What Exactly Happens During A Lie Detector Test?
If you are a big fan of detective TV series, you have seen at least one scene in which police persons or detectives have used a lie detector. People are using these instruments every time they want to find out whether a person is lying regarding a certain aspect or is actually telling the truth. However, what you might not know is what exactly happens before, during and after the test. In case you are interested in finding more about the truth, you should read the article below.
Finding the right examiner
The first thing, no matter what the reason for getting a test might be, it is highly important to look for a professional and experienced examiner. It is recommended to do some thorough research online, because you can find there are numerous polygraph examiners that have managed to make a name for themselves in this domain. Choosing the best assures that the test is as accurate as can be.
The first phase
A test can take up to three hours to complete. It is divided into different phases. The first one is designed in a way that will help the examinee get accustomed to the polygraph and the questions. During this phase, the examiner can even present some of the questions he or she is about to ask during the second phase of the test in order to discuss them with the examinee.
The second phase
The second phase is also the most important one, because this is where the magic happens. During this phase, the examiner asks the examinee a series of questions that are meant to help the former one determine whether the latter is telling the truth or not. This is the moment when all the necessary data is collected. During this phase, the examinee has various things attached to the body, such as breathing tubes, blood pressure cuffs and so on, which send impulses to the lie detector itself, thus making it “read” the physiological reactions of the examinee’s body.
Interpreting the test
This is the last phase of the test. After all the right questions were asked and the patient answered them, the attachments previously mentioned are removed and the examiner can start his or her work, which is interpreting the readings from the test. This is the moment when all the answers are interpreted and a final thought is presented.
So these are the steps that happens before, during and after a lie detector test. In case you are interested in taking such a test or want someone you know to take such a test due to various reasons, it is recommended to work only with professional examiners with vast experience in the domain, because this way you can be sure the test is extremely accurate and reliable.
What happens on the day?
Twenty-four hours before the Lie Detector Test no illegal drugs or alcohol please, if you have any concerns over prescription medication please discuss this with the examiner, very few prescription drugs will actually cause an issue. We will always advise you of the full address and postcode and give you a contact number so you can plan your journey, if you are running late you can directly advise the examiner so he is aware. Do try to have something to eat on the day if possible.
On arrival we complete some paperwork, a consent form and ask you a few questions to ensure we can test you. Then we discuss what will be happening and conduct a pre-test interview discussing the issue at hand and if appropriate talk to your partner, usually asking you to wait in the waiting room. We then discuss questions together formulating three questions on a single issue based on fact, and ensure the questions are fair and that your happy with them, the questions are fully reviewed for total clarity and will be a straightforward yes or no answer only.
All tests are filmed to protect the examiner and yourself, the video isn’t released and is totally confidential. The examiner will discuss the data retention policy with you during the pre-test.
A number of polygraph tests will then be run including a practice test followed by a minimum of three real tests. The result that’s taken is an average of the three tests, same questions that have been practiced are repeated on each chart, usually in a different order. You will then be asked to wait in the waiting room whilst the examiner scores the charts which can take twenty minutes, if a second opinion is required you will be advised at this stage and the result will be given to you followed by a full printed report and email copy if requested.
Firstly everything is confidential.
You will be given every opportunity to discuss with me the things you know are important prior to any lie detector test. I will review all of the standard conditions of probation and treatment; most will probably not apply to you, but some will, and you will need to be honest with me about each of them. When we are all done discussing your activity during the time frame for this test, I will have two “stacks” of behavior; one stack (maybe large) of things you haven’t done and another one (probably small) of things you have done or may apply to you in some way. I will normally test you on those activities you claim you haven’t done. That way it will be very easy for you to pass the lie detector test. So, if something applies to you, whether you’ve told your PO or treatment provider, just be honest and tell me so we can talk about it and get if off your mind (no longer a secret). I’m not going to test you on things you’ve done—just what you claim you haven’t done.
Give ‘gun’ example: and “how sure are you that you haven’t handled a firearm? 100%?”
Once we are done with this review, which will take awhile, then I can put together the simple “yes or “no” questions for your test. Since I don’t know what kind of things you are going to tell me, I don’t know what the lie detector test questions will be until we are all done with the review. We will then prepare all test questions together, that way if you think of something else you can tell me before the test and I can change the question if I need to, or even toss it out and put something else in. There lots of things I can test you on today and I want you to be completely certain that your answer to each question is 100% truthful. This is a very easy lie detector test to pass, but it is just as easy to fail. So, before you get into “that” chair and get hooked up to the polygraph, you will know every question on the lie detector test since we made them up together and reviewed them. It is against the law for me to ask you any other question during the lie detector test (like in the movies) other than the ones we prepared and you assured me you were answering truthfully. By signing this release you are agreeing to several things; you understand the
information we talk about is only given to the persons/programs listed above;
You will follow the instructions I give you on how to “take” the lie detector test, and perhaps most important, you agree to be completely honest about everything we talk about. You can’t pick and choose what you will be truthful to. This is not really a lie-detector test, unless you decide to purposely lie to any of the questions, then that is exactly what it will end up being. This is really a ‘truth verification test’ which is a much better outcome for you and will make your PO and treatment provider happy. Remember, the first thing they look at on my report is the last page which indicates if the person “passed or “failed”. When, not “if” you pass this test they are less likely to impose a severe penalty if you were honest and told me about it before the test. Of course if you’ve robbed a bank that’s a different story—-but as long as you told me about it before the lie detector test, you would still pass the test. Remember, you can pass this lie detector test no matter what you’ve done, as long as you tell me the truth about it. Again—I’m not going to test you on what you’ve done—just what you haven’t done. When you “pass” this lie detector test today, the next one we do will be from this day forward—a clean slate, but only if you tell the truth before you take this test. If you lie you will fail the lie detector test. That will bring everything to a standstill. You will eventually have to get honest anyway; you will be in trouble with your PO and treatment provider and get sanctioned for lying. Most of the time the lie is a bigger deal than the behavior was. In most all cases you will probably be required to pay again and take a re-test. Unlike any other test you have ever taken, you will know the results of this
one before you even take it. I’m the only one in the dark right now, but in a little while I will know what you know. So, if you promise to be truthful with me today, go ahead and sign the form.
If you feel for any reason you just can’t be honest today, don’t sign the form; you can wait in the lobby and I will contact your PO.
End of First Chart:
OK—how did you feel when you answered each question? Did anything important come to your mind on any of the questions we need to talk about? If something did, we can ‘fix’ it before we do the next chart. I think you sat pretty still as I asked you to do—the computer did not show any twitches or movement which is good. No, I don’t know how you’re doing on the test, since the data is stored in the computer and I will print it out and evaluate it when we are all done. But, you know how you’re doing don’t you? As long as you know you are being completely honest to each question, you will pass the test. OK, let’s get ready to do the second examination chart. Since you are telling the truth (I hope) this second time through will actually be a little easier. You know how it feels to sit there and answer each question; you are used to hearing my voice and you are aware of how it feels to be totally honest when you answer “yes” or “no”. On that first chart the questions were asked in the same order we prepared them and rehearsed them earlier. On this chart the computer will mix up the order in which the questions will be asked so I will be asking them in a
different order. Same questions—same truthful answers. If you are simply sitting there waiting to tell the truth, you don’t care what order they’re in– -do you? Of course if you are waiting to lie, that will be very obvious when it happens. OK, let’s get started again. OK, that chart should have “felt” easier than the first. It is always easier to tell the truth over and over again since your body gets more and more comfortable each time. Truthful people often say they can feel their stress level go down when they know they are being honest. Now, for the person who is not being honest it just starts off bad and gets worse, every time. So, before we finish this up, is there anything else you may have thought about we need to discuss? We can still “fix” a question if you “remembered” something during the lie detector test. OK then, this third chart should be the best one for you. So sit quietly, pay close attention and listen carefully, telling the truth one more time. When we finish this chart I will check the data to make sure you didn’t flinch or move, which could require additional testing. OK, we are all done with the test. I will have you wait in the lobby for me. I will
print out all your test data and do the evaluation. It will take 20-30 minutes to complete and then I will come get you and we will review the results.