First, the number of questions asked is not nearly as important as the number of issues to be addressed. The most reliable and accurate test is one that deals with a single central issue, for example: "Is my partner cheating on me?" All questions will be carefully formulated to provide a definitive answer to that issue. Generally, the more specific the issue, the better; for example: "Has my partner had physical sexual contact with anyone other than me, in the past 3 years."
Multiple-issue tests are administered when several matters of equal importance are of concern. Usually, the focus of the test can, and should, be narrowed down to 1 or 2 key issues. The more focused the test is, the more accurate and reliable the results will be.
All questions are limited to "yes" or "no" answer format. Question design is a joint effort between all parties involved (Requestor, Examinee, & Examiner). Once the main issue is relayed, it is the job of the Examiner to formulate the specific questions to be asked. Question suggestions by the Requestor and/or the Examinee may need to be altered slightly, to accomodate proper testing format.
The subject matter of the polygraph exam, and the individual test questions, shall be fully explained, and agreed to, by the Examinee, prior to testing.
How accurate is the polygraph?
There have been numerous studies conducted offering scientific evidence that supports the high validity of polygraph examinations. A valid examination, however, requires a properly trained examiner, a polygraph instrument that records as a minimum cardiovascular, respiratory, and electrodermal activity, and the proper administration of an accepted testing procedure and scoring system. Research studies on the validity and reliability of polygraph testing have been compiled by The American Polygraph Association. The 80 research projects listed, published since 1980, involved 6,380 polygraph examinations or sets of charts from examinations.
Researchers conducted 12 studies of the validity of field examinations, following 2,174 field exams, providing an average accuracy of 98%. 11 studies involving the reliability of independent analyses of 1,609 sets of charts from field examinations (confirmed by independent evidence), provided an average accuracy of 92%.
In other words, "real-life" field polygraph exams were shown to be 98% accurate in determining truth or deception. Independent examiners scoring charts from tests they did not administer, had an accuracy of 92%.
Unfortunately, few, (if any), measures involving the human element are considered 100% accurate. DNA tests, for example, generally report accuracy in the mid-to-very high 90 percentile. The polygraph exam is widely recognized worldwide, as the very best method available today to determine truthfulness. As with all statistical data, we find wide variance in the reported accuracy of the polygraph. If you have concerns in this regard, I would suggest reviewing unbiased, independent studies , specifically by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and/or the U.S. Dept. of Defense (DODPI).
Undoubtedly, I believe in what I do, or I would not have committed to this field beyond my law enforcement career. I know the polygraph works, first-hand, through years of validated cases. Being accurate is my first priority.
How confidential is the test?
Privacy is of the utmost importance. Prior to any testing, the examinee must indicate in writing, the person or persons authorized to receive the results. These will be the ONLY persons that will receive any information regarding the test or the results. If the exam is requested through an attorney, Certified Polygraph Testing shall act as an extension of that attorney, and shall be further bound by attorney-client privilege. Every polygraph exam is conducted with the absolute highest degree of seriousness, dignity, and privacy.
*Note: Although I am a retired Police Detective, and associated with Law Enforcement, private exams are just that: private. Your Polygraph is your business, and no unauthorized persons, including Law Enforcement, shall be privileged to this material.
How long does the test take?
While every case is unique, most polygraph examinations typically require 3 to 4 hours. If, for some reason, a second exam of the same examinee is desired, an additional 1 to 2 hours will be necessary.
In 1993, the Supreme Court removed the restrictive requirements of the 1923 Frye decision on scientific evidence and said that Rule 702 requirements were sufficient, [Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceutcals, 113 S. Ct. 2786]. Polygraph results are admissible in some federal circuits and in some states. Usually, such evidence is admissible where the parties have agreed to its admissibility, prior to the examination, under the terms of a stipulation.
Some general conclusions can be drawn from the years of polygraph case law:
*The court system has not made any specific, permanent, or final decisions regarding the admissibility of polygraph.
*Ultimately, it is up to the Judge as to how he or she will handle any motion to admit or disallow polygraph evidence.
* Polygraph is regularly admitted, and regularly rejected, as evidence in trial.
* Polygraph is more likely to be allowed in civil proceedings than in criminal cases.
*Polygraph is widely used and accepted in other venues of government, such as pre-employment testing for Law-Enforcement, testing for security clearances, financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and tests for espionage and sabotage.
The bottom line is, that each jurisdiction must be checked to determine admissibility standards; some courts have allowed polygraph evidence while others have not. In most cases, polygraph evidence is used during pretrial investigations and preparations rather than during the actual trial.
Will nervousness or high blood pressure affect the results?
Nervousness is not interpreted as deception. Nearly every examinee maintains a level of nervousness during the course of the exam, myself included. Over the span of my law enforcement career, I have been required, as a course of employment, to submit to several polygraph examinations (see About CPT).Even though I was truthful, I was nervous during each exam: After all, it is very intrusive speaking with someone who has the ability to know when you are lying. The nervousness subsided at some point during the process, and my truthfulness was verified by the polygraph charts. Nervousness is a general, underlying condition, while deceptive reactions to specific questions are distinct, consistent, and isolated.
While blood pressure is one of the physiological reactions measured, high blood pressure (hyper-tension) does not affect the accuracy of the polygraph test. High blood pressure is a constant condition, while deceptive reaction is specific only to the questions being lied to.
**There is no charge for Consultations- Please call or Email **
Polygraph Exams are administered for a wide variety of situations- both public and private. Fees will vary depending upon the circumstances, volume, and type of testing required. Please contact CPT to discuss your situation and pricing. Your quoted fee will include all pre-test preparation, in-depth interviews, administration of the exam, and a detailed written report within 48 hours following the examination.
A non-refundable deposit of at least $125 is required prior to any work beyond the initial consultation. The deposit is to secure a date, time, and location for the exam. The balance is due the day of the exam.
*Additional fees may be incurred for special circumstances, such as Spanish language testing (additional preparation necessary), or long-distance remote-site testing.
While my fees are lower than most certified polygraph services in this area, the quality of service rendered is in no way diminished. I am able to maintain a very competitive rate, in part, because I am the owner and sole examiner of the company. As such, I do not need to pay associates, affiliates, or contracted examiners. While cost is always an important consideration- reputation , experience and qualifications should be of primary concern when evaluating a Polygraph Examiner.
A fully detailed written report regarding the polygraph results will be generated within 48 hours following the exam. Reports shall be made available to the interested person(s) as quickly as circumstances allow, but no later than 48 hours. The report may be sent via email, and/or a hard copy delivered via U.S. Postal Service, as directed by the requestor. Additional time must be allowed if sent via post office, whereas electronic results will be received immediately.
Yes, mostly concerning employee polygraphs. The Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) is covered extensively in the "Business" portion of the Services page.
Otherwise, there are no other specific legal restrictions, providing that the Examinee is taking the test voluntarily. There is no minimum age requirement, however, the polygraph requires a certain level of language and abstract concept comprehension to successfully complete the exam. Most children under the age of twelve cannot be tested, due to this developmental limitation. There are exceptions to this general guideline (the youngest that I have tested were 10-year-olds), which may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
It may not be advisable for persons with serious medical conditions (certain surgeries, acute heart conditions, etc) to undergo the exam without first consulting their physician. The conception that pregnant women cannot, or should not, undergo polygraph testing is incorrect. There is no danger of the fetus' vital signs appearing on the Examinee's chart tracings, nor will its movements influence the outcome of the test. The only possible potential for harm would be from any undue stress incurred upon the pregnant Examinee, however, a properly conducted polygraph exam should serve to alleviate any stress regarding the issue, rather than increase it. The effect of a polygraph exam upon a pregnant Examinee should be no more stressful than any other detailed discussion regarding the issue at hand.
The mental condition of an Examinee may need to be considered if he or she is suffering from severe mental illness. As a general guideline, as long as the person is not genuinely delusional (hallucinating, hearing voices, etc), they are cognizant of what is the truth and what is a lie, and therefore, may be tested.
For more specific evaluation of any other situation/condition, as it pertains to testability concerns, please contact me by phone or email. There is no fee or obligation attached to initial consultations.
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.