Polygraph Reliability and Mistakes
by Peter Hyatt
Those who oppose the polygraph cite that the "polygraph isn't admissible in court for a reason."
Polygraphs are not admissible in courts unless stipulated by both parties.
The President of the United States may be the single most powerful human being on the face of the earth.
He relies on the polygraph for his safety. This is a case in which there is no limit to finance: No expense is spared by the United States federal government.
If we are to believe advocates there are "thousands of innocent men on death row" or serving long prison sentences awaiting DNA to clear them, especially those who failed polygraphs.
Lawyers like to polygraph their clients often before the case is taken so that they know. They need to know the truth if they are going to mount a defense.
It is my contention that the polygraph is very reliable when it is used in correlation to a simple Statement Analysis principle:
Enter into the subject's own Personal Subjective Internal Dictionary.
Recall the training in which we teach that each one of us as a personal, subjective and internal dictionary, unique to us, in which a few exemptions apply; that is, articles ("the, a, an"), pronouns (pronouns are instinctive, and "he" will always mean "male" and "we" will always mean plural) and objective time on the clock. ("12:30PM" is the same time for all of us.)
In the training for both law enforcement and corporations, I use the word "boy" for the example, in which applicants than respond by what the word "boy" indicates to them, with the range of responses going from a newborn male child, right up to a 21 year old male soldier, and everything in between.
Therefore, the subject must do the interpretation for us and tell us the meaning of "boy", which is found simply through follow up questions.
President Clinton would have passed the polygraph had he been asked, "Did you have sexual relations with that woman, Ms Lewinsky?" because his personal dictionary, internal and subjective, held that "sexual relations" was specifically "sexual intercourse."
A few clarifying questions fulfills another Statement Analysis principle:
We do not interpret words.
The subject guides us with his own words.
Therefore, after a few clarifying questions, the playing field would be level.
Let's stay with the former President.
He is about to be given a polygraph. Therefore, there are three steps to be followed:
1. The screening interview
2. The polygraph questions are asked without being hooked up to the machine.
3. The polygraph questions are asked while hooked up to the machine.
1. Let's assume that the President clarifies not only what "sexual relations" means, but then gives us the meaning of "sexual contact." This is the screening interview in which we now have clarity.
2. Next, the questions are given to him. They are as follows:
a. Is your name William Jefferson Clinton?
b. Do you live at the White House?
c. Is today Tuesday?
d. Did you have sexual contact with Ms. Lewinsky?
e. Are you telling the truth in these questions?
Therefore, there are no "surprise" questions that he should be extraordinarily nervous over.
3. The polygraph
The same questions are now administered.
With his vitals being measured, he is quite nervous. What is looked for is a change in nervous reaction. Let's say the nervous scale is from 1 to 10 for the sake of clarity.
I now presume:
a. Is your name William Jefferson Clinton? Answer: yes Scale: 5
The first question shows a "5" on the scale, which is very nervous.
b. Do you live at the White House? Answer: yes Scale: 4
this also shows nervousness, but a bit less.
c. Is today Tuesday? Answer: yes Scale: 4
d. Did you have sexual contact with Ms. Lewinsky? Answer: no Scale: 10
e. Are you telling the truth in these questions? Answers: yes Scale: 9
Now the results are interpreted.
The subject is nervous and it shows with the common questions, average 4.3 This is his average.
The question about sexual contact was at the high point of the scale, showing an extreme increase in nervousness: 10. This is indicative of deception.
The last question scored a 9, a slight decrease. This is then interpreted as "deceptive" but not on all questions, which, looking at the scores of 4, 4, and 5, makes sense.
Result: the subject had sexual contact and is deceptive.
When the polygraher uses Statement Analysis, he or she avoids interpreting words and makes the polygraph test highly reliable.
It may not be admissible in court unless stipulated, but it has been shown to be reliable when used properly. The most common mistake is not listening to the subject, and coming to an agreement on words.
Mark Redwine did not take the polygraph about what happened to his son, Dylan, who was missing at the time of the offer on the Dr. Phil Show.
He was nervous.
Most people are nervous when taking a polygraph but can know that the machine will measure the nervousness and there will be no surprise questions.
Years ago, it was more common for businesses to administer polygraph to its applicants but no longer as companies fear lawsuits. Corporate America recognized how much the deceptive employee could impact business, and even as the "let's game the system" mentality for various forms of law suits has grown exponentially in our country, so it is that Corporate America has even more need for Statement Analysis.
We now put together "pre-screening" questions for companies to ask potential employees before they even make it to the interview stage.
If they are found deceptive in the simple questions, they are not called for an interview.
This now increases the percentages of protection of the company.
Liars are more likely to:
"fall" on the job;
use substances on the job;
file frivolous or illicit suits against the company;
file inappropriate unemployment claims;
harm the morale of the company;
steal product, cash, or sales;
harm the reputation of the company...
in short, they are "problem bringers" rather than "problem solvers" and will cause trouble, top to bottom.
Statement Analysis Services gives two day trainings for Human Resources and internal investigations into disputes, thefts, accidents, and fraud of all type.
We help in the pre-screening questionnaire, the application and the interview, itself, based upon the writing sample of the potential employee.
We are tipping the scales strongly in favor of honest workers who hold the material interest of the company as priority.
Click here for "Wise As A Serpent: Gentle As a Dove: Dealing with Deception from Amazon.com