The Resurgence of Polygraph “Lie-Detection” in an age of Evidence-Based Medicine

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On Junk-Science in the Medical Profession


By Michael Lawrence Langan MD


If you are ever asked to take a polygraph test–don’t do it. Those involved in the criminal justice system, including lawyers, are largely uneducated in the realm of scientific scrutiny and experimental methodology.

They may not separate science and pseudo-science, and erroneously believe that the polygraph is an accurate scientific instrument. Their interactions are with polygraph examiners who proselytize its use, and they have little or no interaction with scientists, psychologists, and physicians who refute its use.

Refuse to take the test and educate them. Cite the Frye Doctrine, go to the medical library, copy the scientific articles which belie its validity, and present them to whomever requested you to take the test. State that the principles and assumptions underlying polygraphy are not supported by our understanding of psychology, neurology, and physiology.

*** Polygraph_Test_-_Limestone_Technologies_Inc***

Junk-Science in the Medical Profession: The Resurgence of Polygraph “Lie-Detection” in an age of Evidence-Based Medicine.


Then, put the burden of proof on their heads. Tell them to present you with scientific evidence that corroborates the validity of the test. There is simply no rational basis for a machine to detect liars.


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About the Author

Dr. Langan graduated from Oregon Health Sciences University School Of Medicine, Portland Oregon with an MD 21 years ago. He had his residency training of Geriatric Medicine-Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medicine Center and Internal Medicine at St Vincent Hospital Medicine Center.


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3 Responses

  1. The Advancement Toward Personalized & Evidence-Based Medicine

    This article is the first in a four-part Health Capital Topics series focusing on the various public health issues associated with population health. This series describes the vital role population health plays in the healthcare industry and will highlight four emerging trends in population health. Both population health and clinical medicine are necessary partners in preserving an efficient and effective healthcare system, by integrating preventative measures into disease control and management.

    This article will discuss two of the emerging methods in population health management, personalized medicine, also referred to as individualized medicine, as well as evidence-based medicine.

    Click to access PM.pdf

    Robert James Cimasi MHA ASA FRICS MCBA CVA CMP™ CM&AA
    [Chief Executive Officer]


  2. Polygraphs

    I’m somewhat astounded to find polygraphs being used to any extent in 2015. Kudos for this helpful post.

    Jeffrey M. Hartman


  3. The POLY

    The one thing you need to know to pass a polygraph test.



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