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Humans react differently from one another, and they react differently at different times, even if the environment is apparently unchanged. As Justice Morand says:
Even if the environment can be so controlled that the only stimulus is the test question, the evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that the mental processes resulting in physiological change are prompted by complex and often unconscious reactions to a stimulus that is, in part, the arousal value of the question, the test itself and, of course the tensions and fears concerning the situation that has required the subject to take the test in the first place. In order to determine whether a response is significant, the operator must perform a complicated psychological analysis of the many inferences at work and this, of course, includes the particular mental makeup of the individual subject Morand Report, pp 222).
Certainly, the examiner is in the position of trying to discount or filter out so many extraneous factors from the physical evidence of the polygraph test that in the end, he or she seems to have little reliable physical or empirical evidence that is not warped by subjective factors. The examiner is then left to develop subjective and arbitrary value judgments on already compromised data. So much for scientific integrity!
3. Control questions, which are used to establish a patter of reaction by the subject to truth and lies, must have equal arousal value in the critical questions in the last phase of the test. This is necessary for comparability of arousal level in the two machine test phases. The examiner does this to determine whether the subject is lying in the face of questions pertinent to the case at hand. However, even the procedure for choosing the questions is subjective because it depends on the examiner's ability to select appropriate questions.
There are serious questions about whether examiners have such skills, and whether it is possible to expect a person to react in the same way to preliminary questions and when the main part of the test is obviously under way. Further, it is obvious that these control questions have to be individually tailored ot the psychological makeup of the subject. Yet it appears that the common practice is to use standard control questions that ignore different responses across individuals.
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