Normal Topic Anxiety Disorders and Polygraph (Read 4098 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Annonymous
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Anxiety Disorders and Polygraph
Oct 24th, 2003 at 10:21pm
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Hello,

I recently failed several polygraphs, being told that I had strong reactions on the drug and a few counterintelligence questions (?!?!), and inconclusive results on ALL other questions. To quote, "You were unable to resolve any issues..." I realize the polygraph is bogus in general, but I can't help analyze why I had SO much trouble. I wonder if it is related to having an anxiety disorder. Public speaking, interviews, talking in groups, etc. are all extremely anxiety provoking (more than the butterflies that most people get...) The polygraph interrogation was a total nightmare, I was so nervous that I was worried I was going to pass out a few times. I informed my polygrapher about my anxiety problems (and he had my complete medical history anyway), but he brushed it off and said it had nothing to do with why I was failing. I'm doubtful. For example, when having my bag searched in airport security, I feel incredibly guilty and nervous even though I know I have nothing to hide. I think I had the same sort of irrational feelings of guilt and anxiety during the relevant questions on the test. Of course having spent a lot of time on this site, I know innocent people fail the polygraph all the time, but I'm curious as to whether having an anxiety disorder tips the scale even more in favor of a false positive. Has anyone heard of any research regarding anxiety disorders and the polygraph? Or has anyone with an anxiety disorder passed with out a problem? As I said, the agency was fully aware of my anxiety problems and had even talked to my psychiatrist during the background investigation--so they obviously didn't think it would hamper by ability to do the job (and it wouldn't). But I feel convinced that it made passing the polygraph nearly impossible. (Even though it's a crapshoot as it is...) Any info or insight? Thanks!
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: Anxiety Disorders and Polygraph
Reply #1 - Oct 25th, 2003 at 7:08am
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As Dr. Alan P. Zelicoff has noted, a review of the scientific literature by 26 senior scientists at Sandia National Laboratories "revealed no scientific studies demonstrating any effect of any medications or medical conditions on the outcome of the polygraph."

I think you should not waste too much time trying to figure out why an invalid test produced inaccurate results. It's not your fault. It's faulty technology.

That said, your anxiety while truthfully answering the relevant questions may well have contributed to your false positive outcome. When your polygrapher brushed off your anxiety and said it had nothing to do with your failing, he was lying. He cannot know that.

The common practice of polygraphers laying the blame at the feet of subjects who "fail," accusing them of being "unable to resolve issues" is particulary despicable.

I think it would be wise to appeal the polygraph results.
  

George W. Maschke
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Mahogany
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Re: Anxiety Disorders and Polygraph
Reply #2 - Apr 21st, 2018 at 9:30pm
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Hello,

My brother recently took 2 poly graph tests and he failed. His parole requires him to take random tests. He has anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. How can he appeal his results in hopes that he doesn't have go back to jail. Because, according to his parole, if he fails a poly graph he would be mandated to go back to prison. I feel this is very unfair and unjust. Is there anything he can do?
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: Anxiety Disorders and Polygraph
Reply #3 - Apr 23rd, 2018 at 9:04am
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Mahogany,

It would be best to consult a lawyer regarding your brother's appeal rights. These vary from state to state, so it's unlikely anyone on this message board could provide you with an authoritative answer to your question without knowing which state your brother is in.

If your brother ends up having an appeal hearing, AntiPolygraph.org can help with documentation on why polygraph chart readings should not be relied upon. We could also provide a critical review of any polygraph "tests" conducted on your brother.
  

George W. Maschke
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
E-mail/iMessage/FaceTime: antipolygraph.org@protonmail.com
Wire: @ap_org
Threema: A4PYDD5S
Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Perry Mason
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Re: Anxiety Disorders and Polygraph
Reply #4 - Apr 23rd, 2018 at 4:02pm
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Mahogany said, "Because, according to his parole, if he fails a poly graph he would be mandated to go back to prison."

Wait a minute!  Most programs which include polygraphs require only that the probationer/parolee take a polygraph, not pass a polygraph.

Even if failing a polygraph is deemed sufficient to revoke probation or parole, the probationer/parolee is entitled to a hearing to contest whether or not he failed a polygraph.

At that hearing, your brother, Mahogany, could argue that he did not, in fact, fail; or, he could explain why he "failed" the "test."  As a criminal defense attorney, I live for the day I get a case where I can challenge polygraph "test" results.
  
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Anxiety Disorders and Polygraph

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