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J Appl Psychol. 1992 Feb;77(1):60-4.

Use of antianxiety drugs as countermeasures in the detection of guilty knowledge.

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Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455.


To evaluate whether antianxiety drugs enable guilty subjects to appear innocent on polygraph tests, we compared the effects of diazepam, meprobamate, and propranolol on the outcome of a guilty knowledge test (GKT). Seventy-five undergraduate students were evenly divided among one innocent and four guilty groups. Subjects in each of the guilty groups received either one of the drugs or a placebo prior to the administration of the GKT and after viewing a videotape that depicted a burglary as seen from the perspective of the burglar. The results showed that drug status had no influence on the outcome of the GKT. Innocent subjects who coincidentally obtained high scores on a recognition memory test covering details of the mock crime tended to obtain higher guilt scores on the GKT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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