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frequently asked questions

Some Polygraph Guidelines


1.  What is the most accurate Polygraph Exam?  The most accurate examinations are known as "single issue" exams. These are the most accurate and appropriate for private matters and deal with one specific issue rather than a full list of matters.  Each diagnostic polygraph examination should only address one issue, with multiple aspects of the issue allowed.  More than one issue should not be addressed in a diagnostic test.   

2.  Who prepares the questions and will I know them before testing?  The requesting party should discuss the issue to be tested with the Examiner and what they really want to know. With his or her input, the Examiner then prepares test questions that are polygraph appropriate but also answer the client's concerns.  Remember, Polygraph is a very useful tool, but it cannot solve all issues or address every concern.  Therefore, the Examiner may explain that certain questions are not allowable per polygraph standards.   Prior to the testing phase, each question on the test shall be read and reviewed with the Examinee as required by law.   

3.  How long does a polygraph examination last?  There is no fixed time for any polygraph examination, but a typical exam may last anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours. This variation in time is due to the fact that no situation or Examinee is the same, and therefore each polygraph examination time may be different.  An examination consists of a pre-test interview, the actual testing phase, and the post-test interview (review of results).

4.  May I have a report of the exam?  Results of an exam are generally reviewed with the Examinee immediately following the testing and a written report of an examination that includes the relevant questions, Examinee's answers, and the Examiner's conclusions is available upon request.  It may not be ready immediately due to the time it takes to produce, but it may be mailed, emailed through a secure email, faxed, or picked up. If needed ASAP, the Examiner will produce the report within 24 hours or less if requested.  It should be noted that immediate disclosure of test results may not always be appropriate due to the particular circumstance and the requesting party's situation. 

5.  What types of questions may I ask?  Polygraph questions should regard whether or not an overt action occurred (ie. Did you shoot John Doe? or Have you had sexual intercourse with XXXX?).  No polygraph examiner should ever test intention, as it is not polygraph appropriate. (ie. Does my wife intend to ever cheat on me?).  Emotions are also not to be tested (ie. Do you love your wife?, have you fantasized about XXX?).   

6.  Do my anxieties or nerves affect the accuracy of my polygraph?  No! This is a common fear of most Examinees.  A truthful person's anxieties and nerves do not affect the validity of the testing. 

7.  Is every person appropriate for polygraph testing?  No. There may be times when an Examiner deems someone inappropriate for testing and this may include issues such as extreme fatigue, a current illness involving respiration issues, pregnancy (discuss with your doctor), mental incompetency, alcohol or drug issues (discuss with Examiner), medical issues such as a stroke, epilepsy, and any issue that resulted in significant nerve damage. 

8.  Do medicinal drugs affect testing if used appropriately as prescribed by a doctor? Each situation must be discussed with the Examiner, but often times testing is ok.  However, the Examiner reserves the right to monitor the Examinee's behaviors during the pre-test phase to assist in determining testing suitability.

9.  Are my results confidential?  Polygraph testing is confidential and a release is signed by the Examinee prior to each exam, indicating if he or she allows the Examiner to release information to another party.  Confidentiality is a priority!

10.  How Many questions can be asked on a Polygraph test? An ethical Examiner should not ask more than 3 or 4 "relevant" questions on a test, and they should be about the same issue.  Mixing issues and asking too many questions can lower the accuracy or lead to an increased possibility of an Inconclusive result.  

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