In the first experiment, researchers tested the subjectivity of polygraph examiners’ assessments. The specialist was given a specific name before the test began to do it. A polygraph is an instrument of an inevitable withdrawal of responsibility – from one’s subjectivity one goes to objectivity – to the machine that will check. At the same time, experts often do not double-check the device’s readings with their own eyes; they do not criticize and question it. Thus, if the examiner is not a professional and has an initial opinion of the suspect and the situation, he initially determines the prediction of the test in favor of the person mentioned earlier. In such a case, his other behavior may be incorrect and illiterate towards the person being questioned.
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The lie detector does not show whether a person is lying or not lying; it only shows the reaction to a specific stimulus. This reaction is involuntary and difficult to control and manifests itself in various physiological indicators. In addition, incorrect question wording can distort the results. This experiment confirms that when polygraph examiners are pointed to a false suspect before the investigation, their subjective assessment can influence question-wording, further evaluate the results, and their interpretation. This test is competently designed and shows that even an innocent suspect can imagine the consequences if he or she is found guilty of a crime, affecting emotions.
This experiment demonstrates that, despite the long history of lie detector use, there is not enough data to show that it is possible to know with a high degree of accuracy whether a person is lying or not. The specific nature of the polygraph is that a state of fear characterizes many candidates for the examination. The task of a qualified professional is to explain a polygraph examination to all candidates in a strictly individual, as honest, and lucid manner as possible and to treat the results of the test without prejudice.
The following case study examines a situation related to the property of memory to forget bad events and to be able to delegate them. In this case study, there is an explanation that people are quick to forget a situation that lasted longer but brought less danger than shorter but more violent. In the context of the virus, it is the mortality rate that matters to people. One of the largest epidemics in history occurred in 1918, the Spanish influenza pandemic. Although the pandemic was massive, people were reassured by the low mortality rate. Where there is a chance of cure, there is always hope. This method of explanation is based on comparisons and people’s attitudes both in the past and in the present.
Outside the body, the virus can survive for a short time, so people need to live close to each other to spread; it was the case with the Ebola virus epidemic. The COVID-19 epidemic is massive, but Ebola was scarier for humans. The current pandemic cannot even be closely compared to it because the mortality from Ebola was very high. After that, it was slightly reduced, but in any case, it is incomparable and not comparable with the COVID-19 epidemic in terms of mortality – the number of deaths of the number of issues.
At the same time, it is rather challenging to determine people’s different perceptions of the COVID-19 situation. The pandemic has received and continues to receive a fair amount of publicity in the modern world. For more than a year now, the topic has been front-page news, although vaccines are being developed, and the death rate is far from being a record. The phenomenon can be explained by the fact that, in recent years, the influence of social media has grown considerably. People have access to all kinds of information and can search and analyze it on their own. Thus, this pandemic can be permanently imprinted on people’s memories and the vast expanses of the Internet.
The last case study deals with a situation where the explanation is misleading and close to pseudoscience. Pseudoscience can be described as activities or teachings that are presented by proponents as scientific but are not. That is, they are claims that have no rational evidence or validity. In this example, this fallacy is that the penny that ended up at the bottom of the box is a “sign of destiny,” and its appearance cannot be logically explained.
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The heroine of the story connects this situation with the otherworld, with symbolism (the year the coin was minted coincides with the year her brother died) and has no desire to look for a rational reason for it. According to Gardner, in pseudoscience, a theory is created by someone who is not a specialist in the field concerned; he considers other research to be nonsense and uses his terminology. Thus, the penny’s statement symbolizes some connection, and it is a “matter of faith” that is irrational. The death of a loved one sometimes has an unpredictable effect on a sober view of a given situation. According to the heroine, her brother’s death was devastating; it had a profound impact on the psyche of his family. It can be concluded that there is a reluctance to consider other logical reasons here.
As a competing explanation, one could consider the situation where her sister purposely put the coin in question to relieve her sister’s suffering. In addition, it should not be forgotten that astrology, numerology, and homeopathy are not only in the past but even today represent a notable business, while they are not a science. It is inherent in man to look for the signs himself in various manifestations, when he is vulnerable, to lighten the burden.
Gardner, Martin. Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. Vol. 394. Courier Corporation, 1957.