FAQS

September 30, 2011 at 18:23

Pacific Polygraph


What problems are suitable for the polygraph technique?

The issue to be resolved must be clear and unambiguous – the Examiner will discuss the issue with you when you make an appointment.

How do I make an appointment?

Call the Examiner and an appointment will be made at a time and date convenient to you. You should allocate two hours for the examination.

Could I be forced to take an examination?

You can not be forced to take an examination as the examination depends on your cooperation. You will be asked to sign an Agreement to the examination. This Agreement outlines in detail your rights and obligations with respect to the examination. The old expression “you can take horse to water but you can’t make him drink!’ applies here.

How Accurate is the polygraph technique?

There are a number of studies that you will find on the American Polygraph Association web site. ( http://www.polygraph.org ) Though the examiner does not guarantee 100% accuracy the examiner at Pacific Polygraph Service will, if the circumstances are appropriate, judge a test to be inconclusive and schedule for another date at no additional charge to the client.

Can I beat the polygraph?

No. There are many urban myths about this possibility. The examiner has many years of experience and is able to detect those who are attempting to defeat the test by moving, psychological conditioning or medication. If you are going to attempt to defeat the examiner do not take the examination.

If I am nervous, will that affect the test?

The examiner expects that everyone of sound mind will be suffering from some form of nervous tension. Remember all questions are discussed and developed with your participation. There are no surprise questions. All questions agreed upon are posed to you at least three times when you are attached to an instrument.

How do I prepare?

You do not have to. Arrive at the test site promptly, sober and rested. Provide some documentary form of identification. Take any prescribed medication when you are supposed to and inform the examiner of the details.

Should I have legal representation?

If you have had a serious criminal allegation made against you it may be preferable to have a lawyer advise you. Any examination conducted under the auspices of legal representation retained by you is normally protected by a concept known as “privilege” so that disclosure of the examination and reports flowing from it are restricted.

May the results of a polygraph examination be used in Court?

Not in criminal courts in Canada. The examinations have been introduced and given weight in family matters. In the B.C. Supreme Court decision of RMC v. JRC, [1995] B.C.J. No. 492, the court considers the expert evidence of John Weller, Examiner and concludes it corroborative.

I still have other matters I would like to discuss?

Please call Pacific Polygraph Service Ltd. at (604)669-5945 to discuss the issue or make an appointment for a consultation.

What is a Polygraph?

A polygraph examination is a scientific test that collects physiological data from a person with the purpose of detecting reactions associated with dishonesty. At least three systems in the human body are recorded during a polygraph examination. Respiratory activity is monitored by placing rubber tubes across the examinee’s chest. Electro dermal or “sweat gland” activity is recorded by placing two small attachments to the fingers or palm of the hand. And cardiovascular activity is collected by a blood pressure cuff or similar device. It is important to note that a polygraph does not include the analysis of physiology associated with the voice. Instruments that claim to record voice psychological stress are not polygraphs and have not been shown to have scientific support.

What does a typical polygraph examination entail?

A professional polygraph examination has three phases — a pre-test phase, an “in test” or chart collection phase, and a post-test phase, which includes data analysis.

Pre-Test — In the pre-test phase, the polygraph examiner will complete required paperwork and discuss the test questions so that the examinee fully understands each question in advance of taking the polygraph. The examiner will also explain the polygraph testing process and answer any questions or concerns.

In-Test — The “in test” or chart collection phase takes place in a quiet room with no one else present to distract the examinee. The polygraph examiner will attach sensors to the person and ask yes or no questions that have previously been discussed. Data is collected from the sensors in the form of polygraph charts. Polygraph examiners may use conventional instruments, sometimes referred to as analog instruments, or computerized polygraph instruments.

Post-Test — Following the test, the examiner will analyze the charts and render an opinion as to the truthfulness of the person taking the test. The examiner, when appropriate, will offer the examinee an opportunity to explain physiological reactions in relation to one or more questions asked during the test.

Why are polygraph examinations used?

Polygraph exists to protect the public by verifying the truth and determining deception. Polygraphs are most commonly used for criminal and civil matters, government pre-employment screening, homeland security, commercial theft investigations and to monitor convicted sex offenders being supervised by probation and parole, and while under treatment.

Who uses polygraphs?

Polygraph exams are used by the Federal and municipal law enforcement agencies, defence lawyers, private industry as well citizens who wish to have an exam.

How do I know if a polygraph examiner is qualified?

The easiest and most effective way to make sure you are being tested by a qualified polygraph examiner is to ask if he or she is a member of the American Polygraph Association (APA) or one of its affiliates. APA professional examiners are required to have extensive training at an APA approved school and are required to continually study the latest truth detection technology and standards. The APA governs the conduct of its members by requiring adherence to a Code of Ethics and a set of Standards and Principals of Practice.

Do outside factors influence the outcome of a polygraph exam?

APA polygraph examiners take specific steps to mitigate circumstances that may affect the results of the test. APA examiners also take outside factors into consideration when administering the test and analyzing the data to eliminate factors not related to the exam.

Why are some polygraph examinations inconclusive (no opinion)?

An inconclusive or “no opinion” result simply means that insufficient data is available for the examiner to render a definitive opinion of deception (DI) or no deception (NDI). In such cases, a second examination is usually conducted. The classification of a polygraph examination as “inconclusive” protects the examinee from being falsely identified as deceptive when inadequate data is collected. Often, critics of polygraph wrongly classify inconclusive test results as errors.

Can a person fail a polygraph because of high blood pressure or nervousness?

No. While a person’s heart beat and respiration rate may increase when he or she is nervous, a qualified examiner understands this, and will take it into consideration when evaluating an examinee’s response. Unlike general nervous tension, an examinee’s reaction to deceptive responses is highly specific. An examiner mitigates a nervous response by reviewing the questions with the examinee and through an acquaintance or “practice test” prior to the exam.