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living lie detectors

Employ aphasics as assistant interviewers
  (+6, -2)
(+6, -2)
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Aphasics, people who have difficulty understanding words, have been shown to be very skilled at detecting lying. If they were present, or observed, they could identify falsehoods for interviewers to follow up. Useful for police, lawyers, employers, blind dates etc.
Fulmar, May 12 2000


       Interesting, but you might have trouble introducing this evidence into court unless you could prove that it worked and demonstrate why.
centauri, May 12 2000

       Wouldn't it also be hard to get them to understand who they should nark on, and so forth, since by hypothesis they have trouble understanding words? (Anyone know what sort of aphasia this is?)   

       If that could be overcome, however, then perhaps some police, private detectives, etc., will undergo operations to acquire this sort of aphasia.
cosma, May 18 2000

       Would you want to base a crucial decision on a system with a 30 percent error rate? Basically, people with this sort of aphasia seem to be about 70 percent accurate in identifying lies, compared to 50 percent for the rest of us. Interesting, but hardly good enough to use for much.
Redbird, May 19 2000

       Perhaps they do well simply because they don't understand the apparently sensible explanation or claim being made, but are obliged to decide on a statement's truthfulness instead by the much more accurate physical signs which a fibber gives off.   

       If it turns out that there's nothing spooky about this ability -- that it is not bestowed by important neurological differences (and it doesn't seem at all unlikely that it really is) -- then it would be much better and easier to train people to look specifically for signs of deception while wearing earplugs. If it was very important to detect liars, a large number of independent observers could be deployed, and then their collective verdict would perhaps carry a much higher statistical likelihood of being right, except in the case of very unusual liars, where it could all fall down. And, of course, the whole thing is silly because avoiding having to lie outright in situations where observers were present would usually be easy and it would be rather less popular with legal types and people in general than polygraphs, as well as being less accurate.
Monkfish, Nov 17 2000

       Not exactly baked, but see the chapter called "The President's Speech" in Oliver Sacks' book 'The man who mistook his wife for a hat'. The aphasics couldn't top laughing at the patently phony emotional overtones in the presidential address, while the tonal agnosics (oblivious to all but the precise literal meaning of the words) were conversely flummoxed by the imprecise use of language.
Basepair, Nov 17 2004


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