Could Eye-Tracking Replace Polygraph Tests?

17 Aug

I enjoyed this little story in AllAboutVision.com‘s monthly e-newsletter – Dr. John Henahan, Spectrum Eyecare

SALT LAKE CITY, August 2010 — University of Utah researchers and educational psychologists John Kircher, David Raskin and others on their team say they are the first to develop and test effective software and methods for tracking eye movement to detect lies, according to a press release.

The university has licensed the technology to Credibility Assessment Technologies (CAT), for commercialization.

Lie detection with polygraph testing measures a person’s emotional reaction to lying. But eye-tracking measures his or her cognitive reaction while reading and answering true-or-false questions on a computer.

The technology relies on the assumption that lying requires more work than telling the truth, so it looks for indications that the liar is working hard, such as dilated pupils and taking longer to read and answer the questions during the test. The test also measures reading and rereading time, as well as errors.

“We have gotten great results from our experiments,” said Kircher in the release. “They are as good as or better than the polygraph, and we are still in the early stages of this innovative new method to determine if someone is trying to deceive you.”

Eye tracking tests may cost less than polygraph tests, because they take much less time, can be available in any language and don’t require qualified polygraph examiners.

Dr. John Henahan is the founder of Spectrum Eyecare in Peachtree City, and has been a practicing optometrist since 1991.

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