How To Beat A Polygraph Exam
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