Paul’s Perambulations

November 14, 2013

I confess! I did it! I studied polygraphs and taught others about it in General Psychology.

Filed under: Education,Peace,Politics,Work — admin @ 11:24 pm

1) Use of polygraphs was outlawed by our government a few decades ago because of the high error rate, particularly false positives that identified innocent people as likely liars. Significantly, after declaring this, government made an exception for government itself.
2) Traditional polygraphs are on the way to becoming  outdated and replaced/augmented  by specialized fMRI measures and the like that can do much better. This is a subject of much research (who says research is “pure” – It is paid for by corporations and government…same thing… mostly for their own interests). This is truly scary, and will be controlled by the state.
3) The current  instruments are not true “lie” detectors as such, but primarily stress/emotion detectors. This is a complex underlying issue, because a “lie” is a matter of conscious intent, not a matter of physical emotion per se. If you’re  delusional, you may pass with flying colors if you believe that you didn’t make the bomb but it was the aliens who took over your body (this example is way too extreme, but it memorably makes a general point). Or, are there ways we can willfully control our emotions?  This was the sort of stuff we were not supposed to consider or share according to the linked article, or else we’d wind up on somebody’s secret list.
4) However, our controllers have no interest in our academic proclivities. They want to know exactly what we have done in our lives and names of specific people we know. These devices are information gatherers that become established by evidence-based outcomes. They would likely occasionally help to hold off bombs and dangerous people, because the rulers could indeed get a few who were an actual threat to  their government along with all the the innocent false positives. In which case, we can be sure  they wouldn’t give a damn about the lives of all the false positives they had destroyed.
5) I used to cover this topic in General Psychology during the emotion section. Thus: A) I confess! I did it! Indeed, I sent away for information about “beating” the lie detector test, to see what they said and if it aligned with what I already knew professionally in the context of my proper academic work. Of course, what they said was basically the same as what was already available as public information in academic  publications, but now dumbed down and marketed to a definitely non-academic (to put it mildly) audience. I used to be on lists for a fair bit of paranoid far-right literature – I think we need to understand the range that exists in this country. Anyhow, B) I confess! I did it!  I used this topic for teaching and intellectual discussion in General Psychology. Of course, this being Villanova, my best arguments about science and rights and how would they feel about this, met with “Yawn” (I knew better than to put students in a little circles to discuss this – another very popular and very stupid idea in this instance).

6) So, judging by the linked article, whose secret lists am I on, and will they let me post on my blog and Facebook from my Re-education camp?

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