Forget the Evidence, Just Give Me A Polygraph

“I’ll take a lie detector test just to prove my innocence”, the man yelled in defense of his position. And we hear that phrase a great deal, especially on TV legal drama programs.

The man takes the lie detector test and after a few questions, the test operator turns to the head detective and says, “this man is telling the truth.”

Well, yes and no.

The lie detector can’t really tell a truth from a lie. And if you (the person being questioned) truly believe that which has happened to be true, even if it’s been wholly fabricated, the lie detector will in fact shows signs of you being truthful.

Did you know lie detector tests (polygraphs) are not admissible in criminal trials? And in Indiana are only admissible under stipulation and by discretion of the court.

Here’s why…a polygraph (although deemed up to 85% accurate by certain studies) has no real capacity for telling the truth or if a statement is false – they measure biological processes such as blood pressure and heart rate. When hooked up to a lie detector test, sensors are placed on your fingers, chest and even your forehead which monitor your body’s response to certain questions.

Usually the test operator starts off with basic questions asking your name, where you live, your occupation. These questions are supposed to create a baseline, which then will be used to compare to the responses of additional questions.

Then the test operator asks some challenging questions, ones that are designed to get you to review detailed answers or create confusion with your replies.

Then the needle measuring your response goes wild and the operator makes a note on the readings indicating maybe you lied or was it you felt pressured or you were nervous. The machine will interpret your nervousness or sweating or even the temperature change of your skin as an indication of your guilt. Maybe you were nervous being hooked up to a machine or being scrutinized in that fashion … and now you’re guilty. See the problem.

And, if your memory has been manipulated nothing you say will be a lie so your blood pressure or heart rate will not spike. Now you’re probably thinking… “manipulated”, right? And you’re wondering, what that’s all about?

Memory is pliable, memories can be altered, details added later and some events fabricated.

People under hypnosis can be implanted with false memories. And they recall events as if they were there in that moment, yet the event never really happened. And people who suffer traumatic experiences (injuries, assaults, accidents, war) may create false memories to protect themselves, to shield themselves from remembering what actually happened.

If it came down to memory recall the person who was able to share the more vivid, more detailed memories would garner the more favorable result … a win.

It gets worse. In a Wall Street Journal commentary on Sept. 24, 2018, writer R. McKenzie pointed to a study where it was relatively easy to “implant” false memories in a significant number of lab subjects by showing them an official-looking poster of Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny. When questioned later, many subjects remembered meeting Bugs Bunny on a childhood trip to Disneyland. Some even reported that Bugs had touched them inappropriately. … Here it comes … that memory could not possibly be legitimate. Bugs Bunny is not a Disney character.

If Lawyers, Judges or Juries were to make decisions based solely on the recall of someone’s memory, the one who remembers the most would win every time regardless if they were innocent or not.

This is why evidence is so important. Evidence tells the story better than our memories do.

If you or a loved one was been hurt through the negligent care of your doctor, or harmed while employed or injured by a careless or drunk driver preserving evidence, locating witnesses, taking notes and photographs is paramount.

If your claim happened in Indiana and you believe you need legal representation, pick up the phone and call The Law Offices Of David W Holub at (219)736-9700 today. Our professional and friendly lawyers will listen and let you know if your case has merit to proceed further.

The Law Offices of David W. Holub is a personal injury law firm located in Merrillville, Indiana, focused on providing efficient and effective client-centered representation. Our mission is to provide top quality legal representation, which includes an uncompromising pursuit of our client’s legal interests, while being accessible and attentive to our clients during times of personal challenge.

The firm concentrates in personal injury cases of all types, medical malpractice, and wrongful death litigation. We work tirelessly to serve each client aggressively and with empathy, to communicate regularly and clearly, and to obtain prompt and favorable results, while adhering to the highest standards of excellence and integrity. Our team considers it a high honor to be called upon to serve our clients whom we often come to regard as our friends.