skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 220562 Find in a Library
Title: Polygraph Terms for the 21st Century
Journal: Polygraph  Volume:36  Issue:3  Dated:2007  Pages:157-164
Author(s): Mark Handler; Raymond Nelson
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 8
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper explores the phenomena described as “psychological set” and “anti-climax dampening concept” outside the polygraph dictionary for more prudent terms, with the intent to propose a modernization of the language to align it with mainstream terms and concepts.
Abstract: “Psychological set” and other terms such as “GSR”, “control questions” and “stim tests” are idiomatic jargon used within the polygraph profession, and should be discarded in favor of more generally accepted and empirically supported constructs. The expressions “psychological set” and “anti-climax dampening concept” do not convey their meaning in common terms to those outside the polygraph community. This does not mean that these expressions are by definition wrong, but only that the concepts are already captured in more modern language. The term salience is more widely understood in the scientific literature and its use by the polygraph profession will serve to garner more respect than the use of jargon. Salience has the distinct advantage of both explaining the phenomena and having a more universally recognizable meaning. If the polygraph profession is in pursuit of general acceptance, it must be prepared to replace its idioms with language and constructs that have more in common with other sciences. Salience is an important step in that direction. The polygraph has long been relied upon as a decision support tool, and the science of polygraph testing is best understood in a vocabulary in common with the related sciences of psychology, physiology, and psychophysiology. More courts are recognizing polygraph professionals as experts, and accepting testimony. Adjudicators and others rely on input from examiners when making decisions. This requires the assurance that testimony is based on scientific evidence and scientific theories. This evidence requires the professionals involved in the discipline of forensic psychophysiological detection of deception (PDD) to embrace the more commonly accepted vocabularies of the fields of psychology, physiology, and psychophysiology. References
Main Term(s): Polygraphs
Index Term(s): Jargon; Languages
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.