Frequently Asked Questions
The following responses have been provided by members of our client support team along with our professionally accredited examiners. If you have further questions or require additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Q: What is a Lie Detector Test?
A: A lie detector test, also known as a polygraph examination, is an evaluation in which a professionally trained examiner uses cutting-edge equipment and close observation of scientifically measurable variables to determine if an individual is lying or telling the truth concerning a particular event, circumstance or issue.
Q: How does a lie detector test work?
A: A lie detector test is a physiological and psychological evaluation designed to catch signs of deception, or lying. During the test, a professional examiner measures a variety of factors according to a formulated procedure, such as heart rate, perspiration and eye movement. The examiner will pose close-ended questions to the person being evaluated, and they must respond with a clear, direct answer. Observations are analyzed along with metrics recorded using specially designed scientific equipment, replicating techniques used in advanced intelligence agencies.
This process of analyzing an individual’s responses in order to establish honesty or dishonesty was initially created for use in criminal cases in the United States. Advancements in technology, including tools created by Lafayette Instruments and other sensory devices, have allowed the lie detector test to become much more comprehensive. These tests are now commonly used for personal issues concerning relationships, business disagreements, private theft cases and domestic disturbances.
The test involves monitoring an individual’s physical signs of deception via a number of devices, including a heart rate monitor. The examiner will perform psychometric testing to establish the individual’s normal mannerisms and body metrics. The examiner will then ask the questions relevant to the case and monitor the individual’s physical and verbal responses in order to establish honesty or dishonesty.
Once the examiner is satisfied that they have assessed the individual’s metrics and responses in enough detail to establish confident results concerning the issue, they will then conclude the examination. Advanced and specialized mathematical algorithms are employed to scientifically assess the test results. The capacity for precise execution of protocol, advanced recognition of response analysis and significant experience conducting successful polygraph tests using fully functioning and updated equipment are absolutely necessary criteria that the examiner must possess in order to deliver quality results that can be trusted as truth.
Q: How accurate is the test?
A: The accuracy of the test that we conduct has been statistically proven by the American Polygraph Association to be between 95% and 98% accurate. The results of over 6000 tests were recorded and where the test is conducted following the framework outlined above and orchestrated by a qualified examiner, then the benefits of conducting lie detector tests are far and wide. As with any scientific test the accuracy lends itself to how well controlled the test is. Having an experienced examiner, controlled environment, up-to-date equipment and the necessary credentials all support a more accurate test.
Q: Is it cheaper if I only want 1 question answered?
No. The cost of performing a successful polygraph evaluation is not dependent on the amount of questions that the person being interviewed is being specifically tested for. If an organization offers a discounted rate for a single question, it is important to verify that their credentials are legitimate and up-to-date.
A proper test must follow a specific formula in order to deliver accurate results. If questions are too numerous or vary too much in unrelated content, the evaluation can become compromised. Often, depictions of polygraph tests on television and movies do not reflect the proper protocol that is required in real life. A proper lie detector test requires strict adherence to standardized testing procedures, which require focus, preparation and precision.
A lie detector test should only be used to determine the truth of statements concerning a single issue or event. Multiple questions will be asked in a variety of formulations, but each questions will concern the specific issue at hand. In this way, if the subject fails to answer any question honestly, the test will deem that the individual has failed the test entirely concerning the sole, targeted issue.
The examinations that our team of professionally credited examiners conduct are organized in precise accordance with the evaluation procedures that are outlined by the American Polygraph Association. In no way are procedures modified in a way that would compromise accuracy or accepted protocol. Tests conducted in complete accordance with accepted protocol will result in 95% to 98% accuracy. Tests that are not conducted in complete accordance with accepted protocol will result in accuracy rates similar to that of a coin toss. Service providers who guarantee 100% accuracy are not accounting for variance as recorded in any scientific experiment, and therefore should not be trusted entirely.
Because standard testing procedures require formulated protocol, the cost of conducting a polygraph test, regardless of number of questions sought out or the amount of time required, is not changed based on these factors.
Q: Is there a minimum age requirement to take a polygraph test?
A: No. However, in order to ensure accuracy, the person interviewed must possess a solid grasp of language and understand the idea of honesty. Some adolescents and children under the age of 16 may not have developed these capacities in entirety. Please take these elements into consideration when booking an appointment.
Q: Why does a lie detector test take so long?
A: We pride ourselves on accepting each and every case with full dedication to discovering the truth according to the procedures as outlined in our company policy. Every case is important, and therefore, we devote the same level of time to explaining the process, ensuring protocol, prepping the subject, etc. so that the most accurate results are possible every time.
Typically, the testing itself will take the least amount of time compared to the entire caseload. Most of the time invested in the project will consist of discussing the issue at hand and developing carefully targeted questions so that the test can function successfully. Our team also takes the time to explain the difference between lying and telling the truth, so that the person being interviewed fully understands the testing procedures and results.
The person being interviewed will be able to tell their side of the story completely prior to the testing so that the examiner can gather all the elements necessary to articulate appropriate questions. Also, the examiner will provide the list of exact questions that will be asked to the person being interviewed prior to the test. This ensures fairness and also eliminates the element of surprise, which can alter the body’s response in a way to confuse testing results. Once the polygraph is completed, the examiner will verbally inform the subject of their results and discuss them before leaving.
While it may seem like a lengthy process, conducting a fair evaluation that provides accurate results is our utmost priority, and clients often feel that it goes by quicker than they had expected!
Q: How long will it take to get the results?
A: The examiner will verbally disclose the results to the person being interviewed immediately following the completion of the polygraph test. If required, a written copy of the results will also be provided via post. Our team is also available to discuss the results with an interested third party over the phone, with permission of and upon request by the subject.
Q: What happens on the day of the lie detector test?
A: On the day of the test, there is first a pre-test interview in which we discuss the issue at hand, including the history of the individuals’ relationship, to allow the examiner to gather the exact goal of testing and issue resolution. The pre-test interview typically requires 45 minutes. During this time, you will also be required to present photo identification as proof of identity. This can be in the form of a passport, driver’s license or government issued ID. Upon your request, other individuals whom you approve may also sit in on the pre-test interview to have a better understanding of the issue and which questions will be tested.
Next, the individual being evaluated will enter the examination room. After the professional examiner connects various monitoring devices to the individual, the testing will begin. The examiner will ask a series of questions that have been carefully and specifically formulated to address the concerns of the case in a fair, objective format. The questions are based on the professional expertise of the examiners, who then record and analyze the individual’s responses.
Finally, the examiner will integrate the data collected by the technologically advanced monitoring devices along with their professional observations of the subject’s physical response to questions in order to determine a proper assessment. The individual’s comprehensive testing scores will be confirmed by the examiner, who will also provide a fully verified report. In every case, the fully verified report is always checked and peer-reviewed by another accredited examiner in order to confirm accuracy of analysis and results. With the consent of the client, we are also willing to discuss the findings of the polygraph test with a third party to help the individuals find resolution with the issue and experience closure.
Q: Why would a guilty person agree to take a lie detector test?
A: A person’s guilt or innocence cannot be determined based on their willingness to take a polygraph test. In many cases, individuals are very nervous about taking a polygraph because they have never seen it done before and are unsure of what the procedure entails. In other cases, guilty persons appear confident about taking a test in order to persuade others of their innocence. Our examiners are professionally trained to recognize a person’s hesitations, and they can distinguish between nervousness and defensive behavior.
Q: Is this the same as a Voice Stress Test?
A: No. Voice stress testing is neither accurate nor reliable when compared with certified polygraph testing strategies. Therefore, we do not use voice stress testing in our evaluations.
Q: How can you be sure the test results yield 95 - 98% accuracy?
A: A strict adherence to the precise procedures as required by our operating framework allows us to confidently assess our polygraph test results with 98% accuracy. The operating framework consists of four necessary components, all of which must be implemented to allow for accuracy assurance and to be considered as gold standard practices. The four components are:
1. Quality Examiner– The examiner must be accredited and experienced in the field of polygraph testing. Certification as issued by the APA is considered acceptable, and the examiner’s in-field experience must include cases of similar context and complexity.
2. Cutting-edge Equipment– Only modern, up-to-date polygraph testing equipment is suitable for evaluations. Devices produced by Lafayette Instruments, commonly used at an international level of polygraph cases, are considered suitable.
3. Controlled Environment– Only a setting that is void of distractions, disturbances, and interruptions is considered appropriate for testing conditions. This allows total concentration of the subject and examiner.
4. Pre-examination Assessment– This screening is performed prior to the test to make sure the examinee is willing and able to abide to the conditions of the test.
According to the American Polygraph Association (APA), a polygraph test that consists of these four components will yield results with 95% to 98% accuracy. Because the polygraph test is considered a scientific test, 100% accuracy is never guaranteed. This allows for slight variances that are natural and inherent with any scientific observation.
As a consumer warning, it is not wise to trust any service provider that guarantees test results with 100% accuracy. Many unreliable service providers are willing to cut corners and attract clients with cheap rates and quick tests. Any lie detector service that is operating without the aforementioned conditions recommended by the APA is likely to deliver unreliable results. Whether they are operating with sub-par and outdated equipment, or if they are conducting examinations in public places or noisy environments, any deviation from APA guidelines can put your entire test results in jeopardy. Unreliable, inconsistent and unsure results can create serious, additional stress revolving the unresolved issue. Because the subject matter is personal and has the ability to affect your daily quality of life, invest in a service provider that can confidently deliver accurate results by adhering to these criteria.