Polygraph Exams, more commonly referred to as Lie Detector Tests, are a very important and underutilized tool in society today. Polygraph machines are sophisticated devices that measures your body's natural reactions when you answer questions. It monitors your blood pressure, pulse, respiration, skin conductivity, and other factors in order to determine whether or not a person is being truthful or deceptive.
There are numerous companies and private practices around the world that conduct polygraph exams for private clients. Like any industry, there are very serious and talented professionals with decades of experience, and there are amateurs/imposters who are just looking to swindle their clients to make a quick buck. You may be asking yourself, "How do I hire a polygraph examiner? How do I know if I'm choosing the right company/individual to do it? How do I know if the results are accurate? How much does it cost?". These are all important questions to ask and we are happy to provide you with the answers to some of these questions.
The Myths of Lie Detecting
1. Polygraphs are not permissible in a court of law: This is the most common false information spread about polygraphs. In New York alone, they are admissible to the court for motions to dismiss in the interest of justice and in post conviction appeals (440 motions). They have been used by law enforcement, military and intelligence agencies throughout the world since 1921.
2. You can beat a lie detector test: When you search up the words "polygraph" or "lie detector test" on Google, the majority of links that you'll find say something like, "How to Beat a Polygraph Test". The truth is, it's pretty much impossible to beat a polygraph exam. Sure, there are some controlled breathing countermeasures that you can try, but do you really think that the polygraph examiner performing the test on you isn't going to notice that you're breathing like an absolute weirdo? Trying to beat a lie detector test just screams, "I'm guilty!"
3. You can test somebody's emotions: Polygraph exams are issue specific. That means that you have to ask the person taking the polygraph specific questions about specific incidents in order to get accurate results. For example, you can't hook your husband up to a polygraph machine and ask, "Do you love me?", it doesn't work like that. A polygraph basically examines where it is in your brain that your answers come from. If it comes from the part of your brain that is responsible for memory, you're telling the truth because you know it actually happened. If it comes from the part of the brain that is responsible for imagination, that means that you have to have made it up and it's a lie.
4. You can test what somebody intends to do in the future: As stated before, polygraph exams are issue specific. You can't ask your girlfriend, "Do you ever plan on cheating on me?". You can only ask questions based on past events that the examinee was involved in or knows about.
5. Polygraphs aren't that accurate: Normally when someone tells you that they don’t want to take a polygraph exam because "they're not accurate", it's because that person has something to hide. Polygraphs have been proven to be 98% accurate, which is more accurate than most medical tests and birth control methods.
Step 1. Know exactly what you want to find out
In order for a polygraph to work, you have to be very specific with what questions you want to ask. The most common issue that we test for is infidelity or in other words, cheating. A lot of our clients just want to ask their significant other, "Have you ever cheated on me?". In order to obtain the most accurate results possible, you have to be more specific than that because what you might define as cheating might not be what others define as cheating. We would then modify that question to be stated, "Since being in a relationship with [name of partner], have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone other than [name of partner]?". By specifically asking about the examinee having sexual intercourse with anyone other than their partner during the time of their relationship, we get the most accurate results, as there's really only one definition that people have for sexual intercourse.
Step 2. Do some research on who you're going to hire to conduct the test
There are some really good and well respected polygraph examiners out there... and... there are some not so good ones out there as well. You want to make sure that you choose a polygraph examiner who truly knows what he/she is doing. The last thing that you want is false results where a guilty person can walk free, or an innocent person can be charged with something that they didn't do.
When searching for the right examiner for the job, there are a few key things that you should look for. First, you should check to see if the are APA (American Polygraph Association) certified. The APA consists of the most highly skilled, trained, and credible polygraph experts in the country, who are continuously educated on new groundbreaking lie detection discoveries and techniques. Next, you should check reviews that have been left for them by their clients. The best place to check is on the company's or individual's Google Business profile. It's important to know that the examiner that you choose is professional and can provide you with a positive experience. Finally, you should consider how experienced the examiner is in conducting polygraph exams. If they've been doing lie detection for decades, chances are they've seen just about everything and it's pretty much impossible to slip a lie past them.
Step 3. Book the appointment and follow the guidelines provided to you
Once you've found the right examiner for your lie detector test, go ahead and book the appointment with them. Polygraph exams normally take about 1.5 hours, but can range anywhere from 1 hour to a maximum of 3 hours (Mainly for criminal cases). Once you've booked your appointment, there are some major guidelines that must be followed or else the exam will deliver false results.
The first rule is that the examinee (the person taking the exam) cannot use alcohol or illegal drugs (including marijuana) for 48 hours prior to the test. An examinee must be completely sober so that the polygraph machine can test their body's natural reactions when answering a set of questions, something that won't be able to happen if the examinee's brain functions are impaired. The second rule is that the examinee has to get at least 6 hours of sleep the night before the exam. If they are overly tired from not having enough rest, their body's reactions to the questions asked to them will be slowed and unable to be tested. The last rule is that the examinee cannot be in any pain during the exam, such as being injured, sick, or even pregnant. If the subject is in pain, then they cannot focus on the questions being asked to them and the results will be inaccurate.
Step 4. Believe the results
People who are caught in a lie will continue to lie to get out of the situation. They will try to use blame shift strategies to cover their tail, such as claiming that the polygraph exam was inaccurate (remember that polygraphs are 98% accurate) or that the test was rigged by the examiner. This may sound crazy, but a lot of people will receive their test results, see that they failed the exam, and then call the examiner and try to argue with them about it. The polygraph examiner in every situation is an unbiased 3rd party who only seeks to find and deliver the truth to his/her clients. Bottom line: Trust the results, not the liar.
Polygraph and Lie Detector Testing in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, and the tri-state area