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Old 08 October 2018, 01:25 PM
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Icon18 Wired.com investigates polygraphs

Article here: https://www.wired.com/story/inside-p...-black-mirror/

The fact that polygraph results are not admissible in court should tell g-you something.
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Old 08 October 2018, 01:43 PM
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Haha, the first bit that actually surprised me in that article (apart from how widely they're actually used and taken seriously in the USA in public-sector recruitment) was this defence of polygraphs from a member of the Washington State Patrol:

Quote:
He also brushes off concerns that older candidates fail more often. “One of the things we speculated is that people who have been alive longer have more opportunity to engage in activity that is disqualifying,” he says.
Really?!
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Old 08 October 2018, 01:59 PM
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I once had to take a polygraph test for a private sector job, but that was nearly 30 years ago. I don't think I'd realized how common they were in public sector recruitment. What a waste of time and money.
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Old 08 October 2018, 02:32 PM
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I remember my father explaining to me how polygraphs work and the one thing that stuck out in my mind is the fact that nerves would trick the machine into thinking you were lying.
TTBOMK an employer in this state cannot give a polygraph to a potential employee. I've never had to take one--I think if I did, I'd fail that sucker outright because nerves.
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Old 08 October 2018, 03:05 PM
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I wouldn't call it a trick: it's exactly what the machine is designed to do. The trick is calling that "lie detection."
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Old 08 October 2018, 03:34 PM
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I would disagree. From the start, the polygraph was designed to detect lies. The design failed and what resulted is a nerve detector.
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Old 08 October 2018, 03:39 PM
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I have a confession to make. Not that I disagree with anything said or the point being made, I just need to get this off my chest.

A grandfather of mine made a career as a polygraph expert. For a time in the mid-80s he was even President of the Americana Polygraph Association. He’s taught their use internationally, most prominently (in the stories he tells, I mean) to the police in Singapore.
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  #8  
Old 08 October 2018, 03:55 PM
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From everything I've heard and read, true polygraph experts take into account body language when determining the difference between liars and the nervous. That said, there's no 100% accurate way to determine whether someone is lying any more than there is a 100% accurate way to determine that they're telling the truth.

Seaboe
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  #9  
Old 08 October 2018, 04:29 PM
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Let me preface this by saying that I don't think lie detectors are reliable and they should not be used as anything, but a novelty.

From what I understand, the testing process starts by setting a baseline. So if someone is just nervous about taking the test, that will be part of the baseline. I would have to think that most people are nervous taking such a test anyway.

One of the issues, which creates false positives, is that simply asking a question can create a reaction. Maybe I had a very terrible experience when someone offered me marijuana as a child and I refused. So when I'm asked about it I react, but not because I'm lying when I answer the question.

On the flip side, its not difficult to train one's self to be an excellent liar. By excellent liar, I mean someone who 'believes' his own lies and wouldn't show any tells on the detector or otherwise.
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Old 08 October 2018, 04:36 PM
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I've taken two polygraphs over the years. Both for jobs.

One of them actually dredged up some memory from when I was nine or ten. My pals and I had found some Playboy magazines hidden away. Had to explain that in detail.

Having an understanding of how the machines work can help one pass the exams.

This is the real problem. People that just don't care about the things they have done can easily pass a polygraph.

To quote George Costanza, "it's not a lie if you believe it". No guilt or no nerves no lies detected.
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Old 08 October 2018, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
From what I understand, the testing process starts by setting a baseline. So if someone is just nervous about taking the test, that will be part of the baseline. I would have to think that most people are nervous taking such a test anyway.

One of the issues, which creates false positives, is that simply asking a question can create a reaction.
A good polygraph-er will go over the questions before hooking a person up to the machine. This is meant to be sure answers are not affected by the shock of hearing the question.

This also allows the person being questioned to think about the questions. That's what happened to me. The question was "have you ever told a lie of importance?" For some reason that reminded me of the time nine or ten year old me lied about the girlie magazines.

Next time I thought about the weather, the song on the radio and nothing else. No issues that time.
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Old 08 October 2018, 05:07 PM
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The only thing shocking about polygraphs is that despite having known how unreliable they are, they're still being used.
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Old 08 October 2018, 05:37 PM
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It isn't to me, at least in the pre-employment uses. Misused or non-scientific tests for weeding out potential hires have seemed popular since at least the 1980's. There is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, the DISC personality test, the various ethical tests, credit score-based hiring, etc
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Old 08 October 2018, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
One of the issues, which creates false positives, is that simply asking a question can create a reaction. Maybe I had a very terrible experience when someone offered me marijuana as a child and I refused. So when I'm asked about it I react, but not because I'm lying when I answer the question.
I understand part of it can also be due to the trauma or anxiety associated with the crime (particularly if you were close to the victim or a victim of a similar crime). As in, if your child was raped and murdered, then being asked, "did you rape your child" or "have you ever had sex with your child" can provoke anxiety even if you’ve been warned the question is coming. Trauma is funny like that. Triggers and all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
It isn't to me, at least in the pre-employment uses. Misused or non-scientific tests for weeding out potential hires have seemed popular since at least the 1980's. There is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, the DISC personality test, the various ethical tests, credit score-based hiring, etc
You left out interviews.
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Old 08 October 2018, 06:55 PM
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I don't think interviews are generally claimed or implied to be based on established scientific principles.
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  #16  
Old 08 October 2018, 07:31 PM
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Thereby making it non-scientific, yes. There has, however, been scientific research into the effectiveness of interviews at predicting employment success and, as with polygraphs, the data ainít so good.
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Old 08 October 2018, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
There has, however, been scientific research into the effectiveness of interviews at predicting employment success and, as with polygraphs, the data ain’t so good.
Anecdotal, but my company approaches recruitment and hiring in a fairly rigorous way. They track different recruitment methods at different locations and from year to year, to see how they correspond to the number of people we interview, the percent we extend offers to, the percent that accept, and then what those employees long term performance and retention is. The best results tend to be hiring from schools rather than industry. Certain schools are consistently better to recruit from than others (and not always the obvious ones), so some we consistently go back to, while others we rotate in and out, depending on results.

They also have lots of factors to score potential candidates. We use the resume, a written test, and a brief interview to determine who to fly out to headquarters for a weekend interview. There they get a lot of information and opportunities to ask questions informally, but the main event is a half-day technical test, followed by formal interviews. They use the results from all of these factors to score candidates and decide who to make offers to. Then they analyze the results later to see how predictive they are of performance, and tweak them for the future.

As a result, we have lots of data on the effectiveness of interviews. The main conclusion is that they don't work very well. It has very little predictive value. And it doesn't matter much who is giving the interview. Some people think they're going to be much better at figuring people out in an interview, but they're not. People's gut feel in an interview is not all that helpful, though occasionally there may be new information that comes out. Technical tests rather than interviews are our best hiring tool, but obviously that's going to vary a lot for other fields.

But on the level of individual questions, there are certain interview questions tested that do actually have some value. If you design the question in a way that their answers can be objectively analyzed rather than just getting an overall subjective impression, then certain questions do have some minor predictive value.

Last edited by Errata; 08 October 2018 at 08:07 PM.
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  #18  
Old 08 October 2018, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
Thereby making it non-scientific, yes.
True. I was imprecise in my language. I meant pseudo-scientific or non-scientific purporting to be scientific.
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Old 08 October 2018, 10:15 PM
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Years ago a bunch of us working for a state agency had to take a polygraph test. A friend of mine was first up and he came back having passed, impressed that the operator had first demonstrated the machine's omnipotence by having him pick a card from a deck and by asking only a very few questions identifying it as the nine of diamonds.

My turn came after lunch, and I had to pick a card, too. Huh. Nine of diamonds. Instead of replacing it in the deck as instructed, I grabbed about six cards and fanned them. I asked the operator if our agency boss knew he was playing with a deck of 52 nines of diamonds. He unhooked me and told me I had passed.
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  #20  
Old 08 October 2018, 11:03 PM
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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demonstration - various
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