moments in entropy

The Moment Of Truth

Most of us know or have seen the reality TV show The Moment of Truth. It is a gameshow whereby contestants are required to answer a series of personal and embarrassing questions. If the contestant answers a question truthfully, he/she wins the corresponding amount of money and progresses to the next question, which gradually increases in difficulty (degree of personal nature). The contestant wins the jackpot of $500,000 upon answering all questions truthfully. Whether or not the answer is the truth is determined by a lie detector.

Prior to the actual show, the victim contestant is asked a set of about 50 questions while hooked up to a lie detector. The test is recorded, and is used as the reference to see if the contestant is being honest later during the show. At the show, the contestant is asked 21 of the same set of questions, without knowing the result of the polygraph test done earlier.

I think this is misleading. Lie detectors (or polygraphs) are not 100% reliable. It works on the concept that our bodies exhibit certain physiological responses when we lie. These physiological responses include blood pressure, pulse, respiration, breathing rhythms, body temperature and skin conductivity. These bodily changes are measured by the polygraph while being asked a series of questions.

The bodily changes can actually be controlled by the subject. If for example you are a hardcore professional liar, or just an uber passive person with a poker face as your normal face, maybe the polygraph test is no biggie for you. Controlling breathing, having a solid rest and being confident, plus a very good ability to do some damage control after answering the questions should be enough to win the jackpot. Heck you could probably conspire with your friends, relatives, partner, etc. before you join the show. The show is, anyway, all about the money.

But still, lying is bad. Your parents should have told you that already.

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