Normal Topic PolygraphPass.com: Let the Buyer Beware (Read 7396 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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PolygraphPass.com: Let the Buyer Beware
May 18th, 2001 at 12:06am
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A new website, PolygraphPass.com offers for sale a manual entitled "How to Succeed at Pre Employment [sic] Polygraph Examinations." The manual costs U.S. $19.95, and may be ordered on-line by credit card and downloaded as a ZIP-compressed Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file.

The site itself is rather mysterious. It offers little information about the manual or about polygraphy. Moreover, the name of the manual's author is not revealed on the site. The author is, however, described as a member of the California Association of Polygraph Examiners and an associate member of the American Polygraph Association.

I couldn't resist the temptation. I pulled out my credit card and ordered "How to Succeed at Pre Employment Polygraph Examinations." After I had entered my credit card number and expiration date, my web browser briefly displayed a confirmation page that revealed the identity of PolygraphPass.com's operator: Sheri Dean. I did indeed find her name in the California Association of Polygraph Examiners' membership list, and found the following listing for Sheri Dean on PolygraphPlace.com:

Quote:
Central Coast Polygraph
4444 Scotts Valley Drive, #8D
Scotts Valley, CA. 95066
831.438.2330

Hegenberger Road, #302
Oakland, CA. 95063

Contact: Sheri Dean
510.632.1400
School - San Francisco Center for Polygraph Studies 87

email: Rulying@aol.com

URL: members.aol.com/polygraph2/index.html


Through the magic of JavaScript, the confirmation page was quickly replaced by a page titled "Purchase Complete" from which I downloaded Sheri Dean's zipped PDF file.

About the Manual

The manual, titled "How to Succeed at Pre Employment Polygraph Examinations," is a 14-page, 40,349 byte PDF file. The document information for this PDF file reveals that it was created on 17 March 2001.

Sheri Dean opens her manual with the following brief introduction:

Quote:
Congratulations on your determination to succeed at you pre-employment polygraph exam. This manual contains all the information you will need to study and prepare for your test. Nowhere else will you find such detailed information, written specifically for this purpose by a practicing polygraph professional.

Obviously the first thing you have to do to pass a polygraph exam is to tell the truth. This manual assumes that you will be telling the truth and guides you as to what to expect and how to avoid common mistakes. Please review ALL of the information in this manual. Some of the sections address very minor issues but remember, its [sic] the little things that count! If you have additional questions feel free to e-mail me.


This introduction immediately set off bells and whistles. The Control Question Test, widely used for pre-employment polygraph screening, entails the polygrapher's expectation (hidden from the examinee) that the examinee's answers to the so-called "control" questions will either be untruthful or that he/she will at least experience considerable doubt as to the veracity of his/her answer. The polygrapher must mislead the examinee about that hidden expectation. But Dean says, "Obviously, the first thing you have to do to pass a polygraph exam is to tell the truth." If you have read AntiPolygraph.org's free book [url]The Lie Behind the Lie Detector,[/url] you know that this claim is untrue. Could it be that Dean had no intention of revealing the trickery behind the "control" questions? I continued reading.

A synopsis of the various sections of Dean's manual follows. Note that although sections are numbered/lettered in outline format, there is no internal consistency with regard to the alphanumerical sequence of sections and subsections.

In Section 1, "Environment," Dean discusses the settings in which polygraph interrogations are administered, noting that the procedure might be monitored without your being informed of the fact. She notes:

Quote:
At one location the department video tapes all polygraph interviews. The tests are given on location at the department. A tiny camera is hidden in a speaker hole of a radio sitting on a desk. All actions are monitored by an administrator at the time of the interview, and the video tapes are also forwarded to the background investigator.


Section II is titled "Presentation" and has subsections titled "Promptness," "Appearance," "Demeanor," and "Be Prepared" and provides tips similar those found in the  discussion of behavioral countermeasures in Chapter 4 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.

continued in following post...
« Last Edit: May 18th, 2001 at 2:26pm by George W. Maschke »  

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 George W. Maschke
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Re: PolygraphPass.com: Let the Buyer Beware
Reply #1 - May 18th, 2001 at 12:09am
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continued...

Section III, "Pre-Test Paperwork," Dean discusses the pre-test questionnaires that some agencies require be filled out prior to a polygraph interrogation. One interesting tip she provides is this:

Quote:
One little piece of information that's not generally known to applicants: the time you spend on the paperwork may be reported to the department. If you take too long it might cast doubt on your reading ability and/or intelligence. If you go too fast, it might appear as if you didn't really read the questions or weren't taking the test seriously. Since each examiner uses their own form I can't tell you how much time to spend on each one. I use a 10 page, 300 yes/no question form. Most applicants complete the form in 30-45 minutes.


Section IV, "Interview" discusses the pre-test interview phase of the polygraph interrogation. Dean warns against attempts to ingratiate oneself with the polygrapher, or to "try to use humor to get through the test." She urges the reader to be sure to accurately complete their "Personal History Statement," noting, "It has been my experience that 90% of applicant's [sic] PHS's [sic] or other background forms contain errors or omissions."

Subsections to Section IV discuss how to respond to questions, emphasizing the importance of providing specific rather than general answers, for example:

Quote:
If asked "when was the last time you used marijuana?"

DON'T respond: Yes I've used marijuana.

DO respond: I last used marijuana in 6/85, just prior to graduating from high school.


In a subsection on semantics, Dean advises:

Quote:
Often applicants give me tentative answers, beginning "I don't know if this counts but..." A good rule of thumb is: IF YOU THINK OF IT, IT COUNTS!


Here, Dean fails to warn readers about the dangers of "spilling one's guts" to one's polygrapher during the pre-test interview. As noted in The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, admissions made during the pre-test phase may be spun out of all proportion if the polygrapher later thinks he/she sees signs of deception in the charts.

Section 22 [sic], "The Test" notes in subsection 1:

Quote:
The examiner must ask questions in certain areas but the exact phrasing of the questions can be customized. For instance, the examiner must ask a test question concerning theft from an employer. The exact questions could include: "have you EVER stolen anything from a place where you worked?", "besides pens and pencils, have you stolen anything from a place where you worked?", or "within the past five years have you stolen anything from a place where you worked?"


Dean has just described a commonly used "control" question. (She is incorrect, however, in stating that the examiner "must" ask a question about theft from an employer. Other "control" questions may be used instead.) Moreover, Dean fails to warn the reader that his/her answer to this question is expected to be untrue, even after any admissions have been made.

In subsection C., "Nervousness," Dean writes:

Quote:
It is normal to be nervous or apprehensive during a polygraph examination, even if you have nothing to hide. Although nervousness can show up on the test, it looks completely different than a lie reaction. Nervousness is a more consistent, long lasting feeling while a lie reaction is a sudden (1-3 second) "spike" when a particular question is asked. I always tell my applicants that they can be nervous throughout the entire process and still "pass".


Dean might honestly believe the above nonsense, but she is dead wrong. There is no such thing as a "lie reaction" which can be distinguished from a "nervous reaction." If your heart races, your palmar perspiration rate increases, or your breathing becomes erratic after you truthfully but nervously answer an accusatory relevant question, you run a strong risk of becoming a false positive.

Dean's next suggestion in this subsection is quite right, however:

Quote:
DO NOT try to "relax" during the test by changing your breathing (taking slow, deep, even breaths) or thinking pleasant thoughts. These methods show up on the test very similar to countermeasures and can be misinterpreted and reported as such.


As noted in The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, polygraphers tend to interpret slow, deep breathing as an attempt at polygraph countermeasures.

continued in following post...
« Last Edit: May 18th, 2001 at 2:27pm by George W. Maschke »  

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 George W. Maschke
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Re: PolygraphPass.com: Let the Buyer Beware
Reply #2 - May 18th, 2001 at 12:12am
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continued...

Subsection 4 is titled "Countermeasures and/or Creating Truthful Charts." Dean writes:

Quote:
There is A LOT of information out there on how to beat or "sting" the polygraph. Some information is better than others while some is entirely wrong. I am always amazed at individuals who claim to have been polygraph examiners and then publish incorrect information! Even if you have good information, employing the countermeasures takes practice and skill. You may think you are competent after practicing for several days or even weeks before your polygraph test. However, consider the fact that the polygraph examiner spends their entire day, five days a week, conducting polygraph tests. The examiner is aware of counter measure techniques and is in fact, watching for them. Invariably the examiner is better at catching countermeasures than a person is at doing them. If you are caught using countermeasures, the worst is assumed, and most department's consider it an "automatic out".


Dean's claim that "Invariably the examiner is better at catching countermeasures than a person is at doing them" reflects a common conceit of the polygraph community. However, in peer-reviewed laboratory studies conducted by Professor Charles R. Honts of Boise State University, polygraph examiners were not able to detect sophisticated countermeasures attempts at better than chance levels. (See the bibliography of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector for citations and abstracts.) If you have mastered the polygraph countermeasures explained in Chapter 4 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, you will only be "caught" using countermeasures if you admit to using them.

Section VI, "Did I Pass or Fail," addresses the question, "Why is it so hard to get a straight answer from a polygraph examiner about whether or not you passed or failed?" Dean dances around this question, but notes that one reason is that a person who "passes" the test may nonetheless have made disqualifying admissions. She concludes this subsection stating:

Quote:
So what do you need to know before leaving? You need to know whether the examiner observed any DECEPTIVE REACTIONS (or just "reactions") to any of the questions. In most situations, the examiner can not tell you whether or not the admissions you made are disqualifying.


I suspect that it would be counterproductive to ask one's polygrapher, "Did you observe any deceptive reactions?" The presence or absence of a post-test interrogation is a good indication of whether the polygrapher observed what he/she thought were "deceptive reactions."

Section VII, "What Can I Do if I 'Fail' the Test," suggests looking into different departments if you made disqualifying admissions, and requesting an issue-specific polygraph if "you failed the test because you had 'deceptive reactions.'"

Section VIII, "A Few Words of Advice" provides admonishments to be truthful, summing it all up with "INTEGRITY AND CREDIBILITY are the most important characteristics established during the polygraph exam. These characteristics are practically irreplaceable. Once you compromise your integrity, it is near impossible to gain it back." The polygraph community would do well to take this advice to heart.

Section IX, "Non Police [sic] Officer Applicants" lets readers who are applying for jobs as dispatchers, firefighters, or security guards know that the polygraph procedure for them will be similar to that for law enforcement applicants.

Section X, "How Does All This Apply if I'm to Take a Voice Stress Analysis? [sic]" notes, "Polygraph measures physiological responses. Certain responses or patterns of responses have been identified as being indicative of deception. A VSA, as the name implies, measures STRESS. Therefore, in a VSA test nervousness CAN BE A FACTOR. This is one of the major drawbacks to this technology. If you have any problems with a VSA test, demand a polygraph test."

Here again, Dean repeats the untruth that nervousness cannot affect the outcome of a polygraph "test." It can, and both polygraphy and voice stress analysis are unsupported by peer-reviewed scientific research. Nonetheless, Dean's advice of demanding a polygraph "test" if you have any problems with a (C)VSA "test" is not without merit. Effective countermeasures for polygraph "tests" exist (see Chapter 4 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector), but as far as I know, no reliable countermeasures for CVSA "tests" have been identified.

continued in following post...
« Last Edit: May 18th, 2001 at 2:28pm by George W. Maschke »  

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 George W. Maschke
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Re: PolygraphPass.com: Let the Buyer Beware
Reply #3 - May 18th, 2001 at 12:15am
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continued

Conclusions

Dean does her readers a disservice by failing to tell them the full truth about "control" question "test" polygraphy. Those facing a pre-employment polygraph "test" will gain a much better understanding of the polygraph process from AntiPolygraph.org's free book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector. In my opinion, Dean's "How to Succeed at Pre Employment Polygraph Examinations" is not worth the $19.95 price.
« Last Edit: May 18th, 2001 at 2:29pm by George W. Maschke »  

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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Re: PolygraphPass.com: Let the Buyer Beware
Reply #4 - May 18th, 2001 at 4:24pm
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"How to Succeed at Pre Employment Polygraph Examinations" is not worth the $19.95 price.

George, I would like to commend you on spending your own money to bring this knowledge to us.  Again, I praise you on this especially since this is a non-profit organization!!! Grin  I would assume that this book could be an attempt to counter the your book “The Lie Behind the Lie Detector”.  From looking at what you quoted from it, I couldn’t help but laugh at her attempts to succeed. 
  

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods" &&&&-Albert Einstein &&
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PolygraphPass.com: Let the Buyer Beware

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