AustralianLie Detection Labs
How does a polygraph test work?
If you’re like most people, lying makes your heart race. It makes you pant. It drives up your blood volumes,it can speed up or slow down your pulse rates and can make you emotionally sweat and produce more electrical activity in the brain. Although several brain areas appear to play a role in deception, the most consistent finding across multiple fMRI studies is that activity in the prefrontal cortex increases when people lie. The prefrontal cortex, situated just behind the forehead, is a collection of regions responsible for executive control (the ability to regulate thoughts or actions to achieve goals). Executive control includes cognitive processes such as planning, problem solving, and attention — all important components of deception — so it’s no surprise the prefrontal cortex is active when we lie. Dishonesty requires the brain to work harder than honesty, and this effort is reflected by increased brain activity. Which will cause changes in an individuals physiology . A polygraph machine detects deception by looking for signs of these physiological changes while undergoing questioning. While not everyone feels these changes ,the changes do occur. It can be subtle when a lie is attempted. These changes are controlled by the autonomic nervous system which has two parts . The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. When someone attempts to lie the sympathetic nervous system activates getting you ready for a threat in this case the threat of being caught in a lie. Then the parasympathetic system activates to bring you back to normal levels or what is referred to as a homeostatic level, The tendency of the body to seek and maintain a condition of balance or equilibrium within its internal environment, even when faced with external changes. The interplay between the two systems is typically what polygraph systems record and what is interpreted by a qualified examiner.
How accurate is a lie detector test?
Industry research suggest polygraph accuracy to be between 90 and 98 percent especially when incorporating best practice with validated testing question formats and computerized polygraph technology.
Accuracy of polygraph examinations Results from several decades of scientific study have consistently supported the validity of the hypothesis that the combination of instrumental recording and statistical modeling can discriminate deception and truth-telling at rates significantly greater than chance. Scientific reviews of peer reviewed polygraph studies have borne this out repeatedly. Abrams (1989) surveyed the published literature and reported an accuracy level of .89. Honts and Peterson (1997), Raskin (2002), and Raskin & Podlesny (1979) reported the accuracy of polygraph studies as exceeding .90. The systematic review completed by the Office of Technology Assessment (1983) suggested that laboratory studies had an average unweighted accuracy of .83, with slightly higher accuracy, .85 from field studies at the time. Crewson (2001) reported an accuracy rate of .88 for diagnostic polygraphs in a comparison with medical and psychological tests. The National Research Council (2003) concluded with reservation that the polygraph differentiated deception from truth-telling at rates that were significantly greater than chance though less than perfect, and reported a median ROC of .89 for field studies and .86 for laboratory studies. Lie detector, also called a polygraph
instrument is used for recording physiological phenomena such as blood volume, pulse rate, galvanic skin response and respiration of a human subject as he/she answers a series of questions put to them by a trained operator; Physiological phenomena usually chosen for recordings are those not greatly subject to voluntary control. This data is then used as the basis for making a judgment as to whether or not the subject is lying. With the addition of specialised computerised software Polygraph results are extremely reliable. Polygraph instruments have been used in police interrogation and investigation since 1924 in various forms, and are widely used to this day as a investigation tool for the FBI the CIA and most the Federal Government agencies in the USA and 69 countries around the world.
The latest research on lie detector test accuracy for specific issue testing formats has an average accuracy rate of 98% the following format hits accuracy rates at 98 % with inconclusive s excluded.
Scientific references Mangan, D. J., Armitage, T. E., Adams, G.C. (2008a). A field study on the validity of the QuadriTrack Zone Comparison Technique. Physiology & Behavior, 95, 17-23.
Mangan, D. J., Armitage, T. E., Adams, G. C. (2008b). Rebuttal to objections by Iiacono and
Verschuere et al. Physiology & Behavior, 95, 29-31.
A Comparison of Fingerprint Analysis, Eyewitness Testimony, Handwriting Analysis and Polygraph Test results
In an article published in the Journal of Forensic Science 23 (3), 596-601, published in 1978 by Jan Widacki and Frank Horvath, entitled
“An experimental investigation of the relative validity and utility of the polygraph technique and three other common methods of criminal identification.”,
Researchers compared the polygraph, handwriting analysis, eye witness testimony and fingerprints in a mock crime scenario.
80 subjects (college students) were divided into 20 groups of 4. In each sub-group there was one guilty participant and three innocent ones.
The task of the guilty participant was to go to a particular building; present themselves to a person whom they did not know before hand; give an envelope to the specified person; receive a package using a fictitious name; sign a receipt for the package using the fictitious signature and then steal the contents of the package.
All participants were then subjected to a polygraph.
The document receipts and envelopes were subjected to handwriting analysis compared against handwriting standards supplied by all participants.
Fingerprints collected from the envelope and receipts were compared to record prints of all participants.
The eye witnesses to the crimes were provided full front photographs from which to select the perpetrator who signed for and stole the packages.
All forensic technicians were blind to the identity of the perpetrators as was the eye witness but all technicians were aware that one in each group of four was the perpetrator and three were innocent as were the eyewitnesses.
The following results were recorded with inconclusive results removed for all:
Polygraph -18 correct identifications, 1 error and 1 inconclusive result for an over all accuracy of 95%.
Handwriting – 17 correct identifications, 1 error and 2 inconclusive results for an overall accuracy of 94%.
Eyewitness – 7 correct identifications, 4 errors and 9 inconclusive results for an over all accuracy of 64%.
Fingerprints – 4 correct identifications, 0 errors and 16 inconclusive results for an overall accuracy of 100%.
Based on the above findings the Polygraph is as good if not better than most commonly used identification techniques .
How much does a lie detector test cost?
The reason for the Enquiry will determine the price standard fees are listed below:
Infidelity/ Cheating Partner resolution $990.00
Child Molestation Allegations $1100.00
Stealing/Theft ask for quote
Media request ask for quote
Other add $110 for house calls within a 50klm radius of the CBD
Booking and cancellation terms and conditions. We conduct Testing anywhere in Australia.
A booking fee of $190.00 is required to be paid, this secures a time slot. This fee is NOT refunded if the booking is cancelled without giving 24 hours notice. If you cancel on the day of the test then you will lose the booking fee. This is due to the large amount of cancellations we get just prior to the booking time. All cancellations must be done by phone all bookings are made with this understanding, payment of deposit means you are agreeing to these terms.
Banking Details are ANZ Bank BSB 014506 Account 591392025 the account name is Paul Woolley. Credit Card payments attract a 3% bank fee.
Can you beat a properly conducted lie detector test?
Beating the Polygraph video
Most of these questions have been answered by research. Listed below is a summary of the research findings and the scientific journal references.
The short answer is no method sold or offered on the internet or elsewere that will change an outcome on Polygraph test results.
In short you dont beat a polygraph it records with 100% efficiency. The interpretation of the data is the key to a successful outcome that has more to do with the test format, scoring method and examiner than it does with the polygraph instrument itself. A good examiner is a critcal component of the Polygraph Test.
That said the research below did not look at if the examiner could tell if ways to beat the test were being used only if the result was changed due to the application of freely available information on these methods on the internet. The result in all cases was it did not change anything only make it easier for the examiner to catch the guilty subjects in some cases . (Honts, Alloway 2007).
Scientific Journal articles:
Legal and Criminological Psychology Volume 12, Issue 2, pages 311-320 . September 2007 Charles R. Honts Phd , Wendy R. Alloway 2007
Results. There were no significant effects of providing information on the validity of the CQT. However, the reported use of countermeasures was associated with a lower probability of truthfulness. Results of the debriefing questionnaire were found to support predictions made by the theory of the CQT.
Conclusions. Concerns that readily available information will enable guilty individuals to produce false-negative errors seem unfounded. Moreover, the results actually indicate that the use of countermeasures was associated with a lower probability of truthfulness, which was exactly the opposite outcome predicted by the CQT critics.
Honts, C. R., Raskin, D. C., & Kircher, J. C. (1994). Mental and Physical countermeasures to reduce the accuracy of polygraph tests. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79, 252-259.
Conclusions: “The possibility that countermeasures might be used to defeat or distort the CQT has raised questions about its usefulness. However, the spontaneous use of countermeasures by untrained subjects has been found to be ineffective against the CQT. Furthermore, providing detailed information about the nature of the CQT and possible countermeasures does not seem to effect accuracy rates”
Here they provide subjects with detailed information about how the test works and offer possible countermeasures. Had no effect on outcomes.
Rovner, L.I., Raskin, D. C. and Kircher, J.C. (1979) Effects of information and practice on detection of deception. Psychophysiology, 16, 197-198.
Horowitz, s.w., Kircher,J.C.,Honts,C.R.and Raskin,D.C.(1997) The role of comparison questions in physiological detection of deception. Psychophysiology,34, 108-115
Rovner,L.I.(1986) The accuracy of physiological detection of deception for subjects with prior knowledge. Polygraph , 15, 1-39.
It is also of interest to note that most people think they can beat the lie detector , research on this subject clearly shows this is not easy to do and the average person would not be able to achieve it in a real life testing setting.
The research here quite clearly shows the information freely available on the internet does not change outcomes. In fact it in some of the advice the research shows it actually made subjects easier to detect.
Is there scientific research that supports polygraph examinations?
There is a small arsenal of research that shows a properly conducted lie detector tests are 90 to 98 percent accurate. More recently a field study was conducted using a specfic issue format known as the quadri -track ZCT or some refer to it as the MQTZCT.
In my opinion after reviewing a lot of literature on polygraph testing this particular testing technique is the one of most reliable of the numerous formats out there, if not the best.
There have been 3 field studies conducted using this testing format and all of the studies show very high accuracy rates the research can be viewed at :
The Journal of Physiology and Behaviour Mangan, D. J., Armitage, T. E., Adams, G.C. (2008a) . A Field Study on the Validity of the Quadri-Track Zone Comparison Technique. Physiology and Behaviour, 95 (1-2), 17-23
The results of this study showed almost perfect conclusions with inconclusive (no opinion) results removed. This was in line with previous research conducted in 1989 .
Some peer reviewed research as follows. 2009
Handler, M. D., Honts, C. R., Krapohl, D. J., Nelson, R., & Griffin, S. (2009). Integration of pre-employment polygraph screening into the police selection process. Manuscript accepted for publication in, Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology.
Honts, C. R., (2009). Polygraph and polygraph techniques. Entry accepted for publication in Cutler, B. (Ed.) The encyclopedia of psychology and law. New York: Sage.
Honts, C. R., (in press). Deception detection technology, in, Jamieson, A., & Moenssens, A., (Eds.) Wiley Encyclopedia of Forensic Science. West Sussex, UK: Wiley.
Honts, C. R., & Forrest, K. (2009). A cautionary note for the teaching of psychology and law: Media images may be more persuasive than data. Manuscript under revision.
Honts, C. R., & Schweinle, (2009). Information gain of psychophysiological detection of deception in forensic and screening settings. Manuscript accepted for publication pending revision, Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.
Webb, A. K., Honts, C. R., Kircher, J. C., Bernhardt, P. C., and Cook, A., E. (in press). Effectiveness of pupil diameter in probable-lie comparison question tests for deception. Legal and Criminological Psychology.
Handler, M. D., & Honts, C. R. (2008). Psychophysiological mechanisms in deception detection: A theoretical overview. Polygraph 36, 221-232.
Handler, M. D., & Honts, C. R. (2008). You can run, but you can’t hide: A critical look at the fight or flight response in psychophysiological detection of deception. European Polygraph, 2 193-207.
Honts, C. R., (2008). Credibility assessment at portals. Report of the Credibility Assessment Research Summit Portal Committee, to the U. S. Department of Defense.
Honts, C. R., Raskin, D. C., & Kircher, J. C. (2008). Scientific Status: The case for polygraph tests. In, D. L. Faigman, M. J. Saks, J. Sanders, and E. Cheng (Eds.) Modern scientific evidence: The law and science of expert testimony (Volume 5): 2008-2009 Edition. Thompson West: Eagan, Minnesota.
Voas, B., Johnson, M., Turrisi, R., Taylor, D., Honts, C. R., & Nelson, L. (2008). Bringing alcohol on campus to raise money: Impact on student drinking and drinking problems. Addiction, 103, 940-950.
Honts, C. R. & Alloway, W. (2007). Information does not affect the validity of a comparison question test. Legal And Criminological Psychology, 12, 311-312. (Available online in 2006)
Honts, C. R., & Amato, S. (2007). Automation of a screening polygraph test increases accuracy. Psychology, Crime & Law, 13, 187-199. (Available online in 2006)
Honts, C. R. (2006). Recent theoretical and applied findings for autonomic psychophysiological deception detection. International Journal Of Psychophysiology 61, 304-305. (Abstract)
Honts, C. R. (2005). Rocky mountain psychological association: Report of the 75th annual meeting. American Psychologist, 60, 1022-1024.
Honts, C. R., Raskin, D. C., & Kircher, J. C. (2005). Scientific Status: The case for polygraph tests. In, D. L. Faigman, D. Kaye, M. J. Saks, & J. Sanders (Eds.) Modern scientific evidence: The law and science of expert testimony (Volume 4): Forensics 2005-2006 Edition. Thompson West: Eagan, Minnesota, (571-605).
Honts, C. R. (2004). The psychophysiological detection of deception, in P. Granhag and L. Strömwall (Eds.) Detection of deception in forensic contexts. London: Cambridge University Press 103-123.
Honts, C. R., Amato, S., & Gordon, A. (2004). Effects of outside issues on the Control Question Test. The Journal of General Psychology, 151, 53-74.
Thurber, S., Bonynge, E., & Honts, C. R. (2004). Barron’s revised ego-strength scale as a measure of test taking style: Relationships with the validity scales of the MMPI-2. Counseling and Clinical Psychology Journal, 1, 119-124.
Honts, C. R. (2003). Participant perceptions support the rationale of the comparison questions test for the psychophysiological detection of deception. Psychophysiology, 40, S48. (Abstract)
Honts, C. R., & Amato, S. (2002). Countermeasures, in M. Kleiner (Ed.), Handbook of polygraph testing. London: Academic (251-264).
Honts, C. R., Raskin, D. C., & Kircher, J. C. (2002). The scientific status of research on polygraph techniques: The case for polygraph tests. In, D. L. Faigman, D. Kaye, M. J. Saks, & J. Sanders (Eds.) Modern scientific evidence: The law and science of expert testimony (Volume 2). West: St. Paul Minnesota, (446-483).
Otter-Henderson, K., Honts, C. R., & Amato, S. L. (2002). Spontaneous countermeasures during polygraph examinations: An apparent exercise in futility. Polygraph, 31, 9-14.
Raskin, D. C., & Honts, C. R. (2002). The comparison question test. In M. Kleiner (Ed.), Handbook of polygraph testing. London: Academic (1-49).
Thurber, S., Snow, M., & Honts, C. R. (2002). The Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale: Convergent validity and diagnostic discrimination. Assessment, 9, 401-405.
Honts, C. R., & Amato, S. (2001). Psychophysiological credibility assessment. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 1, 87-99.
Honts, C. R., Amato, S. & Gordon, A. K. (2001). Effects of spontaneous countermeasures used against the comparison question test. Polygraph, 30, 1-9.
Honts, C. R. (2000). A brief note on the misleading and the inaccurate: A rejoinder to Matte (2000) with critical comments on Matte and Reuss (1999). Polygraph, 29, 321-325.
Honts, C. R., (2000). Comments on State v. Shively, 999 Pacific 2d, 952 (2000). Invited commentary. The Forensic Panel Letter, November, Available: www.forensicpanel.com
Honts, C. R., (2000). Comments on State of Hawaii v. William K. Naone, 92 Haw. 289. Invited commentary. The Forensic Panel Letter Online, May, Available: http://www.forensicpanel.com
Honts, C. R., Amato, S., & Gordon, A. (2000). Validity of outside-issue questions in the control question test: Final report on grant no. N00014-98-1-0725. Submitted to the Office of Naval Research and the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute. Applied Cognition Research Institute, Boise State University. DTIC# ADA376666.
Honts, C. R., Raskin, D. C., Amato, S. L., Gordon, A., & Devitt, M. K. (2000). The hybrid directed lie test, the overemphasized comparison question, chimeras and other inventions: A rejoinder to Abrams (1999). Polygraph, 29, 156-168.
Raskin, D. C., Honts, C. R., Amato, S., & Kircher, J. C. (2000). The case for the admissibility of the results of polygraph examinations: In D. L. Faigman, D. Kaye, M. J. Saks, & J. Sanders (Eds.) Modern scientific evidence: The law and science of expert testimony: Volume 1 2000 Pocket Part (201-217).
Bell, B. G., Raskin, D. C., Honts, C. R., & Kircher, J. C. (1999). The Utah numerical scoring system. Polygraph, 28, 1-9.
Honts, C. R. (1999). The discussion of comparison questions between list repetitions (charts) is associated with increased test accuracy. 28, Polygraph, 117-123.
Honts, C. R. (1999). Flaws detected in polygraph study. The Forensic Panel Letter, 3(11), 1,5.
Honts, C. R., & Amato, S. L. (1999). The automated polygraph examination: Final report. Final report of U. S. Government Contract No. 110224-1998-MO. Applied Cognition Research Institute, Boise State University.
Raskin, D. C., Honts, C. R., Amato, S., & Kircher, J. C. (1999). The case for the admissibility of the results of polygraph examinations: 1999 Pocket Part to Vol. 1 of D. L. Faigman, D. Kaye, M. J. Saks, & J. Sanders (Eds.) Modern scientific evidence: The law and science of expert testimony. (pp. 160-174).
Tye, M. C., Amato, S. L., Honts, C. R., Devitt, M. K., & Peters, D. P. (1999). The willingness of children to lie and the assessment of credibility in an ecologically relevant laboratory setting. Applied Developmental Science, 3, 92-109.
Honts, C. R., & Gordon, A. (1998). A critical analysis of Matte’s analysis of the directed lie. Polygraph, 27, 241-252.
Honts, C.R. (1998). Louder and longer: A review of the second edition of Lykken’s A Tremor in the Blood. Polygraph, 27, 302-304.
Honts, C. R. (1998). Criterion development and validity of the control question test in field application. Polygraph, 27, 219-230. Reprinted from: The Journal of General Psychology, 123, 309-324 (1996).
Devitt, M. K., Honts, C. R., & Vondergeest, L. (1997). Truth or just bias: The presentation of polygraph testing in introductory psychology text books. The Journal of Credibility Assessment and Witness Psychology, 1, 9-32.
Honts, C. R. (1997). Truth or bias: Psychology and the polygraph. The National Psychologist, 6, 15.
Honts, C. R., & Peterson, C. F. (1997). Brief of the Committee of Concerned Social Scientists as Amicus Curiae. United States v. Scheffer, in the Supreme Court of the United States. Available from the author.
Honts, C. R., Raskin, D. C., & Kircher, J. C. (1997). A rejoinder to Iacono and Lykken. Chapter in, D. L. Faigman, D. Kaye, M. J. Saks, & J. Sanders (Eds.) Modern scientific evidence: The law and science of expert testimony (pp. 629-631).
Horowitz, S. W., Kircher, J. C., Honts, C. R., & Raskin, D. C. (1997). The role of comparison questions in physiological detection of deception. Psychophysiology, 34, 108-115.
Raskin, D. C., Honts, C. R., & Kircher, J. C. (1997). The scientific status of research on polygraph techniques: The case for polygraph tests. Chapter in, D. L. Faigman, D. Kaye, M. J. Saks, & J. Sanders (Eds.) Modern scientific evidence: The law and science of expert testimony (pp. 565-582).
Raskin, D. C., Honts, C. R., & Kircher, J. C. (1997). A response to professors Iacono and Lykken Chapter in, D. L. Faigman, D. Kaye, M. J. Saks, & J. Sanders (Eds.) Modern scientific evidence: The law and science of expert testimony (pp. 619-627).
Amato-Henderson, S. L., Honts, C. R., & Plaud, J. J. (1996). Effects of misinformation on the Concealed Knowledge Test. Psychophysiology, 33, S18. [Abstract] Honts, C. R. (1996). Criterion development and validity of the control question test in field application. The Journal of General Psychology, 123, 309-324.
Is it common to take a lie detector test to address allegations of infidelity?
Yes absolutely this is a very common request for our business and we are very skilled in this area. You will also benefit from some free counselling from our examiner who is also a trained and experienced Counselor and Forensic Psychophysiologist.
What are the stages of a lie detector test?
The testing process can be divided into three parts. The first being what we call the pre test interview , this is the time the facts of the case are explored and the questions to be included in the test are formulated. Once everyone is satisfied with the questions the person taking the test signs a statutory declaration giving the examiner written permission to conduct the test, this also doubles as a confidentiality agreement which nominates who can receive the test results.
The second phase is the data collection or the testing phase were the subject is tested on the previously agreed to questions. This is when the person who has agreed to be tested is connected to the Polygraph via the physiological sensors which feed the information into the data acquisition system then into the computerised polygraph screen and produces the chart data the examiner will use to numerically score to derive the result.
The third stage is the results stage this is when the examiner will work out the results based on the chart data and use of a numerical scoring system and a computerised algorithm specifically designed to offer conclusions based on polygraph data and charts. Once the evaluations are completed the result, is then first presented to person who has taken the test, and second, any other interested party agreed to via the Stat Dec at the pre test stage.
Theory and Practice
Polygraphy or psychophysiological detection of deception is based upon a scientific theory that can be tested with the methods of science. Any conscious effort at deception by a rational individual causes involuntary and uncontrollable physiological responses which include measurable reactions in blood pressure, peripheral pulse-amplitude, breathing and electrodermal response. The most commonly used techniques for the psychophysiological detection of deception are control/comparison question tests. The control question test (CQT) assesses a person’s credibility by looking for a differential reaction between two questions: the relevant and comparison questions. It has been shown that a person will develop a “psychological set” and direct their attention to the question that posses the greatest anxiety, concern or threat to his/her well being if they have decided to be dishonest in their answers.
How many questions can be asked during a specific issue polygraph test?
There are usually 10 questions in total that make up a test question format. Of those 6 are diagnostic and 3 or 4 are Relevant questions or the questions you are trying to resolve, dependent on the testing format itself.
Has a lie detector test been on the news much?
Some famous cases that the polygraph was used . Oj Simpson civil case . Mr Simpson took a Lie Detector test.
NEW YORK — O.J. Simpson flunked a lie detector test just after the double murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman and even his own lawyer tried to get him to plead guilty, says one of his former closest associates.
In an interview with Barbara Walters to be shown tonight on ABC’s “20/20” news program, longtime Simpson friend Robert Kardashian said he was devastated by the results of the defense-administered test.
“I was devastated,” he said. “I didn’t know what to believe . . . O.J. said, `Every time I heard Nicole’s name, my heart was pounding, I would, I would get emotional and’ – that type of reaction.”
Trial experts said this would be the first time a key figure in the case has directly said Simpson, who was found not guilty of the double murders a year ago, had flunked the test. True. He scored as low as possible, and the examiner tried to convince Shapiro (his lawyer) that it was “conclusive” evidence of his guilt; as a result of the failed polygraph, Shapiro began investigating a possible insanity defense.
For the record this test result was used in Ojs civil trial helped the Goldman’s win the civil case.
The JonBenet Ramsey case a 6 years old beauty pagent child thought to be killled by her parents or brother . The Ramsays took lie detector tests by 2 top examiners and passed . At the time everyone thought they were guilty but recent testing of DNA evidence has confirmed she was killed by an outside party.. The case remains unsolved.
We handle private cases such as: infidelity, child abuse claims, work cover claims and more.
Quality Polygraph testing, public speaking, media consulting and seminars are available in all regions of: Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore & other International locations.