The U.S. Department of Defense has changed the way it uses polygraph
tests (lie detector equipment). These tests, given mainly to people working for
the government, will now be supplemented by additional techniques. This has
produced a new term for "line detector test." Now it's a "Credibility
new techniques are basically skills that some people have naturally, but
repackaged so they can be taught quickly. An example of existing skills can be
found in poker players who can detect another players "tells." When a player
gets very good, or bad, cards, or is bluffing, they usually exhibit a unique
physical sign, or "tell." Some players are very good at avoiding tells, and are
thus said to have a "poker face."
example of these new techniques can be found in the Israeli system passenger
screening system, called "observation and questioning." This approach has a
near perfect record in keeping Israeli commercial aircraft free from terrorist
attack. The system is based on the principal that anyone up to no-good will act
differently than innocent people. They will display a "tell."
Screeners are taught what signs to look for, and the types of questions that
will elicit a response that confirms the assessment.
downside is that the system is time consuming. For about 90 percent of the
people screened, it takes less than a minute. But for one or two percent, it
can take an hour. The rest fall in between those two extremes. Airlines don't
like to delay passengers this long. The Israeli method is also labor intensive,
and the labor is expensive. The preferred screeners are above-average college
grads, who have to successfully complete a nine week training course. Even
then, the Israeli find that most screeners only last three to five years, because
of the grueling demands of the work. Since September 11, 2001, many more
nations have adopted the Israeli system, but few have applied it as widely as
the Israelis. The system does work, with many terrorists, or criminals up to no
good, getting nabbed.
of these new techniques must, for obvious reasons, be kept secret. But the
stuff does work. Some people are able to fool polygraph machines, and some can
fool "observation and questioning" type tests. But far fewer people can fool
all these techniques.