From: moose@octopus.tds.kth.se ((Ake Nordin))
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Re: E-meters
Message-ID: <1991Jul20.162901.16594@kth.se>
Date: 20 Jul 91 16:29:01 GMT
References: <1991Jul19.182751.21052@unocal.com>
Sender: news@kth.se  (News Administrator)
Reply-To: moose@octopus.tds.kth.se ((Ake Nordin))
Organization: Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Lines: 62

I study electronics engineering at RIT. A few years ago, the scientologists in Stockholm set forth to make a share out of our flunking students. The scientologists funded a company (named Studema, if my memory serves) that sold "courses" in how to do better studying. At the same time they intensified their efforts to enroll new proselytes among the students. By that time, I wrote ocassionally in our student's society bulletin. Some friends of mine asked me to analyze the patent documents of the "E-meter" and to tell the results in our bulletin. So i did, and the factual results were depressing:

The "E-meter", as pateted, comprises of a modified wheatstone-bridge, by means of which the "auditor" measures the electrical resistance between the "auditee"s palms. (This resistance depends on how hard you press the contact cylinders, and to what extent the "auditors" questions make you sweat. The actual measured quantity is the _difference_ between "your" resistance and a reference in the meter, the bridge compares those resistances.)

The modifications purpose was not "clear", but one consequence of it was that the high sensitivity of a bridge-type resistance meter were radically deteriorated! (Of course, all of the proven designs of resistance meters would have been impossible to patent... :-).

The meter features two knobs and a galvanometer. The knobs adjust resistance range (the value of the reference in the bridges comparison) and meter sensitivity, if my faint recall is right. A battery and a simple but unobvious discrete amplifier circuit sums it up. (The unobvious watchamacallit amplifies the measured voltage from the bridge to the galvanometer, thus giving better readouts. It comprises of three transistors, connected=20together in an "unobvious" way which barely does the job. Again, probably due to patentability.)

In the posting referenced in the header, Richard Ottolini <rick@zing.unocal.com> writes:

> The concept is that one tries to get an "objective" understanding of how > psychoanalysis is proceeding by attaching a machine "lie-detector" to the > person being analyzed. Since one isn't doing a criminal investigation where > a dozen sensors of different bodily functions is important, a $50 galvanometer > may give reasonable bio-feedback.

The bio-feedback from the device described above, is at best vague. There is no provision for the detection of mental activity (=3D electrical nerve impulses) by that device, and the measured quantity depends of how that person holds the sensors more than anything else. Of course, fiddling with the sensitivity knob makes the meters needle swing odd ways, but that should not impress anyone.

And the device is not a galvanmometer, it is some kind of resistance measurement device. I don't know anything about the state of the art in lie detectors (which newsgroup is that ? :-) but i somehow figure them to be rather more exact... (I don't know anything about the state of the art in "E-meters" either, since the patent is some 20 years old now, but if there is ANY substance to that patent, the impedance meter principle should remain. And there lies the main deficiencies in the design.)

Ake Nordin

Disclaimer is not needed, since the above mentioned stuff obviously is nothing but a poor students personal opinions. Why did they wire up public computing centers like this in the first place ??!?

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