Various polls in the past couple of years conducted by Ipsos MORI and others have shown that public trust in politicians is at an all-time low. We decided to conduct our own poll on Twitter and have been astonished by the participation. In just 3 days our poll attracted 15,358 votes and it has another 4 days to run. We asked “Should it be compulsory for politicians to take annual lie detector tests?” Currently 83 percent of participants say “yes”. 14 percent say “No” and 3 percent say “Don’t know”.
The poll has been retweeted 1.5k times and we have had 596 replies.
Questions to be asked
Many of those who replied wanted to know what questions would be asked, since there are so many. There are naturally a myriad of individual questions that people would like to know the answers to. However, what most would like to know is that those representing them are honest. The overwhelming consensus of opinion seems to be that they are not. So we asked our polygraph examiners to create a list of questions that politicians could be asked to establish their honesty or lack thereof.
Here are the questions that our examiners feel politicians should be asked:
- While in your elected position have you ever willingly been involved in fraud or corrupt business in order to benefit yourself?
- Have you personally benefited from any illegal or corrupt dealings while employed in government?
- While employed in your position have you known about illegal or unethical government dealings and not reported it?
- While employed in government have you ever intentionally not acted in the best interest of the people (your party)?
- Have you intentionally lied under oath / while representing the party?
- While employed in government have you used your political position to benefit yourself in private business dealings?
You will note that all questions require a yes/no answer. Polygraph examiners call these ‘close ended questions’.
In establishing the answers to the above if any politician answered in the affirmative it would be clear they were dishonest. The likelihood is that they wouldn’t confess in a pre-test interview and the polygraph examination is tasked with identifying deception. We believe a random test annually might restore some trust in politicians.
Cheating the polygraph
Some of the replies we got on Twitter included remarks that the polygraph test can be beaten. A quick search on Google will reveal thousands of pages dedicated to ‘How to beat a lie detector test’. Around the same amount of pages can be found featuring people who have tried to cheat the polygraph and failed miserably.
One test was conducted on National Geographic whereby the subject placed a drawing pin in his shoe and sprayed deodorant on his fingers. Since the polygraph detects physiological changes he thought that causing himself pain when answering all questions would fool the examiner and the polygraph. He also believed that the deodorant would stop his fingers sweating when attached to sensors. His test can be seen by clicking here together with the result. You will see that the subject did not pass the lie detector test which related to him having stolen a colleague’s games console.
Having learned result of the test, the subject makes an off the cuff remark that lie detector test evidence can’t be used in courts. However, since the police now use the polygraph for a variety of different reasons lie detector test results can steer investigations in new directions. They are also the cause of deeper investigation into the subject and his/her activities.
Accuracy of the polygraph
At Lie Detector Test UK we achieve 98 percent accuracy. It has often been said that a bad workman always blames his tools. However, in the case of the polygraph it is reliant on a fully trained, accredited and experienced examiner conducting the test. So the tool can’t be blamed, only the person operating it. Tests conducted by charlatans may very well be cheated.
In addition to the examiner other conditions have to be met. They include a controlled environment with no interruptions. We will not carry out polygraph examinations unless all the conditions are met.
Trust in politicians
With the ongoing debate about Brexit and criticism directed at all parties how is your trust in politicians? If you’d like to participate in our poll click on TwitterPoll