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What if I feel nervous about taking the test? Will it affect the outcome?
This is probably the most common question asked. Nervousness is not interpreted as deception. Almost everyone is at least a little nervous about taking a polygraph exam. It is up to the examiner to assure the subject that they need not to be concerned with being nervous. Nervousness should never be mistaken to cause an innocent person to react guilty.
Should I take a private polygraph if I am charged with a crime?
Defense attorneys will often times have their clients who are involved in serious crimes take a test from a private examiner. If they pass the test, their attorney will tell the police they are willing to take a test from them (knowing they will pass). If they don't pass the test from the private examiner, the results are never released and the defense attorney would handle the case accordingly.
Can you be tested if you're incarcerated?
Yes, we conduct polygraph testing in the various county jails and prisons all the time. These tests are usually done for defense attorneys and the public defender office and often times involve capital cases (murder).
How old do you have to be to take a polygraph exam?
The minimum age varies between 12-14 years old depending upon the maturity level of the child, their attention span and cognitive ability. Children under 12 are often unable to render reliable polygraph results. Any child under the age of 18 would have to have a parent juvenile release form signed by a parent or legal guardian before testing.
What if you need an interpreter while taking the exam?
For any language barrier, we recommend an interpreter. They should not be personally acquainted with the person taking the exam and should not have an interest in the outcome of the testing. We recommend hiring a professional and the fees are not covered in the exam fee, they must be paid separately.
If something took place a long time ago, can you test for that?
Yes of course, as long as the person being tested has a clear memory of the events in question and understands the outcome of his or her actions. A delay will not affect the results.
Can you take the test if you have a medical condition?
There are few medical conditions that would prevent you from taking a polygraph examination. If you have high blood pressure and are taking medication and it is stabilized that should not be a problem. If you are taking medication for a heart problem that should not be a concern. Always continue to take your medication you are on. A polygraph exam does not cause any physical pain while you are taking the test. You may feel a little discomfort from the blood pressure cuff typically wrapped around your upper arm. If you feel a need to do so, you may contact your physician and tell them you are taking a polygraph test.
Can you test if you're pregnant?
Yes. We do require you to get written permission from your doctor first. The outcome of the test will not be affected if you are pregnant.
If I take medicine will it interfere with the test?
If you are taking prescribed or over the counter medication, it will not usually interfere with the testing. Let the examiner know the list of medications you are taking and do not discontinue taking any medication without approval of your doctor.
How accurate is a polygraph test?
Considerable scientific research has been conducted on the valiidity, accuracy, and reliability of polygraph testing. With a certified and qualified examiner it is in the 90% to 95% range.
Can someone beat the test?
People don't beat a polygraph test. They beat the examiner conducting the test. This is why it is imperative to ensure that the examiner conducting the test is certified and qualified to conduct the test. A polygraph is simply an instrument that records changes in autonomic reactivity when confronting a given stimululs (questions). If a person engages in behaviors that are designed to distort the polygraph tracings (counter measures) . The examiner to identify and determine when this is occurring. In most cases, it is easy for a qualified examiner to determine when an examinee is attempting to influence the outcome of the exam. Typically, truthful examiness are cooperative and follow instructions whereas deceptive examinees will attempt to engage in certain behaviors in an effot to distort the tracings.
How long does a polygraph take?
Depending on the complexity of the case and the issue being tested, a polygraph test usually takes up to three hours. In most cases, a verbal result is available immediately after testing followed by a written report.