How To Pass A Lie Detector Test
There is a very easy way how to pass a lie detector test either ‘tell the truth’ or don’t take a test in the first place. However people either innocent or guilty will often do considerable amount of research into what to do to pass a lie detector test.
In the UK we estimate 10% of examinees sitting a lie detector test will attempt to cheat which we call ‘countermeasures’. Fortunately, these attempts are very easy to pick up by a trained examiner. Most would research ‘how to pass a lie detector test’ using the internet and find a confusing amount of false information and not know what would work. Below we look at the studies into people who cheat when taking a lie detector test and whether it actually helps. Personally as an examiner, I can tell you, it is obvious when someone attempts countermeasures on a Lie Detector Test.
Human beings hate to make mistakes. When we make them, we feel bad about ourselves, and we look less than competent to the rest of the world. When polygraph examiners make mistakes, the results can sometimes be quite serious, even devastating, for our examinees. Consequently, most examiners approach their work in a sober and conscientious frame of mind, to avoid those mistakes.
It is not easy to give a lie detector test, even under the best of conditions. It is all the more difficult when an examinee is trying to beat you. In addition, there is more and more information available to those examinees. We all are familiar with the names George Maschke and Doug Williams, two people who are actively trying to make it more difficult for us to do our jobs. https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-doug-williams-war-on-lie-detector/
Although Maschke has a personal bone to pick with our profession, and Williams is only interested in making a quick buck, both are telling people that they can “beat” a polygraph test by the judicious use of countermeasures. Our profession has taken this threat quite seriously – just look at the speakers and topics at any continuing education seminar. They usually include a presentation about countermeasures and how to spot them. How big a threat do Maschke and Williams pose? Perhaps not as big a threat as some people think. The scientific research about the effectiveness of countermeasures tells an interesting story. Two major studies address the issue. The first is an experiment that was published in Polygraph about twenty years ago.
In a major research study we prepared written material for both guilty and innocent subjects in a mock crime experiment. That material contained comprehensive information about the Control Question Test theory and gave several examples of control and relevant questions, so that subjects could tell what types of questions were being asked. They were shown examples of polygraph tracings and learned what scorable responses looked like on a polygraph chart. There were also detailed descriptions of countermeasure techniques, with instructions about how and when to use them in order to “beat” the test. At the end of the experiment (which spanned many months) we found that we made accurate decisions (DI or NDI) 95.5% of the time for subjects who had not read those materials. For subjects who had read them, we were also 95.5% accurate. Reading about polygraph theory, techniques and countermeasures had no effect whatsoever on subjects’ ability to “beat the test.” In spite of those findings, concerns about countermeasures have grown, primarily due to the large amount of information on the Internet. Although Doug Williams’ booklet is laughably simplistic, the information on Maschke’s website is comprehensive and, for the most part, accurate. Many polygraph professionals feel that people who have that information have a good chance of using countermeasures effectively. Rather than arguing or speculating about the effectiveness of Maschke’s attempts to pull the rug out from under us, a couple of scientists recently conducted an experiment to answer the question, “Is George Maschke actually Lex Luthor or is he Huckleberry Hound?” The researchers essentially replicated my dissertation research. However, in place of the instructions we had prepared for our subjects, they went directly to Maschke’s website, www.antipolygraph.org , and downloaded his booklet, “The Lie Behind The Lie Detector”. Half of the subjects (bothinnocent and guilty) were given copies of the booklet after the commission of a mock crime, and they had two weeks to read and digest the information that George so graciously provided. The other half of the subjects were not given anything to read – they were simply asked to return after two weeks to take a polygraph exam.
After all the tests were run and all the charts were scored, the results of the experiment were essentially the same as the 1986 research cited below. Overall, there was no significant difference in the accuracy rates of people who read about countermeasures and those who did not. More importantly, guilty subjects who read Maschke’s booklet were detected at exactly the same accuracy rate as guilty subjects who had not read it. “The Lie Behind The Lie Detector” did not help even one guilty subject to beat the test! So, should we be afraid of the big, bad countermeasure? All of the independent scientific research tells us that people who read about countermeasures pose no threat to us. No matter what they read, or how much they read, accuracy rates are almost exactly the same as they are for people who have never even heard the word countermeasure.
Honts, C. R. and Alloway, W. R. (2007) Information does not affect the validity of a comparison question test. Legal and Criminological Psychology, In Press.
(Legal and Criminological Psychology is a journal of the British Psychological Society.
Copies of this research report can also be obtained from their website, www.bps.org.uk
Can You Pass The Test?
Polygraph examinees will maximize their chances of producing a highly accurate and favorable test outcome if they are behaviorally cooperative during testing. Cooperation during testing contributes to the production of normal and interpretable test data. Despite receiving thorough information during the pretest interview, some polygraph examinees may benefit from additional instruction or admonition, during the in-test recording phase of the examination, about the importance of behavioral cooperation during testing. Circumstances that may require additional in-test instruction can stem from a variety of causes. Some examinees may under-appreciate the seriousness and importance of the information and instruction they receive during the polygraph pretest interview, and may exhibit unexpected intest behavior that could compromise their chances of producing a favorable test outcome.
Other examinees may choose to be uncooperative during testing – with the goal of disrupting or interfering with the effectiveness of their polygraph test results. Other conditions may also manifest in observable problems with an examinee’s intest behavior. Regardless of the cause, all counterproductive in-test behavior can result in an examiner providing additional in-test instruction, information, or admonition in attempt to help the examinee cooperate more successfully. Innocent and truthful polygraph examinees can benefit from an examiner’s in-test instruction if the information is provided in a helpful and professional manner that neither compromises the objectivity of the test nor further disrupts the examinee’s ability to cooperate and attend to the testing context.
Of course, or some examinees – especially those whose non-cooperation disruptive behavior is strategic or intentional – it is possible that no amount of additional information will improve their in-test behavior and cooperation. Some deceptive examinees, and some characterological manipulative individuals, may approach the polygraph test with a conscious plan or strategy to attempt to circumvent the effectiveness of the examination. It is also possible that some intuitively manipulative persons may prefer to approach the testing context without a fixed plan, and may instead adapt their disruptive strategies in-situ to the persona and style of the examiner.
All polygraph examinees who are intentionally disruptive or manipulative may share common goals or employ common strategies.
Disruptive goals may include:
1) remaining unobserved while engaging in a disruptive activity,
2) creating the impression that the disruptive or non-cooperative activity is an unavoidable, and therefore tolerable, aspect of the individual’s normal functioning,
3) habituating an examiner into a state of tolerance for disruptive or non-cooperative behavior that may increase as the testing process proceeds, or
4) adopting a form of victim-stance based on the premise that observed problematic behavior and non-cooperation is the result of over-stimulation by an authoritarian, confrontational or accusatory examiner.
In the absence of clairvoyance and mind-reading capabilities, it will be generally impossible for an examiner to know the exact cause of any observed disruptive in-test behavior with absolute certainty. For this reason, skillful polygraph examiners will attempt to address all counterproductive in-test behavior in a calm, rational and professional manner that will be helpful to examinees who desire to cooperate successfully. The manner of in which an examiner addresses observable problematic in-test behavior should not contribute to other secondary problems such as an examinee becoming increasingly focused on, or fearful of, the examiner instead of attending to the test stimuli. Done effectively, in-test instruction and admonition can be an addition source of useful for both structured analysis and unstructured professional intuition about the likely causes of an observed in-test behavior. Possible causes, in simplistic terms, can include systematic or strategic intent to disrupt the test, but may also involve random or involuntary factors. The challenge will be for an examiner to differentiate between examinees’ who cannot cooperate from those who will not cooperate.
What to do.
- Give in-test instructions in a manner that is helpful to the examinee and respectful of the examinee’s human dignity.
- Refrain from accusing the examinee, during the in-test phase, of intentional disruption. Instead, confrontation and accusation may be more appropriate during the posttest, after the completion of the recording and analysis of all test data.
- Give in-test instructions in a manner that conveys an interest in the most favorable test outcome for the examinee.
- Do not confront observed problem behavior in a manner that is likely to result in interpersonal reactivity or fear of the person or persona of the examiner.
- Give in-test instructions in a manner that conveys information that the examinee can use to make effective and cooperative behavioral choices during the test.
- Refrain from attempts to guess or describe precisely what behavior an examinee may have engaged in.
- Repeat any in-test instruction once if necessary.
- Do not escalate the intensity of any repeated instruction, and do not give in-test instruction more than twice. Instead, all in test instructions and admonitions should be provided with the same neutral and authoritative attitude of respect.
- Annotate all in-test instruction and admonitions.
- Continue to annotate without additional instruction if an observed problematic or non-cooperative behavior persists after two in-test instructions.
- Consider terminating and re-starting a chart if a problem can be rectified with additional discussion or instruction.
- Do not arbitrarily render a deceptive conclusion prior to the recording and analysis of all test data. If necessary, stop the exam and review the information and instructions so that an examinees will know how to cooperate successfully if they wish to do so.
- Document in the polygraph report any disruptive or non-cooperative behavior that was observed to persist after repeated admonition or instruction.
- Do not summarily terminate an examination due to persistent non-cooperation. Premature termination of an examination may be necessary in extreme cases, but may result in a lack of recorded data to support an analytic conclusion or professional judgment about likely causes of the observed problems. Examples of effective in-test admonition and instruction.
- It is important that you do not move during the test.
- It is important that you do not change your answers during the test.
- It is important that you do not talk during the test.
- It is important that you do not take deep breaths during the test questions.
This manner of in-test instruction is informative and helpful to those polygraph examinees that desire to cooperate successfully with the testing process. Though there are times and places where direct confrontation (i.e., pointing out a problem) is useful and effective, during the in-test phase of a polygraph exam – prior to the complete recording of all test data – may not be an ideal use of a communication strategy that involves the expression of a professional conclusion. Conclusions about the meaning of observed in-test behavior and recorded test data cannot be rendered until the test is complete.
Effective in-test instructions will be provided in the form of important information that is strategically and intentionally non-confrontational and non-accusatory. This type of instruction can also be used to reinforce an examinee’s awareness of the importance of cooperation during testing, even in the absence of problematic in-test behavior. Virtually any in-test instruction or admonition can be stated in an informative manner. In-test instructions done in an informative manner – “It’s important that you X” – may improve the abilities of truthful persons to produce favorable test outcomes. Compared to direct and accusatory confrontation, this manner of instruction is authoritative without becoming authoritarian. This type of in-test instruction serves to inform the examinee about the solution or corrective action that is needed. Equally important, the provision in test admonitions in the form of useful information is not likely to result in increased defensiveness and interpersonal reactivity.
For normal functioning examinee’s who are provided in-test instruction and admonition in a helpful, respectful and informative manner – in addition to receiving clear information and instruction during the polygraph pretest interview – the persistence of observed problematic behavior after repeated instruction can be documented in the examination notes or examination report. Of course, there may be some persons examinees who are unable to cooperate normally with polygraph testing processes due to medical, psychiatric or developmental reasons, and examiners should exercise due caution in any decision to attempt to examine these persons.
When in-test instructions are provided in a helpful and informational manner that reduces the potential for defensiveness or interpersonal reactivity, the persistence of observed problematic in-test behavior can become a useful basis of information to support professional intuition or analytic conclusions about those examinees whose intent may have been to disrupt the effectiveness of their polygraph examinations.
How To Pass a polygraph test?
A quick internet search throws up some very interesting ways to pass a lie detector test but read on and I will tell you the only way that’s guaranteed to work, and I am an Advanced Polygraph Examiner with over five years’ experience.
So does trying to cheat work, and we expect over ten percent of the people we test will try and cheat, some of the more interesting things we often see revolve around breathing and examinees manipulating their breathing to try and cheat. This for any examiner using the latest equipment as we do is very easy to notice and for many does not have an effect on the charts. Others will try to manipulate blood pressure by tensing muscles, which again is very noticeable. Generally, the timing is very off and if these type of countermeasures are performed badly they can make the fail greater.
There are also drugs people will take to try to pass a lie detector test; fortunately, very few will affect a test, those that do would make an examinee very drowsy and a good examiner would notice this. Drugs are more than likely to make the results of a lie detector test Inconclusive. I have personally tested people under the influence of Valium, Caffeine, Heroin and Marijuana; the charts that were produced were very strange, nothing like the ones we would normally see on a usual lie detector test.
As I promised at the very beginning I Jason Hubble APA, BPA, NPA will tell you exactly how to pass a lie detector test, it is actually very easy…. Tell the truth! Alternatively, if you are guilty do not take a lie detector test, as you will fail. Seems very straightforward however, we are still failing twenty-five percent so take my advice above and do not be one of the people who fail.