Normal Topic Looking for clarification on this test! (Read 5749 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box cpswannabe
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Looking for clarification on this test!
Mar 10th, 2003 at 6:36am
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Good day, all! I am currently in the recruiting process for a major police agency, and I have to go through the dreaded polygraph test as part of the process. Although I have nothing to hide, and I was completely honest and thorough in my disclosure forms that accompanied my application, I still have some well-founded fears (after reading/hearing about all the horror stories on this and other websites, and personal experiences from other hopefuls applying to the same agency.)

From all the information I have gathered from my contacts, they tell me the test is composed of the typical pre-test interview in which the examiner puts together a list of questions based on your disclosure form and what you tell him. He then hooks you up to the box, and does a test with either cards or numbers (maybe depending on his mood? Smiley ) to gauge your "responses" to his questions. After this is completed, he then tells you he is going to ask you a series of questions that he wants your to answer with "no". Once this is all over with, he tells you the 10 question series he is going to ask you (which I find odd) and that it will be in no particular order each successive time he asks it.. of course for an indefinite amount of time dependent on his discretion.

So after all I've told you, my question is this: Being a nervous person, and a bit more apprehensive after reading some of the dialogue on this site, how much do I have to fear from this upcoming polygraph exam? I have only experimented with marijuana twice in high school (5 years ago now) and I fully disclosed this, and I have seen and heard that this will not have any negative bearing on my application, but what about the polygraph? Any recommendations as to how I should handle it? Maybe I am one of the naive for thinking I should be okay by telling the truth, but after hearing some real world experiences here and in my world.... I'm a bit on edge.

Sorry for all the questions, but I figure if I arm myself with as much information as possible, the more prepared I can be for the worst. Much thanks!
  
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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #1 - Mar 10th, 2003 at 10:16pm
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Cpswannabe,

No doubt you have heard a lot of horror stories and will read several more on this site, however just keep in mind all the success stories.  You don't hear from them because they are out on the street, as Cops. 

If you have in fact been completely honest throughout your application process just go in, take the polygraph, have full confidence in your truthful answers and you will do fine.  If you follow the advice of some on this site, and attempt countermeasures, you will not fare well at all and your application will go directly to the round file.  If you listen too closely to all their pissing and moaning about how unfair the system was to them it will only serve to cause you unnecessary concern.

Keep in mind, I am on the "evil" side as seen by some here.  I have been in Law Enforcement since 1978, and a polygraph examiner since 1984.  My advice to you comes from those years of experience, as compared to some who's only real world experience with polygraph is a "failed" exam which they undoubtedly claim was the result of a faulty pseudo-science and biased polygraph examiners.

Take it for what its worth, but just be honest and don't try any Bull Shit Countermeasures. 

Batman
  
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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #2 - Mar 11th, 2003 at 12:06am
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cpswannabe wrote on Mar 10th, 2003 at 6:36am:
Sorry for all the questions, but I figure if I arm myself with as much information as possible, the more prepared I can be for the worst. Much thanks!


That's what I would have thought as well. Knowledge is good, right.  Let me warn you that it is not the case as most polygraph exams use the so called probable lie comparison question test which assume you are unaware of the polygraph details to accomplish a critical part. The polygraph examiner will mislead you about some aspects of the process in order to better separate the deceptive and he can not easily do this once you know the "lie behind the lie detector"  If you decide up front not to use countermeasures but inform yourself by reading TLBTLD or other accurate, professional polygraph literature, you could well be more likely to fail a polygraph. Yes, it is a catch 22 but if you are absolutely certain you will not use countermeasures then you will gain knowledge at the risk of being more likely to fail and being another false positive. Keep in mind there is a significant risk of failing polygraphs even if you are honest, and uninformed about polygraph process, maybe higher than 1 in 4. (NAS Report). Absent countermeasures, it will be higher if you inform yourself about the process.

-Marty
  

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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #3 - Mar 11th, 2003 at 3:04am
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Wow! An interesting set of responses. Smiley Thank you, Batman and Marty.

Indeed, it is always interesting to hear from people on both sides of the fence.  I am still a bit confused, however. Or maybe I'm not. Marty, you state that by sheer virtue of me reading TLBTLD I may have placed myself at a somewhat higher risk of failing the test, despite my honesty? Is this because I am now aware of what the process is really about, and therefore I am not susceptible to critical portions of it? In addition to this malady which I seem to have brought upon myself, it seems that CM might be the only thing that saves the bacon now that I am informed in regards to the process. Yes, no?  Correct me if I am wrong, but either I understand what you are saying or I don't. Wink I would like to know what to do from here.

I have heard stories from fellow applicants about being hounded about "being deceptive" on certain questions that they know for a fact they weren't being deceptive about, and consequently failed the exam because of it. They told me they never gave in and confessed to anything just to get the examiner off of their back, yet it still causes me a bit of concern. My one personal contact I have in the service right now just barely scraped by because of his adamant replies and answers when being questioned about some of his answers. Is this all part of the process, or maybe sheer coincidence that I seem to know all the people who have encountered problems in their polygraph examinations? Smiley

Thanks again.
  
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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #4 - Mar 11th, 2003 at 3:57am
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cpswannabe wrote on Mar 11th, 2003 at 3:04am:
Wow! An interesting set of responses. Smiley Thank you, Batman and Marty.

Marty, you state that by sheer virtue of me reading TLBTLD I may have placed myself at a somewhat higher risk of failing the test, despite my honesty? Is this because I am now aware of what the process is really about, and therefore I am not susceptible to critical portions of it?


Well, let's examine that. Since you now know what the purpose of a control question is, will you lie on it and fear that you will react and be seen as deceptive? Obviously not, since you are aware of that polygrapher duplicity, though what you choose to do, aside from CM's, is variable. It is unlikely, unless you choose CM's, that you will respond as much to the control question as you would if you did not understand it's purpose and lied on it with fear of detection. This means your likelyhood of being a false positive is higher.

What you might consider, if you choose not to use CM's is to tell the examiner when you get to a control question that you are familiar with their purpose and ask him how he wishes you to respond. I would bring info from a source such as the "Handbook of Polygraph Testing" where you might xerox a paragraph that describes the purpose and conditioning that occurs with the control question. While I think TLBTLD is high quality information, it IS likely to be irritating and an industry source might be less disturbing.

modified: -fixed erroneous quote-

-Marty
« Last Edit: Mar 11th, 2003 at 4:25am by Marty »  

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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #5 - Mar 11th, 2003 at 4:21am
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Thank you again, Marty. That did clarify things for me quite a bit. Now that I understand the fundamentals behind what you initially tried to explain to me, it is easier to wrap my head around. Some days, I'm not quite as smart as some people like to think I am.

In regards to a subject somewhat unrelated, when you quoted me, something odd showed up in the quote. I'm sure it is an error, but it is nonetheless interesting.. "While I think TLBTLD is high quality information, it IS likely to be irritating and an industry source might be less disturbing." I know I didn't say that, but as a matter of curiosity I would like to know what thread that is being posted in. It looks to be part of what might be an interesting conversation. Smiley

With much appreciation,

cpswannabe.
  
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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #6 - Mar 11th, 2003 at 4:26am
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Fixed. Sorry about that, I typed an afterthought in the wrong location  Roll Eyes

-Marty
  

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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #7 - Mar 11th, 2003 at 7:03am
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cpswannabe wrote on Mar 11th, 2003 at 4:21am:
Thank you again, Marty. That did clarify things for me quite a bit. Now that I understand the fundamentals behind what you initially tried to explain to me, it is easier to wrap my head around. Some days, I'm not quite as smart as some people like to think I am.



wannabe:

I am never quite as smart as some people like to think I am, but the one thing that I know without any question is that polygraph is simply a fraud.

I cannot tell you the scientific reasonings, I cannot tell you why some folks pass the poly when they are honest while others fail.  All I know for certain is that 1) it is a great threat to national security when we place futile faith into this pseudoscience in matters of concern with national security, 2)polygraph pre-screening is one of the most unfair and unjust practices sanctioned by our law enforcement/intelligence agencies, 3)no spy has ever been caught with the polygraph, and 4)the use of the polygraph as a vetting tool is about as effective as handing a man a tool box with a phillips head screwdriver and a 3/4 inch wrench and telling him to go switch out the engine in a Saab. 

It doesn't take great scientific background or some incredible knowledge to come to these simple conclusions.  All one has to do is do some very basic research to find that this is the case.

Best,
Seeker
  
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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #8 - Mar 11th, 2003 at 9:22am
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cpswannabe,

You ask:

Quote:
So after all I've told you, my question is this: Being a nervous person, and a bit more apprehensive after reading some of the dialogue on this site, how much do I have to fear from this upcoming polygraph exam?


You have a lot to fear. Polygraph "testing" has an inherent bias against the truthful, because the more candidly you answer the so-called "control" questions, and as a consequence feel less stress when answering them, the more likely you are to fail. With some agencies in the U.S. (like the LAPD and FBI), the polygraph failure rate is on the order of 50%.

In addition, failing a polygraph examination with a major police agency may hurt your chances of getting hired by other agencies.

Quote:
I have only experimented with marijuana twice in high school (5 years ago now) and I fully disclosed this, and I have seen and heard that this will not have any negative bearing on my application, but what about the polygraph? Any recommendations as to how I should handle it?


Your past drug use may well come in for closer scrutiny by your polygrapher during any post-test interrogation. You might wish to prepare in advance an innocuous explanation for any reaction you may show to any questions about drug use. (See Chapter 4 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.)

Quote:
Maybe I am one of the naive for thinking I should be okay by telling the truth, but after hearing some real world experiences here and in my world.... I'm a bit on edge.


It is indeed naive to think that you should be okay simply by telling the truth in a polygraph "test": the "test" is based on the hidden assumption that the examinee will be less than truthful when answering the "control" questions. Moreover, the whole procedure has no scientific basis whatsoever, and results in many false positives.

I strongly disagree with Marty's suggestion that knowledge "is not good" with regard to polygraphy. Ignorance about this pseudoscience is no bliss. I suggest that you arm yourself with knowledge, as you mentioned in your first post. In The Lie Behind the Lie Detector you'll find a detailed explanation of the polygraph process, including measures you can take to protect yourself against the risk of a false positive outcome.
  

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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #9 - Mar 11th, 2003 at 10:22am
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George,

Quote:
I strongly disagree with Marty's suggestion that knowledge "is not good" with regard to polygraphy.



I do not maintain that knowledge "is not good" except for the very specific case of a PL CQT where an applicant is unwilling to use countermeasures, a priori.  It is very clear that knowledge without countermeasures increases the odds of a false positive. Were that not so the polygraph community would not be so unwilling to disclose their trickery.

-Marty
  

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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #10 - Mar 11th, 2003 at 1:20pm
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Marty,

Thank you for your clarification. However, I think it is not truly possible for a subject who is naive with regard to CQT procedure to make an a priori decision not to use countermeasures: the naive subject does not truly understand what countermeasures are.

In addition, while it may make intuitive sense that a truthful, informed subject (one who understands "the lie behind the lie detector") who does not employ countermeasures would be more likely to become a false positive, such is not necessarily the case. The informed subject who chooses not to employ countermeasures might nonetheless avoid such mistakes as volunteering every personally embarasssing thing he or she has ever done and engaging in the kinds of "body language" that many polygraphers believe to be indicative of deception.
  

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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #11 - Mar 11th, 2003 at 5:49pm
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George,

Information other than that of the comparison question "trick" may indeed be useful to the examinee. There is a great deal of manipulative psychology and other deceptive practices involved that it would be helpful, or at least not harmful, for the examinee to understand - even if they choose to not use countermeasures.

However, knowledge of the polygraph including knowledge of the "trick" without communicating that to the examiner together with a decision not to use countermeasures puts the subject at a disadvantage with respect to an examinee that has knowledge of all aspects of polygraphy excepting the "trick."  Communicating knowledge of the "trick" to the examiner may bias the examiner as well though there are probably some that would revert to a DLT. I don't know. The overweening need of polygraphers to keep this secret seems to preclude discussion from them on how they handle this. They need to come to grips with it. Few these days don't search the internet when facing something new and previously unknown.

Of course, disclosing everything about the polygraph but the "secret" is like saying someone who has knowledge of physics excepting for F=MA.

-Marty
  

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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #12 - Mar 11th, 2003 at 9:14pm
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This thread is BULLSHIT!

Cpswannabe is another of those poor souls who "happens" upon this site asking a perfectly innocent question about polygraph.  The old, "Golly gee, I want to be a policeman and I have to take a polygraph, I'm really, really scared, what should I do?" routine; and then suddenly, they come across like a friggin pro!

George, is this site so pathetic that you have to generate bogus postings like this one and Michelle to stimulate conversation?  If you're not putting these phoney postings out, then someone is.  I would suggest that who ever it is, they try and play the "I don't know nuthin" routine for at least five or six posts.

Cpswannabe (or who ever you are): Use the countermeasures bud, then be sure to report back about how successful you were.

Lets get back to slingin' mud at each other folks, at least that had a little bit of realism in it!

Batman
  
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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #13 - Mar 12th, 2003 at 3:01am
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Geez.. the things I seem to start wherever I go. Thank you George and Marty. Interesting information from the both of you. Smiley

Batman, in regards to me being an apparent fake or some pawn that George is using in this game you seem to think he is playing, I can assure you that I am not. I came to this site looking for information, just like I went to a few pro-poly sites out there. I have perused this info, and that of the other sites. I'm very real, and if you take offense to me trying to garner some sort of understanding of what other applicants have gone through, I'm sorry, but I don't know what to tell you. However, I can assure you that I won't be doing anything to place myself in jeopardy during my polygraph, and that includes countermeasures. 

I really didn't know much about the poly until I started reading up on it, and I've found views from both sides to be very intriguing and informative. Really, I've heard enough from both anti and pro-polygraph people that I don't feel the need to educate myself any further about it. This site has proven to be quite useful and I see no harm in informing myself about something I knew nothing about before, just like I would with anything. It just so happened to be the polygraph this time. I never realized it was such a heated debate, nor did I come on to this site looking for ways of "beating" the poly. Believe it or not, but that is the truth.

Thank you everyone, I'm sure I will keep up to date with the goings on for this website and others. The debates you all have are really quite fascinating and I enjoy reading them. Take care everyone,

cpswannabe.
  
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Re: Looking for clarification on this test!
Reply #14 - Mar 13th, 2003 at 5:19am
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cpswannabe wrote on Mar 12th, 2003 at 3:01am:
Geez.. the things I seem to start wherever I go. Thank you George and Marty. Interesting information from the both of you. Smiley

Batman, in regards to me being an apparent fake or some pawn that George is using in this game you seem to think he is playing, I can assure you that I am not. I came to this site looking for information, just like I went to a few pro-poly sites out there. I have perused this info, and that of the other sites. I'm very real, and if you take offense to me trying to garner some sort of understanding of what other applicants have gone through, I'm sorry, but I don't know what to tell you. However, I can assure you that I won't be doing anything to place myself in jeopardy during my polygraph, and that includes countermeasures.  

I really didn't know much about the poly until I started reading up on it, and I've found views from both sides to be very intriguing and informative. Really, I've heard enough from both anti and pro-polygraph people that I don't feel the need to educate myself any further about it. This site has proven to be quite useful and I see no harm in informing myself about something I knew nothing about before, just like I would with anything. It just so happened to be the polygraph this time. I never realized it was such a heated debate, nor did I come on to this site looking for ways of "beating" the poly. Believe it or not, but that is the truth.

Thank you everyone, I'm sure I will keep up to date with the goings on for this website and others. The debates you all have are really quite fascinating and I enjoy reading them. Take care everyone,

cpswannabe.


cpswannabe,
Don't worry about it -- random outbursts of that kind happen a lot around here.  It kind of goes with the territory, and you get used to it.  You didn't say anything wrong.

Best of luck.  It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on the process.

Skeptic
  
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