sional psychologists who meet minimal educational standards and who adhere to specified ethical principles.
The polygraph is not the only technological instrument used to assess deceit. Efforts have been made to use electroencephalogram (EEG) responses to stimuli in order to detect deception. Lawrence Farwell, a scientist in Washington, D.C., claims that EEG responses to familiar words are different from those to unfamiliar words. Thus, in a manner similar to the GKT described earlier in this chapter, a suspect may be presented with a series of different words, some relevant and others irrelevant. If the person being interrogated consistently reacts to some words as if they were familiar but about which he or she should have no knowledge, the assumption is that the individual has some knowledge about that area of the investigation. Through this technique, Farwell was able to correctly identify 17 of 21 Federal Bureau of Investigation agents. This type of EEG lie-detector research is clearly preliminary and requires confirmation and refinement. However, even in its preliminary stages, it is controversial. Janlon Golman, director of the American Civil Liberties Union, has called it a "frightening invasion of privacy" ( Witkin 1993, p. 49).
The search for a valid, reliable mechanism to measure truthfulness and deceit began long ago and continues to the present. Although the polygraph is widely used, it is fraught with conceptual confusion and misuse in its application. According to Steinbrook ( 1992, p. 123), "The polygraph appeals to an often simplistic desire for certainty in the face of complexity and to a misplaced faith in the power of a machine."
When an evaluation is ethically conducted by a skilled professional, the polygraph (and its inevitable technological successors)
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Publication information: Book title: Lies!, Lies!!, Lies!!!The Psychology of Deceit. Contributors: Charles V. Ford - Author. Publisher: American Psychiatric Press. Place of publication: Washington, DC. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 234.
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