Frequently Asked Polygraph Testing Questions

(click on questions to reveal the answers)

 

HOW DOES THE POLYGRAPH WORK?

The polygraph is a scientific instrument that measures involuntary reactions in the autonomic nervous system that occur when people lie. These are reactions that occur within the body that cannot be physiologically controlled.

IS IT ACCURATE?

The polygraph is very accurate. The Department of Defense puts the polygraph's accuracy above 90%. A recently released study by the National Academy of Science reported accuracy of 91% for specific issue tests. It is commonly accepted that opinions and evaluations done by professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists of their patients are accurate about 63% of the time. The polygraph can top that by a large margin.

CAN THE POLYGRAPH BE "FOOLED?"

The polygraph is not infallible but it is very hard to "beat." Studies by the Department of Defense show that people who try to "beat" the polygraph actually increase their negative score. In addition, modern, computerized polygraphs come with countermeasure systems built in that will detect attempts to "beat" the instrument. If it was as simple as the $39.99 "beat the polygraph" kits you can buy on the internet tell you, wouldn't the terrorists and other national security threats who are being polygraphed every day use these "systems?" Save your money!

HOW LONG DOES A POLYGRAPH EXAMINATION TAKE?

Approximately 90 minutes or more.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

We will work with you to conduct a test that fits your budget.

WHAT IS THE TEST LIKE?

A polygraph examination consists of several steps. First, background information is collected. Second, the relevant issue is discussed. The test subject is asked to provide all the information, if any, they have about the issue. The third step is the formulation of questions. A list of 9-13 questions will be compiled by the examiner based on the statement provided by the subject. All questions are simply worded and have a "yes" or "no" answer. All questions are then reviewed with the subject, word for word. Contrary to what is shown on television there are no "trick" questions. The test subject will know every question to be asked on the test beforehand. The fourth step is the actual collection of charts. During this phase the questions will be asked slowly, one at a time. A minimum of two separate tests are conducted (often a third test is also run). The final step in the examination is the discussion of the results with the subject.

WHAT ABOUT VOICE STRESS ANALYZERS?

Save your money. Virtually every study ever done on voice stress analyzers show that IT DOESN'T WORK! Most have shown that there is no basis in science for these machines. If voice stress did work it would have been added as another component to the polygraph long ago. Here's what ABC News said (March 30, 2006):

A Pentagon study obtained by ABC News finds that a new kind of voice lie detector used by the U.S. military and American police departments is no better than "flipping a coin" in detecting lies. Until the Pentagon ordered a halt to its use, the Voice Stress Analyzer was being used by military intelligence interrogators at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq. Several suspected terrorists were released from custody based on the machine's results and former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariz Aziz was one of the many "high value targets" who were hooked up to the now discredited machine.