WHO CAN HIRE A POLYGRAPH EXAMINER?
Anyone can request a polygraph exam for any reason, provided the test does not violate any local, state or federal laws. The person taking the exam must be willing to take the exam, and can not have any physical or mental impairments that could affect the ability of the examiner to collect valid data. Note that in the U.S. there are significant restrictions on employers wishing to test employees.
Yes. Many clients come to us looking to prove their innocence to someone else, or to a court or judge, although admissibility of polygraph evidence varies greatly.
If you are innocent, it may be a good idea to take a private polygraph to help prove your innocence. A large number of the exams we provide are in defense of criminal charges or other allegations. While many (but not all) U.S. states prohibit using polygraph evidence at trial, it is still used extensively by police and prosecutors to help decide whether to move ahead with a case. If the exam is done through an attorney, the results will only be released if they are favorable to your case. If you have been asked by law enforcement to submit to a polygraph, you should not do so without advice from your attorney.
Yes, except in Colorado, Maine, and Washington State where it is illegal to polygraph sexual assault victims.
Yes, but only under certain conditions and if the state does not have a law prohibiting these types of exams. For more information about testing employees in the Unites States CLICK HERE.
Yes, of course. Many of our customers come to us because they were not pleased with the outcome of a previous polygraph exam. Not all examiners are created equal, and sometimes questions are designed incorrectly. If you feel you received a substandard exam we would be happy to provide you with an independent test.
Yes, most of our examiners will provide polygraph services to sporting tournaments. Many of our members regularly test for fishing and bodybuilding tournaments. CLICK HERE for more information.
SELECTING YOUR POLYGRAPH EXAMINER
There are many qualifications you need to look for in an examiner. GPN has done the research for you so that you will only be referred to a high quality examiner. For more information CLICK HERE
There are many so-called examiners who are simply frauds who never attended an accredited polygraph school. Don’t be a scam victim. CLICK HERE to learn how to protect yourself.
Simply visit the GPN web page for your preferred testing location and you will find the credentials for our local examiner.
Our examiners are all under contract with GPN to provide high-quality polygraphs at an agreed-upon price. However, GPN is not a “yellow pages” for polygraph services. You will be hiring one of our pre-screened members directly, and customers must register with our headquarters before our examiner will schedule your exam. We will not provide the examiner’s contact information without first receiving the customer’s registration. However, each examiner’s credentials are available for review on our web site by visiting the location page of choice.
Most of our examiners travel extensively and do not “sit and wait” in one random office hoping clients will appear. Exams are done by appointment only, so walk-in appointments are not viable. In addition, most of our examiners have access to multiple facilities within a given city based on availability, so the actual testing location is subject to change. The exact location for the exam will be given to you by the examiner when you book the appointment.
This acronym stands for “Post Conviction Sex Offender Testing” and is a specialized certification for polygraph examiners who wish to provide testing for persons convicted of sex crimes who are required to take periodic polygraph exams to verify issues surrounding their parole/probation and/or therapy/treatment. This certification process requires the examiner to complete a 40 hour APA-accredited training program and to meet other mandated requirements.
Mechanical (or analog) polygraph equipment has been around for nearly 100 years, but by 2010 computerized polygraphs became the standard for the industry. These new systems included complex independent chart analysis formulas (algorithms) and inkless display systems (on a computer screen rather than a roll of chart paper). Scoring of the charts is handled similarly for both systems, but the computerized system has built-in aids for the examiner and prevents equipment failures that are sometimes experienced with mechanical equipment. Analog instruments are no longer used for legitimate polygraph exams.
When an examiner is court-qualified, that means that the examiner has previously been permitted to testify in a legal proceeding by a judge or arbitrator. If you are planning to use your polygraph results as evidence in a legal proceeding, it is often advantageous to hire an examiner who has previously testified. Having this credential will make the judge’s decision easier regarding whether to admit that examiner’s testimony. However, this does NOT mean that examiners who have not testified are less qualified. Many high quality examiners have not yet had an opportunity to testify in support of a polygraph exam.
Michael has dozens of regular testing locations throughout NY, NJ, CT, PA, DE, MD, VT and NH. Please visit the listings for these states and look for locations that have Michael’s name attached. If none of these locations is convenient for you, contact us for a special quote for Michael to handle your exam personally. When you write, be sure to include your City, State, Country, number of exams you wish to have done, and the purpose for the exams.
WHY IS IT BEST TO HIRE A GPN EXAMINER?
Established in 1987, GPN is the world’s largest provider of polygraph (lie detection) services and referrals. With over 1,300 years of combined experience, we offer confidential testing on virtually any issue by experienced examiners and have hundreds of testing sites around the world to select from. With that much experience, we feel comfortable sharing the top ten reasons clients select the professionalism of The Global Polygraph Network ®.
- GPN examiners completed training at APA-accredited training facilities.
- GPN is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. You won’t be scammed.
- GPN rejects half of all examiner applications because they do not meet our membership standards.
- GPN polygraphs are conducted to APA and/or ASTM standards.
- GPN examiners will only use APA validated testing methods.
- GPN examiners put their results in writing at no additional charge.
- GPN examiner credentials can be reviewed online before you make a decision.
- GPN test prices are published in advance so there will be no surprises or hidden fees.
- GPN examiners will release their charts, upon request, so that clients can get a second opinion from a qualified Quality Control examiner.
- GPN examiners must maintain continuing education requirements through APA-approved courses.
- GPN examiners do not use unproven technologies such as voice stress analysis or “over the phone” lie detection.
GPN’s owner, Michael Martin, has been a certified polygraph expert since 1984, has conducted over 11,000 exams, and has published two textbooks for polygraph examiners. GPN is the world’s oldest and largest polygraph referral service. All GPN examiners are thoroughly screened, and must meet certain experience and certification requirements to become members (unless they are supervised by the owner). While we do screen our examiners carefully, we also rely on customer feedback to determine if there are any problems we should be aware of. The Global Polygraph Network ® is also an Accredited member of the Better Business Bureau which tracks complaints and requires compliance with good business practices, and has given GPN it’s highest rating of A+. You can find GPN’s BBB information by clicking HERE
Our web pages listing the individual exam locations contain the local examiner’s credentials.
If the state or country requires a polygraph license to operate, our examiners who provide services there will possess such a license. Please note that in the United States less than half of the states require or offer licensing for polygraph examiners. In those locations where licensing is not available, customers must be diligent to check the examiner’s background for proper training and credentials. GPN does this background check (and much more) on every member before a client is referred to one of them.
Since GPN is the world’s oldest and largest polygraph referral service, there are a number of “copycats” who are pretending to be the “Global Polygraph Network ®” to fool customers into thinking they’ve found the real thing. Don’t fall for it. The real GPN is headquartered in upstate New York, owned by polygraph expert and author Michael Martin, and maintains a Better Business Bureau Rating of A+. You can trust GPN for your polygraph needs, but make sure you are dealing with the REAL Global Polygraph Network ®.
It is GPN’s policy that its members will not discriminate based on ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or handicap. However, in the case of physically or cognitively impaired individuals, our members must assess the suitability of that person as a viable polygraph candidate.
COST OF A POLYGRAPH EXAM
GPN has nearly 500 testing locations worldwide, and each location commands a different price. Visit our Test Locations & Fees page to search for the testing location most convenient for you. The prices per exam will appear next to each location name. The average price for an exam in the United States is about $600, but prices vary from $300 to over $2000 depending on the location. To reach our Test Locations page CLICK HERE.
For the fee listed you will receive a polygraph exam administered by a trained and experienced (or supervised) polygraph expert at the location you selected. Once the exam has been completed, you are entitled to a written report of the examiner’s findings at no extra charge. The published fee is for testing on weekdays during business hours. Some examiners will charge extra for weekend and evening exams.
Polygraph examiners are highly trained professionals, most with college degrees, who provide a very specialized service. This service requires the examiner to purchase expensive equipment and pursue continuing education in order to maintain a high degree of proficiency. The process of asking “just one question” could take hours, due to the diagnostic process involved, so a single exam often takes an examiner an entire working day (including travel). In most cases, the polygraph is performed because there simply is no other reasonable way to get the desired information, such as when no evidence exists one way or the other, or when it is simply a “he-said she-said” situation. For example, in a fidelity case a person might spend thousands of dollars on surveillance while the same information could be obtained for a fraction of the price with polygraph, resulting in thousands of dollars saved. The fees charged for polygraph testing are reasonable when considering the cost of training and equipment, degree of specialization and worldwide need for this unusual service. GPN does not set the fees charged by its members.
Of course you can find less a expensive polygraph examiner out there, but how much trust are you willing to put in the results of a “discount” polygraph? Any examiner who charges less than $300 is probably using out-of-date equipment, has inadequate training, or has not kept up with the latest technological advances in polygraphy. We suggest that if budget is a large issue, look for qualified examiners outside of your local area and be willing to drive several hours to get there. In most cases if you are willing to travel you will find less expensive polygraph services by qualified examiners. The Zip Code Search feature (U.S. only) on our web site can help you with this search, and will list our ten nearest locations. CLICK HERE to learn how to protect yourself from polygraph frauds.
In most cases we do offer discounts for volume testing (when 2 or more people are tested). Please review the information published on each location page for possible discounts available.
If both parties in a relationship wish to be tested regarding relationship issues, most of our examiners offer discounts off the second exam. These discounts (if available) are noted on each location page.
GPN prides itself on up-front pricing, so the fee listed on our site is the all-inclusive price for one polygraph exam with four or less primary (relevant) questions conducted during normal business hours. However, additional charges may be incurred for –
- exams covering more than four questions
- use of an interpreter
- use of audio or video recording equipment
- exams conducted after business hours or on weekends
- examiner’s testimony in court or other proceeding
- testing outside of the examiner’s office
- sales tax if required.
Statistically, nearly half of all clients who schedule appointments without a deposit do not show up for their appointments. The deposit helps insure that clients are serious about moving ahead with their exams and are not using it merely as a tool to try to extort information from someone. The deposit is NOT an additional fee – it is part of the overall fee that is listed for a given location. The deposit also constitutes GPN’s referral fee. Your local examiner will also request a second deposit (reservation fee) to secure your appointment, but again, this is not an additional fee, just part of the overall published fee. In most cases the deposit is not refundable. However, if your GPN examiner declines to provide your exam, or does not offer you an appointment within 30 days, the deposit is refundable. If you (the customer) change your mind, ignore the examiner’s attempts to reach you, or cancel the exam for any reason, the deposit is forfeit and we must receive another deposit prior to scheduling with us a second time.
The deposit amount varies by test location. The deposit amount is shown on each individual location page.
Clients can cancel appointments at any time but will forfeit their deposits by doing so. GPN examiners will require at least 24 hours notice of a cancellation or the customer will be responsible for the entire exam fee. Individual members may have more restrictive policies. CLICK HERE to review the complete policy.
Initial deposits for polygraph services and referrals can be paid for by any major credit card, debit card, prepaid debit card, Paypal, or by money order. The balance of the fee (which is payable directly to the local examiner) is subject to each examiner’s payment policy, which can be found on each corresponding location page.
If you don’t have a credit or debit card, you still have three ways to pay for the initial deposit on your exam –
- Many stores (like WalMart) sell prepaid debit cards which you can purchase. These prepaid cards (also known as gift cards) can be used to order services through GPN. Just make sure the card has either a Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express logo on the front. You can supply this card information just as you would with any regular credit card.
- You can use Paypal to pay for the initial deposit. Paypal is a secure online payment service which can be linked to a checking or savings account. Simply request that we send you a Paypal invoice for your deposit (valid email address required).
- You can mail us a money order for the initial deposit, but this will significantly slow down the process since your exam will not be scheduled until the money order has been received and processed at our headquarters
Once your initial deposit has been paid, most examiners will allow you to make payments towards your final balance. However, the exam will probably not be scheduled until the full fee has been collected by your local examiner.
Yes. The prices that are published on the GPN web site are updated several times per week.
GPN does offer free polygraph testing at some locations, but there are requirements that must be met. Free exams are only provided to defendants in criminal cases where either charges have been filed or the client has been found guilty and is seeking a new trial. In exchange for this free exam, clients must allow the results of the polygraph to be released to the media regardless of the outcome of the test. Free exams are not available for civil cases or domestic (relationship) issue tests. Contact us if you feel your situation qualifies for this program.
WHO CAN TAKE A POLYGRAPH?
Provided the test does not violate any local, state or federal laws, anyone over 18 can take a polygraph exam for any reason. Children under 18 can be tested in some cases with written permission from the parent or guardian.
A polygraph exam does not cause any physical injury to the person being tested. The only discomfort is a standard blood pressure cuff which is typically wrapped around the upper arm and is inflated for 6 to 7 minutes at a time. However, there are increased stress levels during the testing process which should be considered. Some medical conditions are sensitive to increased stress levels, such as some heart conditions and pregnancy. Depending on the medical condition, most examiners would require an approval from the treating physician prior to conducting an exam on someone with such a condition. To download GPN’s medical release form CLICK HERE
There is no medication that will cause someone to pass a polygraph when they would otherwise fail. However, any drug or medication that suppresses normal activity of the Central Nervous System (sedatives, anti-anxiety meds, blood pressure stabilizers, beta blockers, etc.) will reduce the strength of reactions found on the polygraph charts, resulting in a higher likelihood of inconclusive results. However, these medications will not change the outcome of an exam and will only serve to reduce the odds of resolving the issue our examiner is trying to resolve.
Yes, although testing a deaf person will require a “signing interpreter” who can either sign the questions or display flash cards.
Yes. However, testing in prisons requires making special arrangements, usually through an attorney, to insure that an adequate room is provided which is free from interfering noises and distractions. You should also discuss test duration with the examiner so that sufficient time is allotted for the test. These exams must be quoted individually based on the location of the facility.
It does not affect the outcome of a polygraph exam to test a pregnant woman unless the fetus is making excessive movements or causing pain to the mother during the exam. Many examiners will not test a pregnant woman under any circumstances, but others are ok with testing after the first trimester. Some examiners will test only with a note from the woman’s physician stating that there are no complications from the pregnancy and that the stress of taking a polygraph would not impact the health of the mother or fetus. Note: Examiners in Texas are not permitted to test pregnant women. To download GPN’s medical release form Click Here
Yes, but only under certain conditions and if the state does not have a law prohibiting these types of exams. For more information about testing employees in the Unites States CLICK HERE
It depends. A job applicant in the United States can be asked to take a pre-employment polygraph exam if their employer falls under one of the following exemptions AND if the state does not have a law prohibiting these types of exams. If you are asked to take a polygraph to get a job with any company that is not on this list, it is an illegal exam.
(1) Government agencies
(2) Law enforcement
(3) Security companies
(4) Armored car companies
(5) Power generating companies
(6) Companies that sell or transport pharmaceuticals
The minimum age to take a polygraph varies by examiner, but ranges from 12 to 16 years old. Anyone under 18 who wishes to be tested must obtain written consent from a parent or guardian. Children under 12 years old are not able to produce reliable polygraph results. Your examiner will provide you with a parental consent form if necessary.
No. A polygraph exam must be taken voluntarily. In some cases a judge can order a polygraph exam to be taken, but it is still up to the examinee whether to cooperate with the court order or deal with the consequences for violating it.
SCHEDULING YOUR POLYGRAPH EXAM
The first step is to select the location where you want the exam done. Once you select the location that is best for you, you’ll need to register with us by filling out the registration form or calling us directly. If you do not find a convenient location on our web site, contact us directly and we will see if one of our members can come to you. We will also need an initial deposit before our examiner will schedule the appointment. Once the registration and deposit are received, the examiner will contact you to schedule your appointment for a mutually convenient date and time. The balance of the test fee is paid directly to the examiner. For a current list of testing locations and prices CLICK HERE
GPN has hundreds of testing loations worldwide. For a list to GPN’s testing locations CLICK HERE . In the United States you will be able to enter your zip code for a list of your 10 nearest testing locations.
As long as the client is over 18 years old, the person taking the test is willing, and the request does not violate any laws, we can handle requests from anyone. Our client base includes the general public, attorneys, therapists, corporations, law enforcement, the media, and government agencies. If a U.S. employer wishes to test an employee, care must be taken to comply with the federal EPPA regulations which govern the testing of employees in the United States.
From the time we receive and process your registration and deposit, it normally takes 7 to 10 days to get an appointment, depending on individual examiner availability. Some times it takes longer, some times less. It is our guarantee that you will be offered an appointment date within 30 days unless we have published that your examiner is unavailable.
We offer testing at 500 different locations, so the available days and hours will vary from one location to another. Most testing locations are available during business hours Monday through Friday, but many are also available on weekends and evenings. The testing hours for a particular location can be found on each individual location page.
Unfortunately, we do not offer walk-ins or same day appointments. Our registration process can take one business day. Then, once you are in contact with the local office, availability varies depending on the local examiner’s workload. Rest assured the examiner will offer you his/her soonest appointment available.
Not generally, but if a situation is particularly urgent the local examiner may be able to fit you in faster on an emergency basis.
No, an attorney is not required to use the services of a polygraph examiner. However, in some cases it may be wise to have your attorney hire the examiner so that any information the examiner may have will be protected under attorney-client privilege.
We do not recommend any person being tested more than 4 times per year under any circumstances. For best results a person should not be tested more than 2 times in a 12 month period.
PREPARING FOR THE EXAM
For best results, the person taking the polygraph should be well-rested and free of any extraordinary fatigue or stress factors on the day of the exam. This means getting a good night’s rest, eating a small meal, and avoiding stressful incidents (arguments, interrogations, emergencies) prior to the exam. If the person is in any pain, we suggest postponing the exam until the cause of the pain has been remedied rather than attempting to control the pain with medication. If the person is taking regular prescription medications he/she should continue taking those medications. If the prescription medications are taken infrequently “as needed” then we generally advise not to take these medications until after the exam. It is ok to take aspirin or other mild over-the-counter medications, which should have no affect on the exam. The examinee should avoid illegal drugs and alcohol for 18 to 24 hours prior to the appointment. It is normal to be concerned about the exam and a certain amount of anxiety will be expected by the examiner.
Since a person can’t be forced to take a polygraph, it is usually best to present the polygraph exam as an opportunity for the person to clear his or her name or disprove something that can not be disproved any other way. The person being tested should not be accused of anything prior to the exam. Pretest discussions should always be calm and rational. There must always be a perceived benefit for the person to take the exam, and this benefit must be made clear. It is also sometimes helpful to indicate that refusing to take the exam will provide your answers indirectly (except in employment situations where this statement would not be legal to make), so the person has everything to gain by submitting to the test.
Under no circumstances should you surprise someone with a polygraph exam. We recommend giving at least one week’s notice, but never less than a few days. If the person taking the exam is one of your employees (in the United States) you must give that person written notice at least 2 business days before the exam date.
No. There are many rules for question design that must be followed. In addition, the final version of the test questions may be changed based on the examiner’s interview. It is OK to provide the general nature of the intended questions to the examinee before the polygraph, but not the exact questions.
Taking a polygraph exam does not cause any physical injury to a person. However, going through a polygraph procedure can be stressful. Our examiners must take steps to ensure that the increased stress of a polygraph is not likely to affect the health of the person being tested. This release form is usually required for anyone with a heart condition or anyone who is pregnant, but may also be required for any other medical condition at the discretion of the examiner. To download GPN’s medical release form CLICK HERE
In some cases the person being tested may not be fluent in the language used by the examiner. In these cases we recommend that an interpreter be used. The interpreter must not be personally acquainted with the person who is being tested and must have no interest in the outcome of the exam. In other words, we suggest hiring a professional interpreter. Note that the fees for an interpreter are not covered in the exam fee and must be paid by the client.
There are many rules for question design (see below). Our examiner will work with the client to develop the best possible questions to resolve a particular situation. Each exam is custom-made to suit the needs of our clients. In addition to the relevant questions (which address the primary test issue) the examiner will add a number of other questions (non-relevant) to establishing baselines and aid in scoring.
There are many rules for the design of polygraph questions which must be followed. Normally you will explain your situation to the examiner and that examiner will then work with you to come up with the best questions to resolve your situation. You can suggest questions, but these questions must be approved (or modified) by your examiner before they can be used. Here is a link to our page about Question Design Rules.
Research statistics on polygraph accuracy are all based on a single-question single-issue exam, which is the most accurate format possible. As more relevant questions are added to an exam, the overall accuracy of the exam goes down. While a single-question exam is the most accurate technique, some clients need to resolve more questions than just one. In those cases, 4 relevant questions is the maximum number of relevant questions for a single exam, and these questions must be related to one another. Also, we can not “mix issues” in a polygraph exam. If you need to cover more than 4 relevant questions or need more than one issue covered, we will have to conduct more than one exam. Remember that asking just one question will produce the most accurate results.
Any fact-based question can usually be addressed in a polygraph exam, but there are several rules for question design that must be followed. Here is a link to our page about Question Design Rules.
There are quite a few rules for designing proper polygraph questions. Your examiner will work with you to develop the best questions for your situation. Here is a link to the basic RULES for question design.
Yes.All of our examiners are highly trained in this area and will help you resolve those personal issues that are important to you. In addition, in 2012 GPN’s owner Michael Martin published the first textbook for polygraph examiners regarding Domestic (Relationship) Issues. Caution: The State of Maine (U.S.) has a law prohibiting examiners from asking questions about sexual activities.
In most cases no. A polygraph should only cover one subject matter at a time – topics can not be mixed within a test. For example, you should not ask about “theft” and “drug use” within the same test, and you should not ask about “infidelity” and “assault” within the same test. If you need to cover more than one topic you will need to run more than one exam. Multiple issue formats are usually reserved for employment screening situations where several issues of equal importance are covered and accuracy is not as critical as in some other scenarios.
Absolutely. As long as the person being tested has a clear recollection of the events in question and understands the consequences of his/her actions, the test will function properly. There is no rush to have the test done. A delay will not affect the results.
Absolutely not. It is mandatory for all examiners to review all the test questions with the examinee before being attached to the polygraph instrument.
No. There are many rules for question design that must be followed. In addition, the final version of the test questions may be changed based on the examiner’s interview. It is OK to provide the general nature of the intended questions to the examinee before the polygraph, but not the exact questions.
Many federal agencies require polygraphs for job applicants. While we can certainly provide these exams, it is not likely that our results will be accepted by the agency without prior approval from that agency. It would be better to contact the agency directly for a list of pre-approved polygraph vendors.
THE EXAM ROOM
In most cases our examiners will be providing the exam rooms for the test. In some rare cases when the exam room is not available we can provide in-home testing.
Many of our examiners will travel to clients’ homes or offices to provide testing, but additional fees will likely apply. It will be the customer’s responsibility to provide a suitable room for the exam. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for special pricing to come to your location.
If the examiner agrees to come to the customer’s home or office, it will be the customer’s responsibility to provide a suitable testing room. The room must be quiet and free from distracting noises and other interference (ie. crying babies, telephones, television, nearby conversations). Room temperature should be between 70-73 degrees F (21-23 C). No one other than the subject and examiner (and possibly the examiner’s assistant or interpreter) are permitted in the exam room. There must be a table (18″ x 30″ minimum), two chairs and an electrical outlet. This room may be inside someone’s home or office, or may be a rented meeting room at a hotel. We do not recommend testing in a hotel room or bedroom, particularly with female subjects, for obvious reasons.
No. No person other than the examiner and the examinee are permitted in the exam room during the exam, with a few exceptions. Of course if an interpreter is used that person will have to be in the room. The examiner may have an assistant or second examiner present for training or quality control purposes. In some cases the examinee’s attorney may insist on being present during the exam, but this only happens on rare occasions.
Government studies previously concluded that the single-issue (one question) polygraph exam, conducted properly by a qualified examiner, is 87 to 95 percent accurate on average. However, a newer 2011 meta-study determined that some polygraph techniques are more accurate than others, and has “validated” specific techniques which demonstrate a 90% or better accuracy rate for specific issue tests. It is the most accurate tool available today for determining truth or deception. Accuracy of the multi-question exam drops to around 80 percent due to a number of psychological factors.
Test results are usually supplied directly to our client (the person who hired us) and to anyone else specifically designated on the polygraph release form. The person taking the exam is not usually given a copy of the results unless the client authorizes it. Note that the person who paid for the exam may or may not be our client. Simply paying for the exam does not automatically entitle that person to someone else’s test results.
Release of test results is up to the individual examiner. Some examiners will provide a verbal report immediately, some within 24 hours, and others will provide the written report first and then discuss those results with the client. A written report must be provided by our examiner if the client requests one. This written report can take 7 to 10 days to prepare in some cases.
If your exam is being conducted at the request of an attorney, any information obtained during the course of this examination is covered under attorney privilege and can not be disclosed to anyone outside of this relationship. If an attorney is not used, information obtained during the course of this examination will only be disclosed to our client, or to anyone authorized by our client, with the following exception. Under U.S. Title 18, U.S.C. 4 (Misprision of Felony) if the examinee admits to having committed a felony, we are required to report this information to appropriate authorities. In some U.S. states that require a polygraph license, an examination failure to questions about involvement in a serious crime must also be reported (unless attorney-client privilege is attached).
The polygraph works by recording changes in a person’s Sympathetic Nervous System, part of the Autonomic Nervous System, which operates independently of conscious thought. For example, your lungs and heart continue to operate even when you are asleep – you don’t have to think about them. These systems can be consciously controlled only very slightly, and attempts to change these systems are usually picked up by the examiners, who are trained to identify such things. It is highly unlikely that someone can alter the outcome of a polygraph exam, but it is not impossible. A verified accuracy rate significantly higher than 90% attests to this fact. All examiners now use “countermeasures detection” equipment which easily identifies anyone who attempts to use the techniques taught by some web sites and government agencies. Unfortunately, many honest people are found “deceptive” to the test questions after attempting to use these techniques simply because they attempted to influence their test results. When an examiner discovers that the examinee is doing things to affect the charts, the result is either “deception indicated” or “inconclusive.” In other words, a person will not pass a polygraph by using these techniques. In fact, recent research (2008-2009) has determined that in most cases when someone attempts to use the techniques taught on the internet to “beat” a polygraph, their test results actually GET WORSE (their scores indicate greater deception than if they had done nothing). Use of certain drugs and medications can also affect the exam, but such use generally results in an “inconclusive” test. It is virtually impossible to change a result from “deceptive” to “truthful” through the use of drugs or medications prior to an exam. If drugs are suspected, a pre-test (or post-test) drug screening is advised.
No. Compulsive liars may not be able to stop themselves from telling lies, but they still know when they are telling a lie. As long as the person being tested knows what reality is, the polygraph will work fine.
A typical polygraph report should include:
(1) the examinee’s name
(2) the date of the exam
(3) the purpose of the exam
(4) any relevant statements or admissions made during the exam
(5) the relevant questions that were asked
(6) the answers that were given
(7) the result from the examiner’s analysis of the polygraph charts
(8) the examiner’s name and signature
(9) the examiner’s phone number
The actual charts (polygrams) are not included in the report because significant training is required before they can be understood and/or analyzed.
A “hand score” is a visual analysis of the polygrams (charts), done by the examiner, following the industry standards and scoring rules for the particular type of polygraph that was given. The computerized score is generated by the computer software and uses complex scoring algorithms. Unfortunately, computers can only look at pure data and often can not determine whether a change in a person’s polygram is caused by a psychological reaction rather than a physical distortion (such as a muscle contraction or movement). For this and other reasons, the OFFICIAL score of a polygraph exam is the hand score. The computerized score can be used as supporting information, but not as a stand-alone test result. If you are only provided with a computerized score, you should insist on getting the hand score as well. Some examiners can get lazy and rely only on the computerized score, but a recent survey found that computerized scores disagreed with hand scores 25% of the time.
Polygraph is a tool, just like any other. It is designed to assist and guide the investigator or client in making certain decisions. However, since polygraph results are statistical in nature, it is never recommended to make life-changing decisions based solely on the results of a polygraph exam. Results should be used for guidance in making decisions, but should not be the only factor considered when making those decisions.
While polygraph results are not per-se inadmissible in most courts, the final decision usually rests with the individual judge or arbitrator. Civil courts are more likely to admit polygraph evidence than criminal courts. Clients must check with the specific jurisdiction to determine local admissibility standards. If you intend to use polygraph results as evidence, you should select an examiner who has testified and been approved as an “expert.” This is noted on each location page of our web site with the examiner’s other credentials. Some judges will require a “Daubert” hearing to determine the admissibility of scientific evidence on a case-by-case basis. As time goes on, more and more jurisdictions are tending toward accepting polygraph evidence.
Absolutely. All of our examiners will stand behind their test results and will appear at any hearing, trial, or deposition upon request by the client. Note, however, that any fee for testimony is not included in the exam fee. Our examiners do charge for their time, so additional fees will be incurred for testimony.
An Inconclusive result means that the examiner was able to collect valid charts but was not able to render a decision of truth or deception based on the data that was collected. This result is usually caused by the use of certain drugs or medications, lack of sleep, low blood sugar, fatigue, or failure to understand or comprehend the questions that were asked. A result of No Opinion means the charts were too distorted to be analyzed, which is usually caused by the examinee’s failure to cooperate with the examiner, failure to refrain from moving during the exam, or failure to follow the examiner’s instructions.
If the results of your GPN exam are in question, or if you would simply like a second opinion, please note that all GPN examiners must provide a complete set of charts (polygrams) from your polygraph upon request so you can have them reviewed by another examiner. These charts will be sent directly to the QC examiner of your choice. Note that a qualified QC examiner must have completed training at an APA-accredited training facility and must be specifically trained in the technique used by your GPN examiner. Your examiner may charge you a reasonable fee for producing these charts. You will be responsible for the cost of the review by the QC examiner that you hire. GPN’s owner Michael Martin is available to provide QC services upon request.
A second option would be to have a retest done by a different examiner, but care must be taken to hire a qualified examiner. CLICK HERE to learn how to hire a qualified examiner.
Not a single published (peer-reviewed) research study – except the studies produced by the VSA equipment manufacturers – gives voice stress technology better than chance odds of determining if someone is being truthful. In other words, flipping a coin gives you the same accuracy. VSA and CVSA proponents will try to tell you about studies that validate their technology, but just ask them for a copy of (or a link to) the actual research and see what you get.
In most cases the polygraph tests you see on television are not real, or they are done by examiners who are not using accepted or validated testing methods, or take short cuts to appease their producers. The “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” approach is nonsense. Read more about this topic HERE.
There are two organizations that have established and published worldwide standards for the administration of polygraph exams – The American Polygraph Association (APA) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). All government agencies and courts that have accepted polygraphic evidence require exams to be conducted to certain published standards. If an exam is not done to the standards of at least one of these organizations, the results of that exam can be called into question. Note that simply belonging to one of these organizations does not guarantee that the examiner is conducting exams to their published standards. In addition, make sure the examiner is using a validated testing technique.
In a perfect world they would be the same. Unfortunately, many law enforcement examiners use polygraph as an interrogation tool and are more interested in the utility of a polygraph test than in the accuracy of the results. A second issue is that many law enforcement examiners are using out of date (non-validated) testing methods which can lead to incorrect results. Even if the examiner has completed continuing education and has learned the best (most accurate) methods, that examiner must choose (and be allowed to use) those improved methods. The bottom line is that more people fail law enforcement polygraphs than private polygraphs. If you have been asked to take a polygraph by law enforcement, it is often advisable to have a private polygraph done first by a reputable examiner. In many cases law enforcement will accept the results of a private exam if that examiner has acceptable credentials.
Unless you have completed an accredited polygraph training program, you will not be able to use a polygraph instrument for the purposes of detecting lies. This requires extensive training and practice.
First you must complete an accredited polygraph training program which lasts 10 to 13 weeks. After graduating, you must gain experience by working for an established polygraph company or government agency (as an intern). Once you have achieved some experience, under supervision, and meet any other licensing requirements (which varies by state) you will be able to provide polygraph services on your own. Once you complete at least 100 exams you may be eligible to become a member of the Global Polygraph Network ®. GPN is now offering an internship program for those examiners who have completed their training but have not administered 100 exams.
If you have completed training at an accredited polygraph training facility you may be eligible to join the Global Polygraph Network ®. If you have administered over 100 exams you can become a full member and receive polygraph referrals. If you have not administered 100 exams, you may qualify to become an Intern member and must work under the supervision of a full member until you have completed your internship. For more information CLICK HERE.
Yes. If you have completed, are attending, or plan to attend an accredited polygraph training facility, you may be eligible for an internship with GPN. CLICK HERE for more information.
For anyone wishing to become a private polygraph examiner, GPN recommends and endorses the PEAK Polygraph School in Florida and the Marston Polygraph Academy in California.
Here are the steps necessary to “beat” a polygraph. Keep in mind that these techniques will work less than half the time. Most of the time the examiner will identify that the person is using them.
(1) Get a prescription for a drug that supresses the Sympathetic Nervous System.
(2) Take a course in how to identify the types and purpose of different kinds of questions used in a polygraph exam.
(3) Hire a polygraph examiner to learn how to perform “mental countermeasures.” You will have to find an amoral examiner to do this, because a professional examiner will not provide this service. Don’t even think about using “physical countermeasures” because all current examiners use sensors to identify physical countermeasures.
(4) Spend a few days with the examiner practicing your countermeasures until you have mastered them.
(5) Hope that the examiner giving you the real test is using the same technique that the practice examiner was using.
(6) Take the medication noted above before the exam.
(7) Cross your fingers.
Note: Being caught using countermeasures is often worse than failing a polygraph because the examiner will never again believe anything you have to say.
FMRI measures blood flow in the brain in real time. In the case of deception, certain parts of the brain are used more (“cognitive load”) with the Subject suppressing memory as they construct a fictitious account of what happened. Unfortunately, the innocent person will also struggle to recall what happened on any particular date and time in the past (unless it just happened), creating the same overload issue as with the deceptive person. There is also the issue of “rehearsal.” If the Subject has three weeks to work on his/her story, then cognitive load will be reduced when asked to recall. A well-rehearsed alibi would appear credible while the poor sap who is struggling to remember will appear like the bad guy! At this stage of development, fMRI is much less reliable than polygraph.
EyeDetect (eye scan) is an emerging technology that has been validated at the same accuracy as a multiple issue polygraph, which is the least accurate polygraph format available. EyeDetect accuracy can not compete with the accuracy of a single-issue polygraph.