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My Polygraph Disaster (Read 4160 times)
Paste User Name in Quick Reply Box Black Hawk
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My Polygraph Disaster
Mar 22nd, 2013 at 9:17am
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My wife recently suspected me of cheating on her. Knowing full well that I did not, I agreed to take a polygraph. Prior to this all I knew about polygraphs I learned from TV shows. Like most Americans, I thought they were infallible.

The operator  (a former cop) brings me in and starts what I took to be idle chit-chat. Turns out that was the pre-interview where he was trying to assess my demeanor and reaction to his questions which turned uncomfortable quickly. He asked questions that were just perplexing. Turns out that my wife had sent him an email explaining all of her suspicions and made me look like I was a philanderer.

Then he strapped me up and proceeded to question me. His control questions were "Since the age of X, have you ever hurt anyone who trusted you?" I confidently answered "No." as I have never intentionally, physically hurt anyone which I thought he meant. Turns out that was the "wrong" answer. His other control question was "Between the ages of X and Y, did you ever hurt anyone who trusted you." Again, I answered no, thinking he meant physically. Because, he thougth I was lying, when he compared my reactions to the relevent questions, which were significant, and my non-reactions to the control questions, I answered confidently, he assumed I was lying.

He told me to leave the room, and my wife went in. He told my wife that I lied on all the questions. He told her I was 90% lying. He then told her "out of a possible 5000, he got a 900." He even went so far  to tell my wife that I was a "sexual deviant". WTF?

So now my wife thinks I am an adulterer and a pervert, and I cannot convince her of the truth. All because of a stupid machine.

In addition to sharing my story, I also have a question. What did he mean by saying "out of 5000, I got a 900"? Are any polygraphs scored on that scale? Also, I thought polygraphs either said, you were truthful or deceptive, not by degrees of deception. Lastly, was this guy out of line by telling my wife I was a sexual deviant?

Thanks, guys. I hope my marriage can survive this. It doesn't look good.
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Paste User Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: My Polygraph Disaster
Reply #1 - Mar 22nd, 2013 at 9:36am
Mark & Quote Quote 
Black Hawk,

I'm very sorry to read of your unhappy experience. Polygraph "testing" has no scientific basis at all. It's a pseudoscientific fraud, and polygraph chart readings are evidence of nothing.

The claim that you scored a 900 out of 5,000 is meaningless mumbo jumbo. Such a scoring system is not even taught at polygraph schools.

Polygraph "tests" are indeed pass/fail. They are not scored by degrees of perception, but polygraph operators often suggest otherwise, for example claiming that someone "failed miserably" or "passed with flying colors."

And this polygraph operator was completely out of line calling you a sexual deviant.

I hope you might consider naming and shaming him.
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George W. Maschke
E-mail: maschke@antipolygraph.org
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Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. -- Saul Bellow
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Paste User Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: My Polygraph Disaster
Reply #2 - Mar 22nd, 2013 at 9:54am
Mark & Quote Quote 
See also the personal statement of Gary Smith, who had an experience similar to yours:

https://antipolygraph.org/statements/statement-028.pdf
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George W. Maschke
E-mail: maschke@antipolygraph.org
PGP Public Key: 316A947C
Bitmessage: BM-GtK3fjwGHLLcdRRsYU9eHRdPGxGabbuL
Twitter: georgemaschke
Tel/SMS: 1-424-835-1225
SIP: georgemaschke@ostel.co
Encrypted voice and text chat (XMPP via Jitsi): georgemaschke@jit.si
Postal mail: Van Trigtstraat 53, 2597 VX The Hague, The Netherlands
Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. -- Saul Bellow
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Re: My Polygraph Disaster
Reply #3 - Mar 22nd, 2013 at 10:17am
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George,

Thanks. I wish there was some way to vindicate myself, but my wife is convinced of the results and any attempt on my part to explain myself just seems like excuses to her. I wish I could sue the guy, but that doesn't seem possible.
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Re: My Polygraph Disaster
Reply #4 - Mar 22nd, 2013 at 10:33am
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Black Hawk wrote on Mar 22nd, 2013 at 10:17am:
George,

Thanks. I wish there was some way to vindicate myself, but my wife is convinced of the results and any attempt on my part to explain myself just seems like excuses to her. I wish I could sue the guy, but that doesn't seem possible.

You could show her the Showtime program PENN & TELLER: THE LIE DETECTOR IS BULLSHIT!  You can find it on the MEDIA page of my website www.polygraph.com -
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Re: My Polygraph Disaster
Reply #5 - Mar 22nd, 2013 at 3:13pm
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Black Hawk wrote on Mar 22nd, 2013 at 10:17am:
I wish I could sue the guy, but that doesn't seem possible. 

I am not a lawyer, but I'd definately consult one about suing him for defamation of character. I do know that the criterion for such a thing is that you must show that your character was defamed; bringing your wife onto the witness stand and letting her vent should leave little doubt. You could also ask your lawyer if you could use the lawsuit to subpeona the polygraph charts which you could lay bare here on this website for our evaluation.
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Veritas potens est gladius
 
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Re: My Polygraph Disaster
Reply #6 - Mar 22nd, 2013 at 9:18pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
A lawsuit is silly in this situation and very impractical, as you knowingly signed up to have the tester evaluate you.  There is no guarantee of an accurate result, only his assessment of the results from the test.  I think your frustration is sorely misdirected.

First, you should blame yourself for even agreeing to be polygraphed.  Because instead of visiting someone who has a polygraph, you should have instead called a marriage councilor.  Your wife must have some reason or suspicions to accuse you of cheating and instead of directly confronting and discovering those reasons, you agree to have yourself vindicated instead.  For her to even ask for such a request is absurd and is an alarm for any rationally thinking person.  Now, because you've failed your attempt to dismiss her concerns outright, you've placed yourself in a worse situation.

Don't blame the person who gave you inaccurate results from pseudoscience, blame yourself for allowing yourself to be put in such a situation in the first place.  Your marriage was in serious trouble before these results, you need to focus your efforts on that instead.
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Re: My Polygraph Disaster
Reply #7 - Mar 23rd, 2013 at 12:16pm
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Apathy,
You are assuming Black Hawk was aware of the folly of polygraphy prior to submitting to it. Most of the public does not share your enlightened perspective; they go in like a trusting lamb to the slaughter. I don't think a lawsuit is silly or impractical; I see it as an effective tool to drag these knotheads onto the carpet of accountability.
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Veritas potens est gladius
 
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