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As I write in my book, "Communication Research" (2003; p 411; Allyn & Bacon), "[Lykken's] book should receive a Pulitzer prize. It is must reading for anyone who has an association with lie detectors or polygraphs ...or for anyone who would like to go on an intellectual joy ride while swooping to an understanding of how an entire society can be duped by pseudo "science." Lyken reviews virtually all known research about lie detection with brilliant scientific rigor. He concludes [as does the National Academy of Sciences in a recently published independent report] that there exists no credible empirical evidence"... for the test's validity (Hocking et. al.; 2003; p 411; Allyn & Bacon).
I challenge anyone to read Lykken's review of polygraph research and disagree with his conclusion that "it is madness for courts or federal police or security agencies to rely on polygraph results" or that the mythology surrounding the test is a deeply entrenched mythology similar to children believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny (p 279 - Lyyken).
Lykken's book is written with the rigor and documentation of a first rate college text, yet is fascinating and readable. It is an important work, one of the best and most valuable books I have read in 30 years of teaching social research methodologoly at the university level.
Five stars are not enough to do Professor Lyyken's work justice.
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