Doubt Surrounds Utah Company’s Truth-Telling Technology

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While Utah company Converus says that their product EyeDetect, a lie-detection test based on eye movements, can decipher truth far better than the much older and mostly discredited polygraph, critics argue that human truth-telling is too subtle for any data set and that relying on this new device could lead to either punishing the innocent or shielding the guilty, reports the Washington Post. Where the polygraph measures blood pressure, breathing and sweat to determine untruths, EyeDetect looks at factors like pupil dilation and the rapidity of eye movement.

EyeDetect’s accuracy rate is determined by a simulated-crime interrogation. A group of “innocent” and “guilty” subjects are told whether to commit a simulated crime of petty cash theft in a manufactured environment and then administered the ocular test. Law-enforcement customers say the system is better than a traditional polygraph. The machine has been used by  by law enforcement or corrections departments in states including Idaho, New Hampshire, Washington, Utah, Ohio, and Connecticut. Critics argue that even if eye movements are fundamentally different under different sets of circumstances, there’s no way to link them to lying: the difference could just have to do with the fact that the subject is nervously taking a test. “People have been trying to make these predictions for a long time,” said Leonard Saxe, a psychologist at Brandeis University who has conducted some of the leading research in the field of truth-detection. “But the science has not progressed much in 100 years.” Additional reading: Do We Need the Polygraph to Protect Our Borders? The Crime Report, Oct 14, 2021

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