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Yet, while individual variation is ignored in the use of standard questions, the tendency is to err on the side of guilt when individual traits emerge:

Of course, if the subject is not aroused, little or no reaction will show on the graph and it will be possible and even likely that a comparatively greater response will be indicated on the critical questions. Mr. Reid was asked how a lack of response to a control question would be an indication of deceptive behaviour (Morand Report, pp 224). Yet polygraph operators insist that it is possible to establish an accurate enough reading of a subject's mental profile so that subjects will react in a similar enough manner to control questions and critical questions that they can accurately identify lies. Justice Morand remained unconvinced:

In my opinion, there is a real possibility that many innocent persons would be unconcerned with what has been suggested to me are good control questions in comparison with the actual accusation. I have no doubt that some people do react as polygraph operators insist they must, but I am not convinced that this latter group of people would be an overwhelming proportion of our population (Morand Report, pp 225).

Without that reliable comparability between control questions and questions asked during the body of the test, any conclusions about falsehood, duplicity or guilt are spurious and indefensible.

4. Fundamental to effective testing is the credibility of the testing procedure in the eyes of the subject. The pre-test interview, the control questions, and such arcane procedure as the marked card are primarily meant to convince the person undergoing a polygraph that if he or she lies, the polygraph will detect the falsehood. Yet if the subject has knowledge of behaviour or of polygraph testing, it is unlikely that the person being testing will believe that is the case. Opinions vary among experts interviewed by the Morand Commission about whether intelligent or well-educated people, however one might define such terms, are more or less likely to believe in polygraph testing. But evidence is that credibility with the subject is essential.

Clearly, subjects who distrust the polygraph, or do not care what the polygraph output reveals will not be good subjects for the test and will discredit the evidence in their testing procedures, even in the eyes of polygraph supporters. As Morand says:

...the polygraph, which is usually presented as a psychological test of deception using various psychological inputs is, in fact, a psychological test, because psychological emphasis affects it radically. (Morand Report, pp 227).

And of course that emphasis is not systematized in polygraph procedures generally, and so one polygraph test will not necessarily corroborate with the results of another, or both tests may not in fact accurately detect the same sources of apparent anxiety.


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