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Though I actually watch very little television, I’m a major Maury fan. Talk shows like Maury are very effective at bringing issues to light that are common to everyday people, and with bringing resolution or closure to those issues. The practices of utilizing polygraphs or lie detector [and DNA*] tests on guests [and generally] should be utilized with caution, however…

*I’ll discuss measures that should be utilized when conducting DNA tests in a subsequent post. Here, I’ll focus on the issue of polygraphs, or why they should be utilized with disclaimers acknowledging the possibility of false positive or negative results.

Polygraphs are designed to determine the likelihood that a tested individual is or is not telling the truth. Results are not definitive, and this should be communicated to talk show guests and others who are inclined to make particularly permanent decisions based on the results of polygraphs.

An individual who is calm, prepared, and definitively lying could pass a lie detector test, and, likewise, an individual who is nervous and reserved about disclosing certain definitive facts could fail a polygraph.

I cringe to think of the number of individuals who have remained in awful relationships or dissolved great relationships because of false positive or negative polygraphs.

Unless the talk shows, etc. resort to hiring private investigators to actually shadow suspected cheaters, etc. to prove subject suspicions, they should ascertain that guests and other relevant individuals understand that, though they may determine the likelihood of truth or lies being told, lie detector tests sometimes lie…

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