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Control Question
Nov 21st, 2001 at 7:24am
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I took a polygraph today for my local LE dept. I was scared to death about this test because I know that you can tell the truth and fail. I have spent the last nine months in the academy and over $2500.00. I had a lot riding on this test. My question is: The examiner asked me a bunch of questions off the machine. He asked me about employee theft and retail theft but nothing about general theft ie. like stealing from your parents or siblings. He asked me "Other than what you told me are you withholding any info. about items you have stolen." I about jumped out of the seat because he had not asked me about everything. I thought about it for a second and told him no, because I had answered all of his questions truthfully. Was this a control question?? If it was if I showed a response would all my other questions be considered truthfull if I did not have as strong of a response? Also, I asked him if I had passed and he told me that he would have to look at the charts and the dept. would let me know. Is this good or bad? He didn't grill me or ask me any questions a second time. I am really concerned about this test so your responses would be greatly appreciated. Tongue
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: Control Question
Reply #1 - Nov 21st, 2001 at 9:47am
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determined,

The question you described was indeed a "probable-lie control" question, not  a relevant one. You're having palpably reacted to it, combined with the apparent absence of a "post-test" interrogation, leads me to believe that you probably passed.

For more on how polygraph "tests" work, see The Lie Behind the Lie Detector. (You might want to inform your friends from the academy about it, too, as they are all potential polygraph victims.)
  

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Re: Control Question
Reply #2 - Nov 25th, 2001 at 2:12am
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"My" experience is that your question was indeed a relevant question.  Don't panic, however, as I find it odd you were not asked a second set of questions, considering you felt you "responded."  It's likely you passed.  Although, equally odd, is my experience is that should an examinee pass, they are usually told so on the spot.

In the state I live in, I've been told it is manditory by law to ask a second set of questions - could be a clever ploy, also, and I wouldn't know, as I'm not a licenced polygrapher here.  It soundsd as if you had a very bad polygrapher, as he should run thru the EXACT questions and their precise wording prior to turning the machine on.

I'd relax, if I were you.  Even if you didn't pass, remain determined to follow this career choice - there are always other agencies, and more exacting examiners Smiley  If you need to go thru the procedure a second time, you'll be that much better prepared.  Failing a polygraph is NOT the end of the world, and your investment in the academy can be put to use in more than one department!

Hang tough!
  
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Re: Control Question
Reply #3 - Nov 25th, 2001 at 4:36am
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Determined,

I concur with George. The question you bring up is clearly a probable lie control question. "Stolen" items include pens, pencils, paperclips, etc. With this type of question, the more you admit to the examiner beforehand, the more likely you are to fail.

Nonetheless, it is difficult to speculate as to whether you "passed" or "failed" at this point. As George said, the lack of an agressive "post-test" interrogation is a good sign.
  
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