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General information on honesty test and Polygraphs

A book called "A Tremor in the Blood: Uses and Abuses of the Lie Detector," ( by University of Minnesota psychologist David T. Lykken), shows the inherent possibility for lie detectors to fail. One case involves Sister Teresa (She applied for a job at B Dalton booksellers) she was told he had the lowest honesty score ever seen . The Supreme court however clear the good sisters name this court decision also outlawed many forms of lie detection.(1)

U.S. vs. Edward Scheffer (96-1133), In March 1998 Edward Scheffer an Airman in the US Air Force volunteered to work as an informant in undercover drug operations for the USAF's Office of Special Investigations (OSI). He was informed that he would have to a submit to a drug test. Before the results of the drug test were known, he took a polygraph test which he passed when he said hadn't used drugs while he was the Air Force. He vanished from the Air Force base

He was later found by when he was arrested by an Iowa state trooper for a routine traffic stop. The Air Force found the earlier drug test came up positive for methamphetamine. The Supreme Court said there was a "lack of scientific consensus on the reliability of polygraphs.".

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals found that, " polygraph evidence was not accepted in the scientific community and that the error rate was unknown."(2)

Tenenbaum vs. United States (98-74473), David Tenenbaum, who worked on projects for the Army, alleges that a polygraph examiner wrongfully attributed admissions of security violations to him. Tenenbaum was eventually cleared by an extensive FBI investigation.

This countries national security has been compromised due to a trust in polygraphs.(3)

Case specific information on the Cobain Case

Numerous people have come forward claiming to have knowledge of Courtney Loves plans to kill Kurt, and inherit his money. As with any testimony we have consider several things, one is suggestibility. Can people be absolutely convinced that something had happened that actually didn't happened, or something that was said, that really wasn't said?

To answer the suggestibility question, the answer is yes people convinced something has happen that didn't happen or something was said that wasn't said. In 1989 the Journal Memory and Cognition said "Our finding indicated that although mislead subjects are capable of identifying the source of their memories of misleading suggestions, they nonetheless sometimes misidentify them as memories from the original event."(4)

Under repeatedly questioning, an interviewer can influence testimony by the style of the questioning. This can happen even if this isn't the intent of the interviewer. In 1991 researchers said "question repetition can produce changes in the content and style of eyewitness reports, even in the absence of more direct pressure to recant or distort testimony."(5)

Here is a recent study on research false memories

It has also been said that people have "polygraphic evidence " against MS Love. The polygraph is designed to catch people who are intenti9onally lying. What if via suggestibility the person believes what he was saying is true? If the interviewee has a distorted sense of the truth to which he is testifying to it may throw the results of a polygraph.(6)

Confabulation is believing events happened that didn't happen. Its not done intentionally so their would be no deliberate act of deception so you could pass a polygraph.(7)

Alcohol consumption can cause confabulation.(8)

What about people who are openly lying, will a polygraph catch them? Several factors can throw the results of a polygraph exam. The when addressing polygraph reliability JAMA said "In short, Polygraphic interrogation in criminal investigations lacks scientific merit."(9)

When you factor in all the variables, Polygraphs on average have accuracy rate of 71%, accuracy rates range from 48% to 90%.(10)

Was Courtney's accuser (El Duce) under the influence of alcohol when Courtney made the alleged statements? They were in a bar, and El Duce was a heavy drinker. If he was this could effect the results of the polygraph test. (11) The study in question and several studies I have seen seem to cast uncertainty on what the effects of alcohol would be during a polygraph exam.

Polygraphs are accepted by some as a scientific way of extracting the truth. Yet all a polygraph can do is measure reactions. As I partially pointed out here multitude of things could effect someone reaction to questions. This quote seems most relevant when considering polygraphic evidence, "The ever expanding dependency on this pseudoscientific technique in the face of reason and evidence , implies an alarming degree if irrationality among decision makers, in the criminal justice system and even the highest levels of government. " (12)

So much for hard scientific evidence. If the conspiracy theorist have real proof aside from rumor, innuendo, speculation, and or just not liking Courtney because "she's a"bitch" then present it.

Polygraph information links

Anti Poly Off site

American Psychological Association

To my cites

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