Although the lie detector is used in police work, the similarity of physical changes caused by stress and such emotional factors as feelings of guilt to changes caused by lies has made its evidence for the most part legally unacceptable. An assessment of such devices by National Research Council (an arm of the National Academy of Sciences ) found that they also were too unreliable to be used in screening for national security purposes, but they are widely used for such purposes nonetheless, sometimes with inconsistent results from one government agency to another. The use of lie detectors to screen employees and job applicants is highly controversial.
See E. B. Block, Lie Detectors, Their History and Use (1977); C. Gugas, The Silent Witness (1979); D. T. Lykken, A Tremor in the Blood (1981); K. Alder, The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession (2007).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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