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Apr 9th, 2001 at 8:31pm
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I took a polygraph "test" for a police department and the polygrapher told me afterwards that I "seemed to have problems with the question Other than what you've told me, have you ever commited a crime?"  After we bantered back and forth for a while, he asked if I would be willing to retake it.  Ofcourse I would, since I hadn't lied to him.  Then I did some research (at this great website) and am thinking the detective was tricking me, since that question is a "control" question. 

My question is, I retake the "test" tomorrow and was wondering if you think the detective was "tricking" me and was really inconclusive, or does he think I really was "lying" about that question?  He didn't narrow down what he thought was a crime, and I was really calm under all the questions. 

any help would be great.
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: inconclusive
Reply #1 - Apr 9th, 2001 at 9:03pm
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Homer,

It seems likely that the outcome of your polygraph interrogation was indeed "inconclusive," otherwise, you probably would not have been invited back for a second polygraph session.

The question, "Other than what you've told me, have you ever committed a crime?" seems very likely to be a "control" question because of its vagueness. If your polygrapher grilled you on this question between polygraph charts, he may have actually been trying to help you "pass" by sensitizing you to this "control" question, thus increasing the liklihood that you would produce a significant physiological response when asked it.

On the other hand, the question about having ever committed "a crime" could be used (however inappropriately) as a relevant question. Without knowing all the questions that you were asked, I couldn't say with complete confidence that this question was intended as a "control" question. Then again, your polygrapher's vagueness about what he thought was "a crime" seems to be a good indication that he was indeed using it as a "control" question.

If you haven't done so already, I suggest that you download the PDF version of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, print it out, and read chapters 3 & 4 carefully. I wish you well. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to post them here. In addition, when it's all over, feel free to share your polygraph experience with others in the new "Share Your Polygraph Experience" forum at:

http://www.antipolygraph.org/cgi-bin/forums/YaBB.pl?board=share
  

George W. Maschke
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Re: inconclusive
Reply #2 - Apr 9th, 2001 at 9:49pm
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Mr. Maschke,

Thank you so much for your insight.  The list of questions were "is your first name Homer; do you live in ohio; is you last name Smith; do you intend to lie on this exam; have you lied on any part of this process; are you lying about you illegal involvment in drugs; are you lying about your illegal sexual involvment; other than what you've told me, have you ever committed a crime? 

Before the "test" the detective did just about everything described in your book.  He told me that the poly was almost perfectly accurate.  That it couldn't tell the difference between a little lie and a big one.

The reason I think (now after reading THE LIE BEHIND THE LIE DETECTOR) that that question was a control question was he never told me to exclude traffic violations, jaywalking, etc.  Also, the detective never accused me of "lying" or even said I failed.  He just said "it showed something" and asked if I wanted to get something off my chest.  I feel I told him everything.  This is why I thought the "test" might be inconclusive, because he never told me I failed..

Do you still think the exam might be inconclusive?

thanks again
  
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Re: inconclusive
Reply #3 - Apr 9th, 2001 at 10:24pm
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Homer,

Yes, I think that the polygrapher's determination on your first polygraph interrogation was probably "inconclusive." Had you "failed," you would have in all liklihood not been invited to sit for another polygraph interrogation.

Based on the questions you listed, I'm not quite sure if your polygrapher used a probable-lie "control" question "test" (CQT) format or a relevant/irrelevant technique (also known as a "General Question Test" or GQT) with hidden "control" questions. The CQT format typically has one "control" question for every relevant question, with some irrelevant questions mixed in. Regarding the GQT format, which is not discussed in 1st edition of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, see the following post to this message board:

http://www.antipolygraph.org/cgi-bin/forums/YaBB.pl?board=Proc&action=display&nu...

After comparing this format with the probable-lie "control" question "test" format described in Ch. 3 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, you should be in a better position to judge which format your polygrapher used. Again, if you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask.
  

George W. Maschke
I am generally available in the chat room from 3 AM to 3 PM Eastern time.
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
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Threema: A4PYDD5S
Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"
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