How To Beat A Polygraph Exam

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Are you a good liar?

In sleep medicine a polysomnograph is used to run a sleep study. If we break down the word it would literally mean: poly = many, somno = sleep, graph = tracings. You can now break down poly graph without my help. A sleep tech uses the same equipment but for a very different purpose.

For a polygraph exam there is much less equipment used than a sleep study. It requires a lot less schooling. Any monkey can learn to administer a polygraph. A sleep tech must prepare for months, maybe years to pass a rigorous board exam after successfully working for a minimum of 18 months and performing successful sleep studies and EEG's in an approved facility. Not only do you have to be able to use the equipment, you must be able to interpret each signal accurately.

Now, lets move on to the polygraph. It is a much simpler test (uses less equipment and monitors less signals) but lots more subjective. I learned how to operate the analog polygraph so well that I could take it apart and put it back together. I was rewarded with a special title, "Special Projects Coordinator" and more money. I ended up managing and maintaining all the equipment and troubleshooting. I was on call and if something broke I would get paid for an hour's worth of work if one of the tech's had to call me and ask me how to fix it, even if it only took me one second to tell them. This was my area of expertise.

So here are my best tips for passing a polygraph!

1) Don't take one. These tests are not reliable and are dependent upon good equipment, analog or digitized signals can be misinterpreted very easily. How would you know if the person who administered the test really knew what they were doing? The test isn't admissible in court because the validity is questionable by any one's standards.

2) If you must take one, spray deodorant all over your body. This will help prevent sweat. Sweat is a huge indicator of nervousness which is what the examination is trying to elicit. If you sweat an artifact will be produced that causes the signal to "roll." It is very obvious even to the novice.

3) A set of questions will be asked of you during a lie detector test. These questions are designed to evoke physical responses. Normally nervousness. It is most helpful if the subject is a sociopath. Sociopaths do not get nervous when they lie. Take a Valium if you are not a sociopath.

4) Move a lot. The examiner will instruct you to stay as still as possible. If you are trying to be deceptive you should cough or move your body. I have heard that if you tighten your spinchter muscle while answering each question it will obscure your response. I don't know if this is true or not as I have not had the opportunity to instruct a subject to do so. If you move your muscles I do know that the signals picked up by the pens will cause extreme scribbling and therefore be inconclusive.

5) Know that the test is designed by asking questions that will elicit certain responses. There are different types of questions that are asked such as Relevant vs. Irrelevant Questions. Relevant questions are the real issues of concern. Irrelevant questions are designed to evoke little or no response. An example of an irrelevant question is, "Is today Monday?" A relevant question might be, "Did you steal the painting at the Art Museum?" Obviously, a stronger response to the relevant question is indicative of deception.

Other questions such as a probable lie comparison question might be, "Have you ever stolen anything in your life?" This type of question is designed to make you lie. The examiner hopes that you do lie and elicit a stronger physiological response. An example of a direct lie would be when the examiner asks you to lie. Questions might be asked to lull you into a false sense of security. These are simple questions that usually produce less stress, the examiner could be trying to have your nervous system slow down so the signal will return to a baseline. Then the examiner could ask you a question such as, "Did you murder the victim?" to see how strongly you respond.

All of these techniques and questions are expected to produce a similar response in any single individual. Obviously, each person can have extenuating circumstances that may cause their response to differ. Medications, health conditions, your own personal feelings regarding a question may trigger a response that could be misinterpreted.

I personally, would not trust anyone to administer a polygraph exam. I would be concerned about the equipment, the examiner and the person who may interpret the record later. Generally, the person who administers the exam will follow a set of rules or a protocol and another more experienced person will interpret the record as well.

So if you must take a polygraph answer the questions with as even a response as you can and practice breathing with a normal respiratory pattern such as 12 to 20 breaths per minute. If at all possible - avoid it like the plague or lie about every single question so the responses will be similar in comparison.

"A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth." ~Aesop

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Comments 59 comments

Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

I'm a terrible liar, so I'll stick with tip #1. If that fails, I'm going with "lie about every single question..." Love it. Funny AND useful.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Haha MO! I know you will never have to take one - unless you are a spy possibly? Espionage is big money for lie detectors, also some employers request them:) Yes - I would say the opposite of everything that was true haha!


bestreviews profile image

bestreviews 5 years ago from Sunny Greece

lol!! I think I would have to go for no 4, take some valium! Funny and Useful, great one!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi bestreviews! Thanks so much for stopping in, reading and commenting. Yes I would have to go for that option also - I am a terrible liar - I get nervous just thinking about the possibility of telling a lie. My husband says I should never ever do it - that obvious;) lol!


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

Silly girl, if I were a spy, I couldn't TELL you! I mean, just because HP employs me to gather super secret information about all of my followers...ummm...never mind. Nah, can't lie to save mine or anyone else's life - my face shows EVERYTHING!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I noticed your eyes twitching MO! Yeah I would believe it tho - what an awesome cover, sweet little ex nun with the dirty rule breaker attitude;). I'm on to ya now!


bestreviews profile image

bestreviews 5 years ago from Sunny Greece

Hehehe =) Feel the Love!!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Your in good company bestreviews:). If your looking to find clever people that will make you chuckle click on anyone who has the nerve to follow me - all great hubbers from other mothers;)


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Great hub...I had to take one....my company was trying to find a thief....I was not the thief....but I was a nervous wreck during the test....I am still amazed that I passed the test....based on how uptight I was....voted up


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

See Cogerson - your nervousness was fairly level so in comparison I bet it all equaled out;). Neat that you got to actually take one - I've considered committing a crime just so I could be in the hot seat! Lol!


sueroy333 profile image

sueroy333 5 years ago from Indiana

Thank God I came across your hub! I've been stealing cows and... I mean, I've been steeling cows against the fact that they may get stolen. There's a cow wrestler out there wrestling with cows and then stealing them. The cops think it's me, but I'm just a patsy I tell ya!

I'm heading out now to purchase some valium and spray deodorant.

Awesome hub. up and funny... mostly useful, though!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Always glad to help out a fellow rule breaker Sue! I thought of this while reading Austinstar's hub on How to Pass a Drug Test! Now if you haven't read that - I'm sure you can use that help as well or are you really that funny all by yourself? LOL!

Thanks for hopping over!!


bestreviews profile image

bestreviews 5 years ago from Sunny Greece

LOL!! Cow wrestling and all that! Your Hub is going to send Valium and Deodorant sales through the roof. =P

Great to be in Great Company I tell ya.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi bestreviews! I'm glad you are enjoying the comedy - I do too, in fact soon you will need to get help for your hub addiction! I'm telling you! Thanks for your comments too:)


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Great Hub RH! This could come in so useful one day. I will be sure to pass this along to all my relatives that are about to have to take one. Up awesome useful and funny too!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Susan - haha! Glad to spread the love;). I hope everyone will pass! Had I known these tips sooner I could have saved a ton of money on stamps because most of my family is in the slammer after failing! Lol!


bestreviews profile image

bestreviews 5 years ago from Sunny Greece

Hahaha! What a great title for a Hub. How to deal with your Hub Addiction, or 10 ways to get off the Hub. If you write one let me know and I will do a review about it. =P


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

I'll throw that one your way bestreviews! I actually asked "question" about how to get off hub! And wait - I think barbergirl28 wrote a similar hub you should check that out!


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Great hub! I have also heard put a sharp object in your pocket or a pin in your shoes and "jab" yourself every once in a while. Maybe same results as #4 -- and the spinchter muscles. Ha!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Too funny Sally! I could see why the metal object - many polygraphs containl very large magnets - near the front of the machine. Metal objects would affect those:-). Good one!

If we got to close with our badges - it would demagnetize them!

I thought #4 was funny. BUTT I don't see how that could work! I wouldn't try it for sure! LOL

Thank you for dropping by Sally - you are awesome!


What Is Q profile image

What Is Q 5 years ago from Tennessee

Is it allowed to just say "I don't know" or "No comment" when taking a lie detector test? If they asked me a question I didn't want to answer, I'd just say, "Pass." But thanks for the info, because I always wanted to learn how to cheat on one of these things. I also want to be put under hypnosis and asked questions while being filmed. I think that'd be interesting to watch back later. Maybe put under hypnosis and hooked up to a polygraph, just in case my subconscious tries to lie. I'd like to see what goes on in my head when I'm not paying attention.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Q - I'd really like to hook you up to the polygraph and also see what goes on when your not paying attention! That would be for sure a fun show;). Hypnosis! What a great idea too! See, your thoughts are profound!

I really appreciate your time and comments Q is what it is:)!


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

Love the hypnosis idea, Q. That could be seriously entertaining - or incriminating, I guess, depending on who you are and what you've been up to! ;) Real, you got a winner with this hub! Love it!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you so much MO! I hope you know how much your comments mean to me! You are awesome and I know I'm repeating myself!


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 5 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

Real,this was real interesting. Loved how to beat a polygraph exam.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you again! So much! I loved working with the machines and looking at everyone's brain waves. Since we haven't unlocked all the mysteries of the brain I find it really intriguing!

Thanks for your awesome comments!


sean kinn profile image

sean kinn 5 years ago from Key West and Budapest

All right now, this has got to be the funniest thing I've ever read. You should turn this into a short story and publish to Kindle, or turn it into a screenplay. What a great inside. I had a bud once who used to tell me to *never* take a polygraph ... now I know why!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Haha! Thank you Sean kinn:). That is so nice of you to say! I think you should avoid them at all costs:-). I think to bite your tongue would be the best way to handle it!


kschumann17 profile image

kschumann17 5 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Good one! lol - I'm new to HubPages (obviously), so I've just been browsing through and I'm glad I landed on one of your articles! Thanks :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Well thank you for landing here:)! Great to see you again!


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

Wow you certainly achieve whatever you put your mind to. I have never been tested but am intrigued by the studies done on sleep and dreaming. A very well written and interesting hub as usual!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

SW - you sound like my grandfather now:) he always told me that I could achieve anything I set my mind to. He was a very smart man! He made me believe this too! I always loved thinking about what goes on in our heads when we are sleeping! I had to get a job in that field. It seems like there is so much we do not know sleep and dreaming. I wanted to be involved in the scientific end of it. It was fascinating. Our head doctor did not like to study dreams though, he was into sleep apnea and clinical work. That was just sad to me. We also did a lot of drug studies. Oh and another one where we tested people to see why accidents happen more on night shifts. I believe the government funded that one. We simulated a night shift 'work' schedule and tested their reaction times and thought processes. That was pretty neat!


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

I was just talking with someone about some of the detriments to working night shifts and the havoc it can wreak on the brain. I wonder if night shift workers dream differently than day folks?


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Well when I slept days it was horrible. We are born with the natural instinct to sleep when it is dark. There are many chemicals in the brain and their release is triggered by our internal body clock and other things in our envirronment. So when you are exposed to sunlight - the chemicals that tell our brain to 'wake up!' are stimulated and we become less sleepy. As a night tech we would use special light therapy to change our body clocks (circadian rhythm). We would rush home trying not to let the sun enter through our pupils! We lived like vampires:) I got a lot less REM because I was sleep deprived constantly. So I would go into REM much faster as a result. I would have dreams that were pretty vivid a lot. Even while trying to nap. I would have lots of work dreams! Haha!


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

UGH...lol

Who wants to dream about work all the time?? Interesting though. I was just learning about how circadian rhythm disturbances affect depression and wow, I'd have never realized what an impact they have!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh yes! I'm glad to know you are learning about it. Sleep (or lack of it) can really add to depression! It's vital for a healthy mind to get the proper amount of sleep. Sleeping to much is also not good and suggests problems. Sleep deprivation can have some really bad effects on the body - do believe that! Mind and health. So that's whynyou want to treat it - and you will improve your waking health.

Good going MO! You should write a hub about that!


dan-1 profile image

dan-1 5 years ago from Tampa, FL

I would really like to try some of those techniques during a polygraph. It would be interesting to see how well they work.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Dan - well go out and commit some crimes! I'm sure you can request one then! Haha! Just kidding - but thanks for making me laugh! Lol. Great comment!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I took one! I passed! Pick me, pick me (Austinstar with hand up).

It was for a job interview. Double trouble. If you fail the test, you're a liar AND you don't get the job! Carp!

I passed the test, but passed on the job as I got a better offer from another company that didn't do lie detector tests or drug screens.

I hate that you have to prove your trustworthiness and that you're drug free, but you don't have to prove you're not a pedophile or an arsonist or even a stone cold killer to get a job. Stupid human resources.

How about job performance skills? Oh, now that would be too easy.

Interesting hub, K. I worked night shift for 18 years and now I work days but I still don't feel like I function well when the sun is up. I'm a natural born vampire Mwahahahaha.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Me too! Oh m so jealous you got to actually take one! That is actually pretty impressive! I'd love to know what it was like- from your side of the test!

I'm so glad you passed! But right - good point - if you look good on paper sometimes it doesn't matter how dumb you really are -you can get a job over someone who may have a credit problem or problems with the law in the past. But yep...molest a kid nd it ain't no problem long as you say you're real sorry and you stay away from schools! Lol what a joke.

I'm still on nights in my head and I still wake up and think it's lunch time at 2 am!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Realhousewife....Although chances are extremely slim I would ever be asked to take a polygraph for any reason...I appreciate this info! I have often wondered about polygraphs since their use is so controversial. What annoys me is that despite the known FACTS about polygraphs, which you have explained well, we will hear so much emphasis placed on: Whether or not a suspect agreed to take a polygraph, or refused (the latter usually upon advice of counsel) whether they passed, failed miserably or it was inconclusive. With all the variables and the fact that they are not admissable in a court of law....it seems to me that there's very little reason for polygraphs to ever be used. I admit, I would love to have use of a polygraph with a group of friends, just for entertainment (fun)...providing a trained polygrapher was involved...This would be interesting to say the least!! Up & useful.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi fpherj48! I totally agree with you. It amazes me when I hear about people taking polygraphs and how much weight everyone gives it! I'm sorry to all the polygraphers out there but it's kind of like a stupid thing to spend so much money on - everywhere!

Yes - it's science but it inst reliable AT ALL. Sociopaths can beat it with no problem and a person who just doesn't get nervous can beat it. It's like a witch board to me - depends on how much faith people lend it. I'd NEVER agree to take one - even if I wasn't lying I'd still be worried about the machine - the mechanics of it and the operator. Spit in the wind.

I would say it would be a fantastic party game! Lol. Now that - would be fun! Talk about spicing up truth or dare! Haha!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Well this test should be ammended as priority When a President is being sworn.Lucky them that is on January when is not likely that they will sweat...I don't need this tests(I'm just lying..or not?) But seriously will help Employers in deterring certain subjects..that we don't even want them around( predators)...Thanks Kelly for this oldie?

LORD


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Lord! HA HA! You are hilarious -

"...is on january when it is not likely that they will sweat" LOL

Yeah I guess it could help employers at times because most peple tell on themselves. I am never sure if it is a psychological need to want to get caught? People tell on themselves with their own biological responses and body language. These responses can be cause by many triggers though and the stress of taking this test could be one of them. I think the results are way to subjective to be fair...I wonder how many people actually have lost a job or gone to jail due to a bad test? It isn't good enough technology yet to use it for that purpose in my opinion! Yikes!

Yes...this is an older one...one of the first ones I wrote...I still had no clue how to use the tools so I revamped it a little:)

Thank you dear Lord!


Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 4 years ago from USA or America

Hey Kelly, I've never had the pleasure of being tested, but it would be interesting to have a test administered, just for the "haha" of it. Great hub! Voted up and everything else. :)


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

What a fabulous hub.. I think it will be book marked internationally. I used to watch the Game Show called Love Triangle and someone on the show said you can beat a lie detector test by squeezing your butt cheeks really tight. What are your thoughts on this theory?


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

Writing an article that is both useful and funny at the same time requires talent. Great job!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you so much Ray! I really wish I had my own machine...I would just use it for party games:) LOL I would hook you up!!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Tammy - that is what the spinchter muscle is:) LOL I have heard that works but I am not sure how easy it would be to remember to do that before you answer each quesiton!!! OMG! You would have to tie a string around your finger:) hahahha


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Daisy! thank you so much! I tend to just do silly stuff...but I always do some research and import some useful information so I don't have to rely on my own humor! lol I might be shooting for 0 that way! haha!


Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

This war really interesting and fun to read! I love when information and humour are combined, makes learning so much easier! I also love writing silly stuff because it is such fun to do. I imagine you had as much fun writing it as we do reading.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

Or, the test subject could wear a handy dandy badge that says "Remember to Squeeze"... LOL


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Melovy - I did have fun writing this one...and oh so glad all that training wasn't for nothing! lol I am so glad you liked it and I hope it made you laugh..the bigger point of the story:) lol

thank you so much!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Tammy - that is a great idea! hahaha! You are going to be reminded of that comment a little later - you just gave me a fab idea for today's hub - thank you - oh thank you! lol


rednickle profile image

rednickle 4 years ago from New Brunswick Canada

Lol a really interesting blog. Seems like tips from a spy movie though. But well from your list i find the first and second options quite shaky seeing as you might not have the power to determine if you would take one or not, and you might know in advance that you would take one

Peace!!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Aha got it, tighten my sphincter muscles, take my diazipam, wriggle about and lie through my teeth! Now I am prepared, sorry can't stop I am off to rob a bank! haha! brilliant hub, and to be quite honest I always wondered how they worked, obviously the sweating hands etc, but the ones who did the checking, voted up! cheers nell


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

Since I have taken polygraphs before, let me add my thoughts on this matter. If you want to get a job which demands a security clearance, you can't avoid a polygraph. During my experiences of being polygraphed, the interviewer and also lie detector operator will first run you through all of the questions you will be asked on the polygraph to make sure you completely understand them. When the polygraph is given you are taken to a small soundproof room and strapped into a big easy chair with numerous electrode patches all over your body. A blood pressure cusp is also put on your arm and slightly relaxed. During the test, the examiner will ask both relevant and irrevelant questions and repeat them two or three times. The test will be repeated two to three times and you are in the chair for at least 15-20 minutes. The examiners who administer the test are pros who have been trained. Yes, people working for the government have beaten the poly and Aldrich Ames comes to mind when I say this.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Nell! lol Yep now you can be sure to pass that lie detector no matter what - just keep lyin! lol

They are cool machines and it is a neat concept to think we can predict truth versus lies - but it's just a parlor game really. Tons of ways to beat them and even a bad personality can look like they are squeaky clean.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Paul - yep that sounds like a polygraph set up:) lol The electrodes are reading all your biological responses to stress - sweat artifact, heart rate and rhythm, respirations and they are even looking at your efforts to breathe. So the bands that they place around your chest and belly are working on little crystals that show how much, if any, you are working to breathe. The head electrodes are filled with a gritty gel called 10/20 paste which conducts electricity through the electrode. They measure your brain waves and the height and width of the waves too. They look at eye movements as well and we can tell if you are looking up, down, to the left or right too:)

Knowing that though - it's just a machine that is only an aid. The examiner and equipment are only as good as the operator.

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