Uses of Polygraph Tests

The evidence that is available suggests that in the context of special-event investigation and with inexperienced examinees prueba del poligrafo (Polygraph test) as presently used have worth in differentiating people that are true from deceptive. Nevertheless, they may be far from perfect because circumstance and significant unanswered questions remain about Madrid polygraph truth in other circumstances that are significant. No choice techniques are available that perform better, though some show promise for the long term. The limited evidence on screening polygraphs indicates that their truth in area use is probably going to be somewhat below that of special-incident polygraphs.
This chapter discusses the policy issues associated with having an imperfect prueba del poligrafo like the polygraph in real life decision making, especially in national security screening, which presents quite hard tradeoffs between falsely judging workers that are innocent misleading and leaving security risks that are important undetected. We synthesize what science can provide to educate the policy conclusions, but stress the selections ultimately must be determined by a string value judgments including a weighting of likely future advantages (primarily, deterring and detecting possible spies, saboteurs, terrorists, or alternative important security risks) against possible costs (such as of falsely accusing innocent people and losing potentially valuable people in the security associated work force). Price benefits tradeoffs such as this change together with the problem.

As an example, the gains are greater when the security risk being inquired is serious; when the innocent people who might be the prices are greater accused are they essential to national security. Because of this, elected officials or their designees, assisted by the principles and practices of behavioral decision making best make tradeoff choices.