Polygraphs

This page provides useful resources regarding polygraph authority and procedure.

WARNING: If you are involved in an ongoing polygraph process, or if you expect to be involved in such a process, please consider that polygraphers simply don't like subjects who look behind the curtain and research polygraphs. They will infer all kinds of intent to "beat the polygraph" if you report that you investigated polygraphs, even generally. By coming to this site you have "investigated" polygraphy, but you can leave now and honestly say your investigation was cursory and you found a sight saying you ought not do this in advance of being polygraphed, so you stopped.

Reliability: There is no established accepted science behind polygraphs. But the fact is that most people who are deceptive will show physiological responses that register in polygraph examinations. The problem is that this is also true of people who are anxious, guilty by nature or training, obsessive, fidgety, etc., resulting in a high degree of "false positives" (finding deception where there is none). And some people -sociopaths in particular- can lie and not be detected,

Polygraphs & Security Clearances: Between these problems, polygraph evidence is not admissible in any court. However, the clearance review process is not court. In assessing an individual for a clearance, the polygraph is useful in identifying potential areas for further probing; while the false positive problem exists, there's no harm in exporing the reasons for reactions noted during a polygraph session.

That's the polygraph as a tool to elicit information that otherwise might not come out. However, the standard for clearance is that there should be "no doubt" about an individual before a clearance is granted. A problematic polygraph raises such a doubt. Accordingly when the polygrapher divines deception and offers an opinion that the subject was deceptive, that opinion tends to be accepted as a valid judgment of a professional interrogator.

For further information see the following resources: