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In search of the magic lasso: the truth about the polygraph. (English) Zbl 1100.62622

Summary: In the wake of controversy over allegations of espionage by Wen Ho Lee, a nuclear scientist at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, the department ordered that polygraph tests be given to scientists working in similar positions. Soon thereafter, at the request of Congress, the department asked the National Research Council (NRC) to conduct a thorough study of polygraph testing’s ability to distinguish accurately between lying and truth-telling across a variety of settings and examinees, even in the face of countermeasures that may be employed to defeat the test. This paper tells some of the story of the work of the Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph, its report and the reception of that report by the U.S. government and Congress.

MSC:

62P15 Applications of statistics to psychology
62P99 Applications of statistics
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References:

[1] Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph (2003). The Polygraph and Lie Detection. National Academy Press, Washington.
[2] Department of Energy (2005). Proposed rules. Federal Register 70 1383–1396. Available at www.regulations.gov/fredpdfs/05-00248.pdf.
[3] Faigman, D. L., Porter, E. and Saks, M. J. (1994). Check your crystal ball at the courthouse door, please: Exploring the past, understanding the present, and worrying about the future of scientific evidence. Cardozo Law Review 15 1799–1835.
[4] Faigman, D. L., Fienberg, S. E. and Stern, P. C. (2003). The limits of the polygaph. Issues in Science and Technology Fall 40–46. Available at www.issues.org/issues/20.1/faigman.html.
[5] Gigerenzer, G., Todd, P. M. and the ABC Research Group (1999). Simple Heuristics That Make Us Smart . Oxford Univ. Press.
[6] Hoffrage, U., Lindsey, S., Hertwig, R. and Gigerenzer, G. (2000). Communicating statistical information. Science 290 2261–2262.
[7] Huff, D. (1954). How to Lie with Statistics. Norton, New York.
[8] Marston, W. M. (1938). The Lie Detector Test . Richard R. Smith, New York. · Zbl 0019.12402
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