3242 Babcock Boulevard

Pittsburgh, PA 15237

412-492-9980

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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW WHEN CHOOSING A POLYGRAPH EXAMINER

Many States do not have polygraph LICENSING and there are absolutely no controls over who provides such services! Before you take a polygraph or choose a polygraph examiner, there are some important questions you should explore.

  • Was the polygraph Examiner professionally trained at a polygraph school accredited by the American Polygraph Association?
  • Is the Examiner from an established business or working out of a suitcase?
  • Does the Examiner use state of the art commercial computerized polygraph equipment?
  • Is the Examiner bonded or insured?
  • Does the Examiner use quality control procedures?
  • Is the Examiner a member of the American Polygraph Association, American Association of Police Polygraphist and /or any state polygraph association?
  • Has the Examiner completed advanced training and continuing education programs in the field of polygraph?
  • Is the Examiner familiar with legal issues?


How accurate is the polygraph?

According to the American Polygraph Association, over 250 studies have been conducted on the accuracy of polygraph testing during the past 25 years and it is estimated that the accuracy of decisions is generally in the range of 85-96% for specific issue examinations. Some of the most frequent errors may be caused by lack of training, non-functioning equipment, failure to properly prepare the examinee for the examination, poorly worded test questions, failure to assess the examinee's emotional and physical condition, improper use of testing techniques, a lack of quality control review, and mis-readings of the physiological data on the polygraph charts.


How much does a polygraph cost?

Fees for polygraph services usually depend upon the complexity and type of polygraph test to be conducted, and the average polygraph test will take between 2 ½-3½ hours. The process will include a detailed pretest interview, collection of charts, an analysis of the polygraph charts and a comprehensive written report. If you select a polygraph examiner solely on the basis of rates, you should understand that shortcuts in time and service may lead to errors and future legal problems. The average cost for a specific issue polygraph examination will be $450-$900. The average cost for a pre-employment examination is $150-$250. If you are interested in obtaining specific costs, please contact us for a free initial consultation to evaluate your polygraph needs.


What is measured by a polygraph and what about being nervous or other conditons?

A standard polygraph records changes in physiological responses. This includes blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and sweat gland (GSR) activity. Nervousness is normally not a factor in polygraph testing. Actually, nervousness is expected. The polygraph records significant changes from the examinee's baseline or normal reading when specific questions are asked. Even though a person has high blood pressure, diabetes, etc., their body has a set of normal patterns on a daily basis. When a person decides to lie, however, physiological changes begin to take place in the body. Blood pressure begins to increase or decrease. Heart rate can increase or decrease. A person's heart can skip a beat. Blood volume begins to change. These are just a few of the types of physical changes that can occur.

In the case of deception, more than one type of physiological change usually occurs. The person taking the test must decide whether or not they are going to tell the truth, or whether or not they are going to lie and withhold information about the relevant issue. Once a person decides to tell the truth, the body goes about its normal patterns with no significant or consistent changes. Deception should be clearly visible and discernable from other reactions.


What kind of questions can be asked?

All test questions must be limited to "yes" or "no" answers. The test questions must have definite objective answers and may not be opinions. The test questions must relate to past events of a factual nature. Ambiguous questions can not be used.

Can someone under age 18 take a polygraph?

Yes, but the examiner must first have written consent of a parent or guardian. Generally, individuals under the age of 13 are usually not tested..

Is the polygraph admissible in court?

Yes, in some jurisdictions and no in others. However the polygraph is most often useful during the different pre-trial phases of a case.

Can an employer require an employee take to the test?
Yes, under certain conditions



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