Terms Relating to Lie Detectors Explained – Letter H
HabituationAdaptation to a stimulus over time. As an organism habituates to astimulus or environment, its response diminishes both in intensity andfrequency. In PDD, habituation has been found within tests, but little or nonebetween tests. See: Dollins, Cestaro, & Pettit (1998); Kircher, Raskin, & Honts(1984).Halo EffectTendency of an observer to be unduly influenced by a single trait of anindividual. This term was coined by Thorndike in 1920 in the context ofpsychological assessment. For the PDD examiner, it is a potential source oferror if subject-examiner interactions are factored into the final PDD decision.See: O’Sullivan (2003); Thorndike (1920).Heart RateRate of ventricular contractions, usually measured in beats per minute.It is one index of physiological arousal. Some recent research indicates thatafter stimulus onset, cardiac arousal takes the form of an immediate decreasein heart rate, if the response is an orienting response (OR). Heart rate and theinterbeat interval are reciprocals of one another.HertzTerm for frequency, in cycles per second. For example, a heart rate of 80beats per minute would equal 1.33 hertz. Frequency measures inpsychophysiology are often reported in hertz, particularly when identifyingengineering specifications of instrumentation. Named for German physicistHeinrich R. Hertz. Sometimes called cycles per second (cps).HgChemical symbol for the element mercury. Millimeters of mercury is thereference for measures of pressure, such as barometric and blood pressure.Conventional polygraph notation for air pressure in the sphygmomanometer isgauged in millimeters of mercury (i.e., 72 mm Hg). Hg stands for hydrargyrum,from Greek for water and silver. Sometimes called quicksilver.Hidden Comparison QuestionQuestion designed to evoke a response from a truthful person, butappears to be relevant to the examinee, and therefore its true purpose isconcealed. Useful for testing victims or those knowledgeable in CQT formats.Sometimes called disguised comparison question.Hidden KeyCritical item in the Known Solution Peak of Tension test. It is calledhidden because it is not known to be the critical question to the innocentexaminee, and it is embedded in a list of apparently similar questions. There isone key per test.Hobson’s ChoiceAn expression referring to an apparently free choice that offers nogenuine alternative. It was named after Thomas Hobson, a stable owner in the16th century, who offered patrons the horse nearest the door, or none at all.For Hobson’s customers, there was the illusion of choice, but no actualoptions. Hobson’s Choice is used in polygraphy when the probable-liequestions are developed in the pretest interview. The examinee feels as if he orshe must pass this question to pass the examination. During the pretestinterview the question is presented and refined until the examinee chooses todeceive rather than to accept the much less desirable option of acknowledgingsocially proscribed behaviors. Truthfulness is not a true choice in thatcircumstance, and therefore the examinee’s decision to lie is based not on afree choice but on a Hobson’s Choice. The lack of alternatives or “escapes,”which is associated with a state of “learned helplessness,” may be a mechanismin the arousal level. See: Vendemia (2002).HomeostasisHomeostasis is a term used within the scientific community to describethe maintenance of the internal viability of organisms. The word homeostasisis derived from the Greek homeo, means “same,” while stasis means “stable;”thus, “remaining stable by staying the same.” Walter Cannon coined the term“homeostasis” to refer to the processes by which constancy of the fluid matrixis maintained. Claude Bernard declared “All the vital mechanisms have onlyone object, to preserve constant the condition of the internal environment.”Studies in physiology and medicine have interpreted that statement to meancertain aspects of the internal milieu are fixed at a specific set point. Thehistorical concept of homeostasis is the basis of modern concepts of autonomicregulation and control. Also see allostasis.Hope of ErrorConcept introduced by James Matte, and a central component of hisQuadri-Track Technique. Because guilty examinees usually stand to losesomething of importance if their deceptions are uncovered by the polygraph,Matte argues that they are hopeful that there will be an error in the outcome.Alternatively, truthful subject are being deceptive to probable lie comparisonquestions, and they too might be hopeful for an error to occur. During testingMatte includes a direct question regarding the examinee’s hope of an error, andscores the question as a relevant question. See: Matte (1996); Matte & Reuss(1989); Nelson & Cushman, (2011).Horizontal Scoring SystemA method devised by Gordon and Cochetti in the 1980s. All responseswithin each channel are ranked from largest to smallest; ranks assigned tocomparison questions are given positive values, while those to relevantquestions receive negative values. For example, if a test had three each ofrelevant and comparison questions, and the magnitude of the responses in agiven channel resulted in an order of R3, R1, C1, R2, C3, and C2, their valueswould be designated as -6, -5, +4, -3, +2, and +1, respectively. This method isrepeated for all channels in all tests and then summed for a grand total.Thresholds suggested by Gordon and Cochetti were two points per relevantquestion per test, and a minimum of two tests. Because of the rankingapproach, this scoring system may be limited to single-issue testing situations.Additionally, some of the diagnostic criteria and transformation procedureshave not been shown to be empirically supported. See: Gordon (1999); Gordon& Cochetti (1987); Gordon, Mohamed, Faro, Platek, Ahmad & Williams (2005);Krapohl, Gordon & Lombardi (2008); Nelson & Handler (2011).Hot QuestionsInformal parlance for the relevant questions.HydrosphygmographDevice used by Cesare Lombroso at the end of the 19th century to detectchanges in blood pressure during deception, though the hydrosphygmographthat had been invented years earlier for medical purposes. It consisted of acontainer of water and a rubber seal through which an examinee’s fist was placed into the water. Once the container was sealed, changes in relative bloodvolume changes were transferred to the closed system and could be recordedwith tubing leading to a recording pen that wrote on a smoked drum. This isthe first mechanical device reported in the literature used specifically fordeception tests. See: Trovillo (1939).HyperventilationIncrease in rate and depth of respiration.HypnosisAltered state of consciousness in which the subject is very receptive tosuggestion and direction. Hypnosis has been a concern to PDD practitionersbecause it is thought to be a possible undetectable countermeasure. In ahighly suggestible state, guilty subjects could conceivably have memories oftheir crimes blocked, altered, or replaced so that physiologic responsivenesswould be unreliable for diagnosing deception. It could also be used to enhancedesensitization training, or autonomic conditioning. The little research onhypnosis has not conclusively settled the issue. See: Weinstein, Abrams, &Gibbons (1970); Timm (1991).Hypothenar EminenceProminence on the palm corresponding with the musculature of the littlefinger. One of the most productive recording sites, along with the thenareminence, for electrodermal activity. See Handler, Nelson, Krapohl & Honts(2010).
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