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The Polygraph and Lie Detection
aspects of the situation”) were more physiologically responsive when “guilty” than when “innocent.”
Other studies have failed to find effects of normal personality variation on polygraph accuracy. For example, Bradley and Rettinger (1992) found no differences with respect to polygraph detection of deception between subjects high and low in their propensity to monitor their own social demeanor. Gudjonsson (1982) found no consistent overall relationships between personality traits assessed by a battery of personality inventories (i.e., Eysenck Personality Inventory, Gough Socialization Scale, and the Arrow-Dot Test) and detection of deception using a concealed information test for normal or personality-disordered individuals.
Regarding psychopathy, Hammond (1980) found no differences in the detectability of deception using a mock crime scenario among normal individuals, alcoholics, and psychopaths. Similarly, neither Raskin and Hare (1978) nor Patrick and Iacono (1989) found any differences in the detectability of deception between psychopathic and nonpsychopathic prison inmates.
Although consistent personality effects on polygraph accuracy have not been found, it would be premature to conclude that personality traits in general have little effect: two studies did find such relationships, there is a paucity of relevant high-quality research, and the statistical power of the studies to find moderating effects if they exist is quite limited.
Sociocultural Group Identity
In Chapter 3 we discuss empirically supported theories relating physiological responses, including responses measured by the polygraph, to the interpersonal context. These theories have existed in the basic social psychological and sociological literature for some time (e.g., Goffman, 1963; Blascovich et al., 2000). The theories and associated research (Blascovich et al., 2001a) suggest that apparent stigmatizing qualities (e.g., race, age, gender, physical abnormalities, socioeconomic status) of the participants in situations like polygraph examinations might affect polygraph test results. However, relatively little work has been done to test these theories in the context of polygraph examiner-examinee interactions. There is some polygraph research bearing on the effects of sociocultural group identity, however. Some studies have reported polygraph accuracy as a function of the gender of examinees, fewer have reported on the race of examinees, and almost none on ethnicity. Only a few studies have data bearing on gender and race in combination, and only two have considered examiner and examinee characteristics in combination. As with the research on personality differences, the studies vary substantially in their internal and external validity.