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Catch a Liar: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00322

Using polygraph to detect passengers carrying illegal items

 Runxin Yu1,  Si Jia Wu2, 3,  Audrey Huang2, Nathan Gold4,  Huaxiong Huang4, 5, Genyue Fu3* and  Kang Lee2*
  • 1Zhejiang Normal University, China
  • 2Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada
  • 3Hangzhou Normal University, China
  • 4York University, Canada
  • 5Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, University of Toronto, Canada

The present study examined the effectiveness of a Modified-Comparison Questions Technique, used in conjunction with the polygraph, to differentiate between common travelers, drug traffickers, and terrorists at transportation hubs. Two experiments were conducted using a mock crime paradigm. In Experiment 1, we randomly assigned 78 participants to either a drug condition, where they packed and lied about illicit drugs in their luggage, or a control condition, where they did not pack or lie about any illegal items. In Experiment 2, we randomly assigned 164 participants to one of the two conditions in Experiment 1 or an additional drug condition, where they packed and lied about a bomb in their luggage. For both experiments, we assessed participants’ RR interval, heart rate, peak-to-peak amplitude of Galvanic Skin Response and all three combined, using Discriminant Analyses to determine the classification accuracy of participants in each condition. In both experiments, we found decelerated heart rates and increased peak-to-peak amplitude of GSR in guilty participants when lying in response to questions regarding their crime. We also found accurate classifications of participants, in both Experiment 1 (drug vs control: 84.2% vs 82.5%) and Experiment 2 (drug vs control: 82:1% vs 95.1%; bomb vs control: 93.2% vs 95.1%; drug vs bomb: 92.3% vs 90.9%), above chance level. These findings indicate that Modified-CQT, in conjunction with the polygraph test, is a viable method for investigating suspects of drug trafficking and terrorism at transportation hubs such as train stations and airports.

Keywords: Lie Detection, Polygraph, comparison questions technique, Electrocardiagram (ECG), Galvanic Skin Respond (GSR)

Received: 15 Aug 2018; Accepted: 01 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Leonard J. Smart, Miami University, United States

Reviewed by:

Ioannis Pavlidis, University of Houston, United States
Muhammad J. Khan, National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan
M Raheel Bhutta, Sejong University, South Korea  

Copyright: © 2019 Yu, Wu, Huang, Gold, Huang, Fu and Lee. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Genyue Fu, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, fugenyue@hznu.edu.cn
Dr. Kang Lee, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, kang.lee@utoronto.ca