Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Inside the E-Meter

Here's an interesting article up today on Vice. A Swiss YouTuber found a used e-meter on eBay, bought it, and took it apart for his viewers to see how it works. The e-meter is the tool used by the Church of Scientology during auditing sessions, and the church does its best to keep them off the market. Nevertheless, they're apparently not all that hard to find with a little determination.

Scientology, a religion founded by the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1952, is renowned for its veil of secrecy. The religion has its roots in Hubbard’s dianetics program, which he once described as a “mix of Western technology and Oriental philosophy.” Perhaps the most infamous technology to be produced by the Church of Scientology is the electropsychometer, or E-Meter, which is used for auditing, a question-and-answer session that is a core ritual of scientologists.

E-Meters are essentially ways of measuring electrodermal activity, or the ebb-and-flow of electrical activity on the surface of the skin. For scientologists, this measurement is interpreted as a way to “see a thought,” similar to a lie detector, although there is no scientific evidence to back up the Church’s claims. Over the years there have been several versions of the E-Meter produced by the Church of Scientology, which sells E-Meters to members for thousands of dollars apiece.

As I've mentioned previously, there's no need to spend thousands of dollars on an e-meter to get a device that does what the Scientology version does. All you need is a multimeter. Amazon carries quite the selection and they generally cost under a hundred dollars. As you can see in the video, you would calibrate your meter to measure resistance from 4000 to 6000 ohms and you should be good to go. The Scientology e-meter appears to be hand-assembled, which would make it a little more pricey, but no more than a few hundred if you were paying what the thing is really worth.

The idea behind auditing is that the e-meter works like a simple lie detector, measuring physiological stress in the form of electrical resistance. However, as shown in the video one of the biggest flaws in the design is that it's extremely easy to get the needle to jump all over the place by squeezing the two copper tube contacts. It stands to reason that anyone who's been through a few auditing sessions should have learned to do this pretty quickly. So if you want to try auditing for yourself you'll get more accurate readings off a multimeter with a more tamper-proof set of contacts.

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble

No comments: