YANKEE, W. J. Polygraph examiner attitudes on cross-cultural differences in the far east. June 1991, Report No. DoDPI91-R- 0001. Department of Defense Polygraph Institute, Fort McClellan, AL 36205.
Seven U.S., 12 Japanese, 8 Korean examiners and one Korean examiner/interpreter were personally interviewed. Another 10 Japanese and Korean, do not believe that cultural differences interfere with accuracy of polygraph results. Almost all, however, are convinced that the ability to communicate with a common language is essential and that the use of untrained interpreters render very questionable results. Many feel that interpreters could do a much better job if they had training in polygraph procedures, so that they would understand what the examiner is trying to do. It was felt by some that the best approach would be to take natives who speak fluent English and train these individuals as examiners. High academic requirements and a research orientation is characteristic of the Japanese approach to developing an examiner. Korean emphasis is upon a law degree requirement, plus five years of investigative experience. Japanese police examiners make diagnoses only, while Korean seek confessions. The Japanese are intensely involved in polygraph research and have very modern equipment and computers in some of their laboratories. The Koreans are not involved with research, but are intensely interested in the development of polygraph instruments and procedures in the U.S.
Key-words: attitudes, cross-culture, detection of deception, interpreter
This study represents the first effort to address one of the many issues raised in an earlier Department of Defense Polygraph Institute (DoDPI) sponsored study regarding the affect of cross- cultural differences on psychophysiological detection of deception (PDD) tests. The author examines the attitudes of PDD examiners concerning cross-cultural differences in conducting PDD tests, specifically focusing on Asians in the Far East.
This area of investigation is increasingly important due not only to the sensitive and critical issues often addressed in these tests, but also because the sheer volume of these cases continues to increase as societies become more mobile and consequently, more heterogeneous.
The results of this investigation re-emphasized what should be obvious, but is easily overlooked: the critical element in any examination is clear communication between examinee and examiner. All the examiners surveyed adamantly recommended that only as a last resort should interpreters be used to facilitate the examination procedures. Whenever possible, the examination, and all conversation associated with it, should be accomplished by a single individual, the examiner.
Although this study focuses only on cultures in the Far East, it is probable that the aforementioned unanimous recommendation would be generalizable to other geographical locations and cultures. Field examiners are urged to pursue the collection of this type of information in their own geographical areas so that it may be added to our knowledge base and further disseminated.