n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - Criminal justice / criminology and forensic psychophysiology : a symbiotic interface

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



Forensic psychophysiology (polygraphy), or more ascetically stated, lie detection, has captivated humankind since the earliest of times. In due course crude mechanisms employed to determine veracity have not only evolved and been refined, but the pursuit of truthfulness has become more important to a post-modern society plagued by pervasive crime, corruption and impropriety. Seldom, if ever, has the quest for candor's interface with the criminological discipline, and / or its significance as a criminological support mechanism within a containment approach to addressing the burgeoning crime quandary, specifically been canvassed in South Africa. This paper examines the relevance of polygraphy not only as a regimen for determining truth and deception, but also in terms of current and, perhaps more importantly, potential application and utility thereof within the South African criminal justice / criminological and victimological realm. The article endeavours to identify the extent (or lack thereof) to which the polygraph deliberately or inadvertently aligns itself with, and / or can be utilised for, the pursuit of a criminal justice / criminological agenda by, amongst others, contrasting the position and needs in South Africa with the United States, historically one of the principal users of polygraph worldwide. Although this paper alludes to the existence and further development of a mutually beneficial relationship between criminal justice / criminology and polygraphy, the affiliation should by no means be construed as representing a panacea and / or subjugation of inherent limitations within the realm of both fields.

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