Frequently Asked Questions

You can find answers to many of our frequent question below

Depending on the complexity of the case and the issues being tested a polygraph test usually takes up to three hours. In most cases a verbal result is available after testing followed by a typed report.

The science of polygraph testing is based on far more than the technology of the polygraph instrument. The interview skills of the examiner are paramount in ensuring an effective testing process free of ambiguity or doubt.

Firstly the Examiner must obtain a comprehensive brief which identifies the circumstances, issues, allegations and facts in dispute.

Secondly, the examiner reviews the material, and formulates test questions in such a way as to elicit clear and complete responses. It is critical not to ask questions which can result in partial answers. In this stage the material gathered from the Pre-test brief is broken down into its component parts and matched to the appropriate questions.

Thirdly, the examiner takes the participant into the testing phase. This is where the sensors are attached to the examinee and the recording process commenced. The questions are read to the examinee several times during the recording process. Typically a minimum of three charts are recorded. After each question is asked a 25 second period follows whereby the instrumentation records autonomic responses to each question.

Finally the data collected from the polygraph charts is printed and the results numerically scored. The test results are then given to the relevant parties. Four final results are possible:

Truthful,
Deceptive, or
Inconclusive
In order to reduce distractions for the examinee polygraph exams are conducted in private with no other persons permitted in the examination room (other than an interpreter if required).

A polygraph test records physiological responses whilst the examinee answers a series of questions.

Polygraph techniques are derived directly from basic scientific principles and research in psychology and human psychophysiology. Physiological measurement techniques for the detection of deception have been developed and subjected to scientific evaluation for almost 100 years.

The most commonly used polygraph tests are based on widely accepted scientific principles. It is well established that certain stimuli, such as questions to which a person is lying during a polygraph test, produce involuntary changes that are controlled by the autonomic (sympathetic & parasympathetic) nervous system. These reactions include increased skin conductance (palmar sweating), increased blood pressure and decreased respiratory activity.

Considerable scientific research has demonstrated that the pattern of physiological changes during a polygraph test provides the basis for making highly accurate inferences concerning truth or deception. The vast majority of scientific evidence supports the reliability and accuracy of comparison question tests for assessing credibility.

In the past 75 years, over 250 studies have been conducted on the validity, accuracy and reliability of polygraph testing (American Polygraph Association 1996 Polygraph Issues & Answers). Based on twelve separate studies involving 2,174 real cases since 1980, evidence suggests that qualified field polygraph examiners are 98% accurate in their overall decisions (Ansley, N. 1990 The validity and reliability of polygraph decisions in real cases). This level of confidence is well within the guidelines for scientific measurements in other fields.

No. Many of the polygraph tests seen on television and conducted for radio promotions are often not real or validated tests. A polygraph test cannot be conducted in a few minutes. A validated polygraph test will usually take two to three hours of which several procedures need to be adhered to. Any polygraph test that hasn’t incorporated a pretest is dangerous and prone to errors.
One of the major misconceptions about polygraph testing is that people think several questions concerning various issues can be asked in the one test. This is not the case. By asking several questions relating to separate issues only diminishes the accuracy of the testing process which is the last thing that you would want to have occur. Reducing the accuracy of the testing process defeats the purpose of having the test conducted in the first place.

Introducing several issues in the one test creates a situation where questions start competing against each other which weakens the accuracy of the test. This situation should be avoided at all costs. Multiple issues can be tested but they need to be conducted on separate tests (discounts apply for multiple tests). A qualified examiner however can formulate a single question that will often cover the central theme or major issue.

Example 1
In the case of a theft of $20,000.00 from a safe located in an office a number of questions may arise such as:

Was the suspect in the area at the time of the theft
Did the suspect go near the safe
Did the suspect open the safe door
Did the suspect use a key to open the safe
Did the suspect take the money
Even though these questions are important they are peripheral to the main issue as to whether the suspect took the money or not. In this case a single direct question such as “Did you take the money from the office safe last Thursday?” would resolve the above issue.

Example 2
In the case where a wife suspects her husband of engaging in a sexual relationship with another woman a number of issues may be raised including:

Has her husband lied about where he has been
Has her husband been seeing another woman
Has her husband been behaving in a strange or unusual manner
Has her husband been making secret phone calls
Has her husband been required to work weekends
Has her husband been working later than usual etc
Although these changes in behaviour are important the issue could be resolved with a single direct question such as: “Have you had sexual intercourse with any other woman since you married?

It is important to avoid asking two issues within the same question such as: “Did you steal the $2,000.00 cash from the safe and the printer from the manager’s office?”

Separate issues can not be asked within the same test. For example you cannot ask: “Other than Susan did you have sexual intercourse with anyone else?” together with “Have you ever used any type of illegal drug?” in the same test. Both these issues are separate matters and can cause what is refereed to as anti-climax dampening. If the examinee decided to lie to both questions one question may overpower the other and produce a non deceptive response even though the examinee is lying.

In the example above a person may perceive the sexual intercourse question to be more threatening than the illegal drug question or vice versa. To alleviate these problems it is important not to mix separate issues in the one test.

Several issues can be examined but they have to be addressed in separate exams.

No. A polygraph records changes in blood pressure, pulse rate, pulse strength, galvanic skin conductivity and reactivity (sweat gland activity), and changes in pneumographic patterns.

It is expected that all people who undergo a polygraph test will be nervous whether they intend to answer questions truthfully or not. As a result we calibrate the instrumentation to work off that heightened level of nervousness or anxiety. An examiner will look for action specific responses over and above the examinee’s heightened level of nervousness or anxiety.

Typically an examinee remains nervous throughout the entire testing process not at one individual question. If nerves affected the result of a polygraph test then nobody would ever pass a test!

We first conduct a calibration test to demonstrate to the examinee that we can differentiate between a known truth and a known lie even before the test commences.

No. Generally it is the role of the courts and juries to determine guilt or innocence not a polygraph examination result.

Polygraph tests are not intended to be a means for delivering a legal verdict, but rather an invaluable investigative tool. Polygraph testing has allowed investigators to either exonerate or implicate suspects or witnesses.

Polygraph testing has saved investigators and companies thousands of dollars in investigative costs and resources by narrowing the focus of enquiry and providing further investigative leads.

It is important that you choose a polygraph examiner who has been professionally trained, accredited and certified. Every qualified examiner must reach certain competencies before certification can be awarded. After training, each qualified examiner must serve an “internship” whereby their work is quality controlled and evaluated to ensure that the appropriate testing formats are used and that questions are properly formulated according to current testing methodology.

If you have spoken to someone who represents themselves as a qualified polygraph examiner ask them where they trained and what polygraph qualifications they hold. Read about our examiners here

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.

A polygraph is simply an instrument that records changes in autonomic reactivity when confronting a given stimulus (question). If a person engages in behaviours that are designed to distort the polygraph tracings then it is the job of a competent and qualified 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. Although some parameters can be consciously controlled these are usually easily detected.

Typically truthful examinees are cooperative and follow instructions whereas deceptive examinees will attempt to engage in certain behaviours in an effort to distort the tracings. When such behaviours are identified three verbal warnings are given. If this behaviour continues the test is stopped and a Purposeful Non Cooperation (PNC) result is returned.

Every case is different. Some polygraph tests are straight forward whilst others are more complex and time consuming. Simply call us direct and we will provide you with the best value and lowest prices available.

Each test includes:

  • The pretest interview
  • Formulation of all questions
  • The calibration test
  • Recording a total of three charts
  • Scoring all charts
  • Providing a verbal result 10 minutes after testing!

Bookings are essential. If you wish to book a time and date for testing we require payment in advance to confirm your appointment. Payment can be made by either credit card or electronic bank transfer which will confirm and guarantee your booking.  In the event of a cancellation after your booking has been confirmed the booking fee will be forfeited and is non-refundable.  We now have offices in Brisbane and Melbourne.

We provide answers whilst providing the lowest prices available. Call us today to get answers.

To book a polygraph test NOW simply go to the contact page and call our number. Simply tell the examiner the purpose of the test and where you live. We will then coordinate your polygraph examination time and date.

Yes. Our computerised polygraphs are portable and testing can be conducted anywhere throughout Australia or overseas. A quiet environment free of distractions is essential for testing so we like to conduct tests in either an office environment or hotel room.

Australian Polygraph Services now have offices in Brisbane and Melbourne. Any testing conducted outside of Melbourne or Brisbane may incur an airfare which is bundled into our polygraph package special and needs to be paid in advance together with the booking fee. If your test is conducted in either Melbourne or Brisbane no other fees apply.

We provide answers whilst providing the lowest prices available. Call us today to get answers.

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