# Poligraph tests test resistance or conductance?

• RabbitWho
However, in reality, the correct answer is often the one that is most relevant to the situation at hand and makes the most sense. In this case, both resistance and conductance play a role in measuring different aspects of the body's response to stimuli. In summary, a polygraph test measures both skin resistance and conductance, as they are interconnected and both contribute to understanding the body's response.
RabbitWho

## Homework Statement

Question: "What does a polygraph test measure; skin resistance or conductance?"

To me this is two sides of the same coin and it seems it must be measuring both.

## The Attempt at a Solution

I thought that the person is acting as a resistor so I wrote down resistance, but the answer is conductance. I could just memorise the answer but I would like to understand why.

I'm a psychology student so please speak slowly and without assuming any basic knowledge.

You are correct, it is technically two sides of the same coin. Resistance and conductance are related as R = 1/G, where R is resistance (measured in units of Ohms) and G is conductance measured in units of Siemens, and 1 Siemen is 1/(1 Ohm).

In fields outside of pure physics or electronics, there is sometimes a tendency to make the "correct" answer one that is learned by wrote from the textbook.

## 1. What is a poligraph test and how does it measure resistance or conductance?

A poligraph test, also known as a lie detector test, is a tool used to measure physiological responses in a person while they are answering questions. These responses, such as changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing, are believed to indicate whether the person is telling the truth or lying. The test measures the resistance or conductance of the person's skin, which can change based on their emotional state.

## 2. How accurate are poligraph tests in detecting lies?

The accuracy of poligraph tests is a controversial topic. Some studies suggest that they are accurate up to 90%, while others argue that the accuracy is closer to 70%. The accuracy can also vary depending on the expertise of the examiner and the type of questions being asked.

## 3. Are poligraph tests admissible in court?

The admissibility of poligraph tests in court varies depending on the jurisdiction. In some places, they are not admissible as evidence because they are considered unreliable. In others, they may be allowed if both parties agree to use them.

## 4. Can a person cheat or manipulate a poligraph test?

It is possible for a person to manipulate or cheat a poligraph test. Techniques such as controlled breathing, muscle tensing, or taking medication beforehand can potentially alter the physiological responses and affect the results. However, trained examiners are trained to detect these attempts and can counteract them.

## 5. Are poligraph tests used for other purposes besides detecting lies?

While poligraph tests are most commonly associated with detecting lies, they can also be used for other purposes such as pre-employment screenings, criminal investigations, and even therapy sessions. They may also be used in certain government agencies for security clearance purposes.

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