Nov 8, 2016

What is Polygraph Testing & Is It Legal?

The polygraph – or lie detector - method relies on the synergetic relationship between our minds and bodies. For example, when we feel stressed we may develop severe headaches. When we have a bad dose of flu, our minds may be dull and confused. This is the basis of holistic medicine. It is also the rationale behind polygraph testing.

 

How Polygraph Testing Works

The theory behind the polygraph is that deceitful replies produce different bodily responses to honest answers. Most us remember how our hearts beat faster when we told our teachers fibs at school. Polygraph operators are especially interested in heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing, and the extent to which clammy skin conducts tiny pulses of electricity. Over time, they have developed a database of readings that correlate with truthful and deceitful answers.

Polygraph testing is not the only method for assessing the likelihood a person is telling lies. Other methods include eye movements, changes in voice pitch, and non-verbal body language. Some of these are an established part of culture, as in ‘never shifty eyes.’

A polygraph test begins with dummy questions intended to eliminate the effect of over confidence / prevailing nervousness. The tester will ask questions like ‘what is your name’ and ‘where to you live’ to build a profile of body responses to honest answers. They may also ask the subject to tell a lie deliberately, to work out a preliminary crossover point.

 

But, Can We Trust Polygraphing Completely?

We cannot rely totally on the results of polygraph testing, although it can help us confirm or refute a suspicion we may already have for other reasons. Polygraph testing is a valuable interview technique, provided the detective maintains a formal relationship with the subject, so they do not become unnaturally informal, relaxed, and even casual.

Is Polygraph Testing Legal in Australia?

Although the High Court of Australia has yet to express an opinion, lower courts have said polygraph tests are subjective, and thus not substantively reliable. The value of polygraph testing rests on the experience of the operator, and their ability to interpret readings objectively.

In the right hands, these are an invaluable tool for distinguishing what is credible, and what is not. Polygraph tests are fast and inexpensive, and the equipment is portable.

 

The QLD Covert Investigations Polygraph Service

QLD Covert Investigations has several professional polygraph operators. They enjoy industry-wide appreciation for their ability to interpret polygraph readings, to come closer to the truth. If you suspect your partner of unfaithfulness, or a relative of child abuse, they can be exceedingly helpful. You should also consider a polygraph if you suspect your child is the victim of bullying, but they deny that this is happening. 

Please call 1300 553 788 or message us if you believe you might need help with polygraph testing. We offer a free half-hour telephone interview, in which we may provide advice.

 

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