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Justice Morand tended to be persuaded that while the principles that lay behind the physical testing channels may be sound, most polygraph equipment is a crude parody of such principles:
Nonetheless, the polygraph machine is clearly crude and its operators unsophisticated in using it as a scientific instrument. Even if polygraphy is based on valid principles, I am unimpressed with the primitive standards and lack of progress in the performance of what is called by its proponents a "science" (Morand Report, pp 243).
Since the physical evidence itself is apparently not coherent or unambiguous, its interpretation, based as it is on this quivering base, is bound to rely on very subjective information. It does.
7. The physical evidence leads to conclusions solely in the context of subjective polygraph testing sessions. Each polygraph operator finds new meaning in the marks on polygraph papers in relation to his or her impression of the subject. Apparently, polygraph operators cannot readily explain their interpretations, either:
Nonetheless, common sense tells me that if a line shoots upwards, then given some basic knowledge of the principles of the polygraph tests, even a layman such as myself could comprehend the explanation for its importance or unimportance. I was not impressed with the fact that any queries along this line were answered by the fact that it is simply self-evident to any trained polygraph operator that one line is significant and another is not... on many occasions, conflicting responses existed on different measures on a graph. The choice of which response was decisive appeared to be based largely on the impression of the subject that the examiner had formed after the pre-test interview (Morand Report, pp 253).
As suggested in point six (above), the physical measures and evidence from the polygraph machine are at best controversial; clearly the use to which the data is put has more relation to subjective impression and bias than it does to systematic deduction. Charitable terms fort his procedure would be circular reasoning, or perhaps divine inspiration.
A possible avenue of mitigation for the subjectivity of machine results would be the blind analysis of the results by someone other than the pre-test interviewer or test administrator. Such blind analysis is rare, partly because the machine output is too crude for such analysis, and partly because the blind analysis that is possible calls results into question.
Attempts to provide coherent explanation of the dubious physical evidence produces a controversy in its own right. There is no consistent way to find meaning in the physical evidence that is isolated from the subjective impressions of the tester, and it appears that the physical output from the machine is little more than a visual aid for the subjective conclusions drawn from amateur psychoanalysis and cross-examination undertaken before and during testing. The machine itself may, like a stage prop, add nothing more than effect to the entire procedure.
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