establishment psycho-bunk 1
a briefing document
otherwise known as complete bunkum
|establishment psycho-bunk is a sub-set of documents, within this document set. This document set shows how to apply empiric reasoning to social and psychological problems..|
|establishment psycho-bunk 2 —Ritalin and junk science||Intelligence: misuse and abuse of statistics||drugs, smoking and addiction|
|establishment psycho-bunk 3 —dyslexia||
||establishment psycho-bunk||cause, chance and Bayesian statistics|
|establishment psycho-bunk 4 —the myth of repressed memory||misuse and corruption in science|
empiric reasoning documents, start with
Why Aristotelian logic does not work
|psycho-bunk 5 —what is memory, or intelligence? Incautious claims of ‘IQ’ genes|
|psycho-bunk 6—‘traumatic’ ‘syndromes’ or ‘curing’ P.E.S.Ts|
what is a lie?
dishonesty-detecting textual analysis program cited in national election campaign
to report on lie detection
Thelie detection report is full of words and music, but amounts to what is widely known among sophisticates: lie detection is a nonsense.
There is a story of some small town miscreant arrested by police as a
suspect. The sheriff took out a colander and placed it on the suspects
head. He then led a couple of wires to a copier machine on which had been
placed, unknown to the suspect, a sheet of paper with the words, he
is lying, in large bold print.
False confessions are surprisingly easy to wring from foolish and uneducated people. Lie detection only works, in as much as it does, by the fact that many foolish people believe it does.
All the machinery detects is tension, nothing else. Naturally, if you are being questioned for a serious crime you will be tense, whether you dun it or not. The 57 studies upon which the report relies are all laboratory tests where those being tested are playing a game. They are not studies related to real-world situations.
This is all the expensive 300+ page report tells you, but professionals cant really be paid to sit on a committee and produce a report if they just say, it is bunk; hence 300+ pages. And no-one becomes a member of such a committee by telling the paymaster in advance that it is all bunk.
Such is the politics of science and associated government waste. Such are the research grants that enable people to do the dozens of studies quoted in the report. Such are the vested interests who provide the lie detection services and those who manufacture the machines. The lie detection industry profits well from the sale of their high-priced, high-margin paraphernalia. Even the small players do well: machines (two tins and a simple galvanometer) used by scientologists, among others, are sold at a considerable price.
In primitive tribes, the witch doctor would dole out bunches of leaves to be chewed, for the same purpose, relying upon the possibility that the guilty party would have a dry mouth from fear, and thus would not wet up the wodge.
How long does it take humans to act rationally? Lie-detectors, and all their fancy brothers, do not detect lies. They only detect tension. Lie-detectors can no more read minds than you can.
Humans are exceedingly good at lying, they also easily become tense. They are also often very ready to believe bunkum. They are also very good at fooling themselves that they are good at things when there is no evidence to support the assumption. Humans can even fool themselves into believing they are good at detecting lies, especially if they have some bits of machinery and a few dials to help them. But, in reality, you might just as well peer into a crystal ball, or use a colander, it would be as much use.
You can even buy a copy of this report for around $40, if you havent found some moderately introspective pigeon to tell you the results in advance, in far fewer and shorter words, that lie detection is simple snake oil.
But dont tell anyone, or lie detection might not continue to be a useful deterrent.
Quite apart from these logical difficulties with detecting lies, understanding the meaning of the word lie is extremely complex. Here is some fairly detached logic; here are some points on the unreliability of memory; and here is text which discusses relevant pragmatics associated with lying, attend particularly to practical ethics.
There is a tremendous drive in humans to believe that they understand, or can do things, which, to put it lightly, they cannot. There is a terrible inclination to confuse an ability to guess right some of the time with an ability to know that which they cannot know. In my view, the author of Telling Lies has such a problem. However, the book does cover fairly thoroughly the subject of relationships between dissembling, human emoting and facial expression. This is the best book I know on this area, and the author has spent a very long time studying the problems.
This book, like so much that is written in the social sciences, is appalling in its disorganisation and lack of clarity of expression, but is probably what you are stuck with in the present level of development of academic writing on this subject.
Building on the work of Ekman, though it is not fully acknowledged, a Cambridge University group under Simon Baron-Cohen have produced DVD/CD-ROMs with actors trying to express emotions. The authors have attempted to break down human emotions into 24 sections, with 412 human emotionscontained amongst those 24 sections! This DVD (or 4 CD-ROMs) will be shipped to you for about £80! The compilation may be useful for actors, or for dedicated professionals, but it is not very well done and I cannot recommend it.
Ekman has spent much time, with colleagues, attempting to learn how to make forty-three facial muscles work independently from one another, in order to assess how easy or how difficult they are to control in the expression of emotion. His work is discussed, with what I regard as naive, journalistic hyperbole in an article, the Naked Face.
Like the book by Ekman, discussed above, this book also
is hardly written with the precision and clarity I would wish, but it gets
by and, for most people, will be worth the time and money expended.
email abelard at abelard.org
© abelard, 2003, 28 february
the address for this document is http://www.abelard.org/briefings/lie_detection.htm