I’ve got an article in today’s Observer about the unreliability of ‘lie detectors’ but why people still tend to spill the beans when wired up to them.
It turns out that polygraphs have a sort of placebo effect, where people are more truthful because they believe that they work. In fact, studies show that people are more truthful when wired up to a completely bogus ‘lie detector’ look-alike.
Worryingly though, law enforcement is staring to use this effect, which is based entirely on ignorance, to monitor sex offenders and evaluate their risk of carrying out other sexual assaults.
Needless to say, I feel this is foolish. Read the article for the full details.
By the way, this is the first of an every-six-weeks column I’ll be writing for the paper. As my friends will tell you, I rarely manage to say anything interesting that frequently, so wish me luck.
Link to Observer article ‘the truth about lie detectors’.