Using polygraph in criminal investigation: opinions of investigative units’ personnel

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Introduction. Using polygraph in criminal investigation still raises a lot of disputable questions in theory and problems of conducting examination and expertise in practice. The aim of the research was to analyze the investigators’ opinions regarding the practice and effective usage of polygraph in criminal investigation. The tasks were to study statistics of assigning the polygraph examinations and expertises; summarize the investigators’ attitudes toward effective usage of polygraph in solving crimes; analyze investigators’ opinions about the problems arising when polygraph examinations are assigned and conducted. Materials and Methods. The following methods were used: analysis of regulatory legal acts and scientific literature, questioning, mathematical processing of the results of the research. A questionnaire was devised which comprised over fifty questions concerning effectiveness of polygraph using in crime solution, investigators’ attitude toward this type of the examination and problems arising when polygraph examinations are assigned and conducted. The survey involved over 250 investigators from regional investigative directorates and investigative departments of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. Results and Discussion. The majority of the questioned investigators consider polygraph method rather effective, trust the results of the polygraph examinations and employ them in their practical work. Moreover, half of them believe that the results of polygraph examinations must be admitted as evidence. However, due to the inconsistency with another evidence on the case they frequently force the investigators to use these results only as directing information. Serious obstacles for increasing the effectiveness of polygraph examinations in criminal investigation and crime solution are the complex organization of this type of examination and expertises, citizens’ refusal to undergo a polygraph examination, as well as courts’ refusal to admit the results of polygraph examinations and expertises as evidence. Conclusions. Polygraph examination is a psychological experiment according to its subject, objects and methods, therefore it is necessary to theoretically and methodically develop it with regard to psychological diagnostics, experimental psychology and forensic psychological expertise, which will help to overcome a lot of disagreements between scientists and practitioners over polygraph problems existing at present.


Polygraph, criminal investigation, psychophysiological examination, forensic psychological expertise

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IDR: 149125084   |   DOI: 10.24411/1999-6241-2020-13006

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