Who uses polygraph/lie detection testing?


Things have changed greatly in the polygraph business.   Today, this long term tool for legal issues, is being used for more personal situations.   More specifically  . . . .

   Infidelity or sexual contact outside the relationship.  Other related items may include questions about dating, kissing, having contact with “exes,” placing personal ads, visiting strip clubs, etc.
?    Verifying background information, such as sexual history, gambling,  drug or alcohol habits,  health issues (particularly STD’s).
?    Internet activities; (since not all cheating requires sexual contact) such as visits to pornographic sites, dating sites, sexual chat rooms, interactive sexual web sites, or having “cybersex” (sexual chat) with someone who is not his/her partner.
?    Financial situations such as hidden bank accounts, credit cards or unknown obligations like undeclared child support, or bankruptcy.
    Business and family Theft.

Polygraph testing is used by every major law enforcement agency in the United States and most foreign countries.  Prosecutors use polygraph (lie detection) testing to assess a case before filing, and to verify the truthfulness of witnesses.  Defense attorneys use testing to determine defense strategy.

In Colorado, courts and probation officers are making regular polygraph/lie detector testing a condition of probation.  The use of polygraph testing in the corrections area has greatly reduced the number of repeat offenders.

Post-Conviction Sex Offender Polygraph Testing (PCSOT) is sweeping the nation.  Probationers and Parolees are required to take periodic polygraph tests to ensure they are complying with the conditions of release.  The results are convincing; the behavior that was the originating issue is being greatly curtailed through the use of polygraph.

What is therapeutic relationship testing?

It is a highly specialized type of testing, and quite different from the usual criminal or PCSOT (sex offenders) testing.  Lie detection for relationship needs is done in a low-profile, non-condemning approach by “specially trained” examiners who are experts in therapeutic polygraph.   If infidelity, relationship, or theft is the issue for which you need lie-detection, we strongly suggest you avoid examination companies that deal in PCSOT testing.  Relationship testing is done in a low-profile, non-condemning approach by “specially trained” examiners who specialize in therapeutic polygraph.  If relationship, infidelity, or theft is the issue for which you need lie-detection, we suggest you avoid examination companies that deal in criminal testing.

Relationship testing is uniquely designed as “a bridge for healing”, by uncovering and verifying truth.  It is a very powerful process. Proof Positive Polygraph has done thousands of this type of exam, and is considered to be the Colorado specialists in this area of lie-detection testing.


We have been in counseling. Why would we use the polygraph?

Relationship healing has many steps.  After all the disclosures and changes have been made, many times doubt and fear on the part of the spouse remain.  An offender who has changed their life and habits to improve, cannot be questioned continually under suspicion and continue to heal.  Lie detection can provide the bridge to truth needed.  This is the only way for the offender to offer proof that they indeed, have corrected their behaviors.  Without this absolute proof, how can both parties move forward?

How accurate is a polygraph/lie detector?

The polygraph is extremely reliable and has very high accuracy rates.  For very specialized, “specific issue examinations”, the accuracy rate exceeds 92 – 96% according to the American Polygraph Association.  Your Proof Positive Examiner will take your specific situation and write the questions for you, knowing how to encapsulate the issue within the question.  Also, the questions must be a “qualified few”; to keep the accuracy ratio as high as possible.  Your Examiner will guide you through this.

Can the test be fooled?

They can try.  But the truth of the matter is that unless a person has long term practice, and access to a polygraph instrument, with someone to run bio-feedback measurements, they are not going to successfully “beat” the test.  Even the most experienced examiner will relate the times he was absolutely convinced from the pre-test interview as to the outcome … only to have the actual results and a subsequent acknowledgement from the examinee confirm the instrument wasn’t as easily fooled.  Also, before beginning the actual exam questions, the Examiner tests each person to check their truth and lie responses.

Has the polygraph/lie detector been accepted by the scientific community?

Research Scientists and Psycho-Physiologists are generally in agreement that polygraph examinations, when done correctly, are a valuable tool with significant accuracy and reliability.  Within the last few years, the American Society for Testing and Materials has established industry standards for polygraph testing, also known as Psycho Physiological Detection of Deception.  The establishment of industry standards by an independent organization is just one more indication that the polygraph process has been validated as an approved and tested scientific procedure.  Polygraph is a procedure, not a machine.  Both the American Polygraph Association and the American Society for Testing and Materials have established standards for the conducting of polygraph examinations.  Make sure any examiner you hire is conforming to APA policy, and what their experience/credentials are.

Can Nervousness Cause A Person To "Fail" The Test?

It is quite normal for an examinee, whether innocent or guilty, to feel nervous during a polygraph test, especially if it is the first experience.  It is no different from taking a school examination or a job interview.  When administered by a competent and experienced examiner, nervousness should make no difference to the test.  Testing protocols built into the process, in most cases take care of nervousness readings.  An experienced examiner can easily identify the difference.

What does the Polygraph record?

Your polygraph test will be given using the latest computerized polygraph equipment.  During the polygraph exam, your respiration changes are recorded.  Also identified, is the ability of your skin to conduct electricity (EDA), and cardio-vascular activity that monitors you for a range of subtle body changes.

What is the minimum age for someone to take a polygraph?

Anyone 18 years of age and older can legally consent to a polygraph exam.  Under age 18 requires written permission from the parent or guardian.  We do not normally test children less than 14 years of age.

Is the test confidential?

Prior to the polygraph test, you will be asked to sign an authorization to release the interview and test results.  The person or persons to receive the test results will be stated in the release.  If this exam is being conducted at the request of a counseling professional, any information obtained during the course of this examination is covered under professional privilege.  If privilege is not attached, any information obtained during the course of this examination will only be disclosed to the client, or to anyone authorized by the client.  Exceptions to confidentiality occur when the examiner is a “mandatory reporter” involving child sexual or physical abuse.

How soon do we get the results?

The Examiner will (in most cases)  provide you with results at the conclusion of the test.

Who is present for the testing?

The only people present in the room for the test is the examinee and the examiner from Proof Positive Polygraph.

Can I be there to watch and listen while you give the polygraph test?

The answer is NO; simply because it adds a possible source of outside influence on the test and the goal of any test is to eliminate as many sources of distraction as possible.  This also helps the accuracy rating.  Also, many people choose to finally “unload” the truth during a polygraph test.  People hiding the truth often desire, on a deeper level, to have that burden lifted.  A third party being present may actually “sabotage” getting to the ground level truth that the test is designed to uncover.

How many questions are used in the test?

The Examiner and spouse/other party will select the proper questions related to the specific issues.  The number of questions will vary, according to the type of exam (format) necessary.  All questions are discussed during the pre-test period.

Will medications affect the test?

Some medications and medical conditions can influence physiological responses and diminish tracings, but they do not produce erroneous outcomes.  Examinees should continue taking their normal medications as prescribed by doctors.   If you are taking medication, notify your counselor or examiner and they can evaluate any possible effect on the test.

Is there anything during the test that is physically painful or uncomfortable?

The answer is simply NO.  Modern polygraph instruments are computerized using very non-intrusive measuring devises.   You will be seated in a comfortable position.

What if the person taking the exam has a medical condition?

We recommend that you stay with your usual routine concerning medications.  However, if a client  has a heart condition or is pregnant, we need to be informed, as there are stress levels in the testing process which should be addressed.

If someone has a medical condition, which could be negatively affected by increased stress levels, we would ask for approval/release by the treating physician.

Is a computerized polygraph better than an analog polygraph?

Analog polygraph equipment has been around for 60 years and is still occasionally used today.   Analog equipment records information onto a moving roll of chart paper, using ink or thermal paper.  Today, the most advanced computerized digital polygraphs record data directly to a computer program.  These new systems include chart analysis on a computer screen rather than a roll of chart paper.  Scoring of the charts is done the same for both systems.  However, the computerized system has built-in aids for the examiner and prevents equipment failures that are sometimes experienced with mechanical equipment.  Proof Positive Polygraph Lie Detection services only uses the most current computerized software and systems.

Where do you do the testing?

Generally, most of our testing is done at one of Proof Positive Polygraph offices; either in Denver or Colorado Springs.

However, some therapists prefer we test their clients at their office locations.  This is usually fine, if planned in advance.

What should I wear?

Dress comfortably, but appropriately.  Business casual attire is recommended.  All polygraph sensors are applied over your clothing. Bulky sweaters and sweatshirts are not recommended as they interfere with sensor placement.

How do we pay for the test?

We are paid prior to administering the test. We accept cash, checks, major credit cards & PayPal.