deeply in another character that they believe themselves to be Totally Innocent Bystander Guy.
I’ve done that occasionally in a role, where I’ve managed to convince myself that I was Tom Jones The Foundling or Paul The Jilted Fiancé. I wonder if I could fool a machine (and its operator) in my role as Guy Who Was In Kalamazoo At The Time.
If this were true, then there would be no disparity in results between testing a person with no risk of penalty and testing a person with a risk of penalty for failing the test. I don’t recall the number for the former (60%?) but the latter was 98%, I believe.
It is true that the device is useless without an operator, but that’s the same as a CCTV in a convenience store. If no one ever looked at the tape, it would be completely useless as a crime fighting measure.
Think of it like if I was trying to identify a subject from a CCTV video. My ability to do so is going to depend on the quality of the video. If you give me a video that was captured by a more expensive, high resolution camera, I’m going to perform better at identifying the subject than when I have a video of poor resolution.
To the cameras, in either case, it’s all just random color data. They have no ability to tell if a crime is going on, if one pixel is part of a human, part of an eggplant, or whatever. It requires a human to convert the data to something meaningful. But the human and her ability is enhanced by the existence of the device and by better variants of the device.
A polygraph test is an interrogation by a human with enhanced skills at reading your body language. It is nothing more and nothing less. It may or may not be useful, just as a high resolution camera will still be useless if the suspect wore and discarded a mask, or if the person looking at the video is blind. It is not a panacea and it requires interpretation in the same way that it requires interpretation when I hear a bang in the distance. Was that a firecracker, a popped tire, a gunshot, or what? It gives the human an extra sense that they need to learn to add to their previous senses and to interpret correctly. But, like all the senses, it can be fooled.
An interrogation works principally by trying to catch a suspect in a lie. To do this requires confusing the suspect, giving enough time for them to forget what they said, and coming back to revisit subjects where you think they are lying. The polygraph helps the interrogator to detect the moments where the intonation, emphasis, and body language doesn’t match what the person is saying. It gives an indicator of the places where an interrogator should double back, confuse the situation, and pounce on the subject for further questioning.
A person is revealed as lying in a polygraph test not by the machine saying, “He lied.” Rather it’s in the exact same way as they are revealed to be lying in any sort of interrogation: They are tricked into revealing the truth or at least into creating an inconsistent, ever changing story that is clearly impossible to be true.
Of course, some percentage of the people called out as liars in interrogations and polygraph tests end up that way simply because they were too thrown out of wack by the interrogator and simply confused themselves an took on the suggestions of the interrogator through lack of personal will power.
The camera “sees” a lot of zeros and ones, but software can determine what combination of those is likely to be a face and, if connected to a suitable database, it can identify that face with a fair degree of accuracy. AFAIK the USA is the only country that has any faith in lie detectors, although I heard that some Asian countries like Singapore have been experimenting.
Based on what I have read and heard, there is no way to make your lies come as “true” on the polygraph (and I maybe wrong).
I think the way a trained person (say a criminal) would beat polygraph test is by making some of the results inconclusive. How? They will ask you some basic questions to measure your base measurements. e.g Is the sky blue?
Later they use “these” measurements to compare with real questions. So what the trained person does is think of some dangerous things when answering the base questions. So when I say Yes to sky is blue, I am thinking of jumping from a building (if I fear heights). This throws off my base measurements.
Source: Based on a documentary I saw years ago and something which I only vaguely remember.