Lie Test: Bush 57, Gore 23

Tell your last lie now. A new portable polygraph meant for consumer use is said to be able to snag eight out of 10 tall tales simply by analyzing the stress levels in the fibber’s voice.

Tell your last lie now. A new portable polygraph meant for consumer use is said to be able to snag eight out of 10 tall tales simply by analyzing the stress levels in the fibber’s voice.

The “Handy Truster” can be plugged mobile phones and landlines, or used surreptitiously during face-to-face conversations.

The device, priced at about $50 (£35), indicates lies by way of an apple icon on its display screen.

If the speaker is telling the truth, then the apple remains pristine. If the speaker is evasive, then the apple looks half-eaten. And if a speaker is spinning a complicated and fanciful tale, then with each successive fib another bite is removed from the apple.

An immediate transformation to a fully gnawed apple core signifies a big, honking lie.

“It may sound like another stupid gadget, but the technology behind it is real,” said Salvatore DeVecchio, a retired New York City police officer who now works as a private detective.

The Handy Truster uses technology that was originally developed for the Israeli military by Trustech, a software developer in Herzliya, Israel that makes vocal analysis software primarily for use in the legal and governmental areas.

During the presidential debates, Truster Technology was used on Al Gore and George W. Bush by Time magazine reporters. Truster said Bush told 57 lies and Gore 23 during the three debates, according to the voice analysis.

DeVecchio said that voice-based polygraph analysis is a more accurate indicator of lying than standard polygraphs are.

Jonathan Shapiro, a Manhattan criminal lawyer, agreed. “Polygraphs all measure physical responses and some people can control those responses,” he said. “And those who are the most skilled at lying typically are also the best at suppressing their unconscious responses to those lies.”

“But the human voice is much harder to control mostly because people who aren’t professionally trained in how to use their voices, such as singers or actors, simply aren’t able to control their vocal cords,” Shapiro continued. “Most of us are more accustomed to dealing with the other physical symptoms of stress, like rapid heart rate and sweating, and can control them to some degree or another.”

Truster’s technology mathematically calculates the stress levels in a human voice which change due to reduced blood flow to the vocal cords when someone is lying.

“Basically, due to varied and typical physiological changes due to stress, blood flow to the vocal cords would be restricted somewhat when people lie. So, yes, that could affect subtle changes in their vocal patterns,” said Dr. Avery Adams of St. Luke Roosevelt Hospital in New York.

DeVecchio cautions that the technology should not be trusted implicitly. That’s a sentiment that is echoed by its manufacturers, who recommend using the product only as a “decision-support tool” and strongly suggest that people use their common sense in analyzing the results.

DeVecchio also pointed out that people can test false if they are “sincere but secretly doubtful.”

“If they say, for example, that they are going to love you forever, but on some level they sort of have doubts about the whole concept of long-lasting love, then what they are saying may register as a lie. So you need to factor the polygraph information into a total picture,” DeVecchio said.

The Handy Truster also needs to be calibrated against the sound of a truthful statement by a specific speaker, a procedure that can take at least 30 seconds.

“Look, I wouldn’t use this Truster thing to make life-altering decisions, OK?” said Delvecchio. “But people certainly view you differently when they think they are being clever and you catch ’em and alert them to their bullshit.”

“Still, you really don’t want to accuse them unless you’re totally sure they are lying, because some people are really sensitive about stuff like that.”

Author: Michelle Delio

News Service: Wired News


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