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If you've ever been personally interrogated by someone that knows what they're doing (police detective, etc), it's a pretty intimidating experience by itself - and completely fascinating because you realize it's completely a learned skill to do that! You may call me naive, but it really preys on your desire to tell the truth. I can understand how a "devoted" criminal can easily game the interpersonal exchange, but the average law-abiding person gets confronted with a lot of strange and conflicting emotions - desire to pursue the truth, desire to please, etc. A skilled interrogator is pretty amazing.

Now add biometrics. It's not like the polygraph is separable from the interrogator. It's a question of establishing a baseline and watching for deviations that gain significance based on experience and knowledge. The polygraph enhances the ability of the interrogator in terms of their access to biometric data of the subject, and ancillary to that is the intimidation factor that the subject feels knowing the interrogator may be more aware of your biometrics than the subject themselves.

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