(Received 20 July 1977; accepted 31 October 1977)
Published Online: July
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Although the polygraph (“lie detector”) technique is frequently used for other purposes its major application is in criminal investigation and identification. In such applications even the harshest critics acknowledge the usefulness and potential of the technique . Nevertheless, there is still considerable controversy with respect to practitioners' claims that the technique has a nearly perfect validity [2,3]. The research reported to date, although suggestive of very high validity, does not compellingly demonstrate that the validity, at least in field situations, is as high as practitioners claim [4,5]. None of that research, however, whether laboratory- or field-based, examined the validity and utility of the polygraph technique in comparison to other commonly used methods of criminal identification. The need for such a comparison was made explicit by Reid and Inbau [6, p. v] in their claim that the polygraph technique “possesses a degree of accuracy commensurate with, and even superior to, most of the presently approved forms of evidence, scientific as well as non-scientific, that feature in criminal and civil trials.”
Assistant professor, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.
Associate professor, Uniwersytet Jagiellonski, Instytut-Prawa Karnego, Krakow,
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