(Received 14 December 1972; accepted 1 March 1973)
Published Online: 01 October 1973
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In 1963, a subcommittee of the House Government Operations Committee, under the chairmanship of John E. Moss of California, was directed to investigate Federal use of the polygraph . They drew their conclusions from discussions with both researchers and examiners in the field; a review of the literature; and an evaluation of governmental usage of the polygraph. Two years later they presented their findings, which did not favor the continued use of this instrument. Their report indicated that, “There is no lie detector, neither machine nor human.” They further pointed out that this technique had not been proved to be valid in either laboratory research or actual criminal investigations. These statements, inevitably, have had an influence upon polygraph usage. The Federal Government has reduced its use of this technique, and labor unions have relied heavily upon these findings to argue against the employment of this instrument in business and industry. This is in spite of the fact that the polygraph has been demonstrated to aid in recovery of stolen money and material and to act as a deterrent to employee theft [2–4]. It can be assumed, also, that the Moss subcommittee report has influenced the jurists of this country, to the extent that polygraph evidence has generally been ruled inadmissible in the courts.
Clinical psychologist, Kaiser Foundation, Permanente Mental Health Clinic, Portland, Ore.
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