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  Polygraph Mistakes & Corrections

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Author Topic:   Polygraph Mistakes & Corrections
posted 05-15-2012 01:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for skipwebb   Click Here to Email skipwebb     Edit/Delete Message
If anyone is willing to share their experiences, I'm looking for some good examples of polygraph mistakes or errors people have made; how they happened and when possible, how they corrected or compensated for the error or mistake.
Not that polygraph examiners ever make mistakes, but if you have some good examples, I'd appreciate the details. You can put them here on the forum or just email the facts to me. I'd like to include them in a class that I'm giving later and will attribute them to you or promise not to if you'd rather remain anonymous.
These can be pre-exam, during the pre-test, in-test or post test phase. They might be either physical, mechanical or verbal mistakes or errors that you feel effected the test or invalidated it.

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posted 05-15-2012 06:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cpolys     Edit/Delete Message

I completed a sexual history two weeks ago in which there were approximately 150 pages contained within the sexual history document. When reviewing the questions prior to beginning the examination neither myself or the examinee noted that one of the questions did not include information they had reported during the pretest interview. The individual had consistent physiological responses to that question during the second and third charts resulting in significant responses to the test question. During the post-test interview the individual indicated that during the second presentation of the question they recalled we had discussed this information during the pretest interview. Subsequently, since I failed to include this information in the question I indicated I would retest him without charge. Isn't that special.


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Dan Mangan
posted 05-15-2012 09:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dan Mangan     Edit/Delete Message

What, exactly, were the RQs you used in that particular exam?


[This message has been edited by Dan Mangan (edited 05-15-2012).]

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posted 05-17-2012 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for skipwebb   Click Here to Email skipwebb     Edit/Delete Message
I'm amazed that the polgraph profession has only experienced only one error! I knew we were good but I had no idea how good. come on folks....surely some of you must have slipped a little at some point in your career and asked questions out of order or mixed up a fomat with some other format and improperly scored the charts.

How about finding out in the middle of the pre-test that you are testing the examinee on the case facts of a different case.

Just last week, I had a young agent come into my office three times prior to the arrival of the examinee. The agent signed the waiver and cosent form as the witness. He asked me what I was going to ask the examinee on the test and at the appointed time, brought the examinee into the polygraph suite and introduced us and left for the observation room.

The examinee informed me at the onset that he had decided on advice of his attorney (I hadn't been told he had one) not to take the polygraph. The case was on a missing/stolen M4 rifle from the unit arms room.

I realized that I couldn't test him or interrogate him so I began setting him up for a follow on exculpatory or attorney requested exam later by telling him that if he didn't steal the rifle, he really needed to cear himself. I stressed to him that he could do that by taking a polygraph test with his attorney present with him to observe and guide him. I gave him my card and told him to give it to the attorney whom I've known very well for many years. I told him his attorney routinely allowed his clients to take polygraph tests and suggested he offer to take the test. He thanked me and I escorted him out of the suite to the lobby.

When I returned, the young agent was waiting at my office door with a sheepish look on his face. He then informed me that the examinee had come in two days earlier and had confessed to stealing the rifle and had then given a written confession in which he alleged the rifle had subsequently been stolen from the closet in his house by one of his drinking buddies!

Needless to say, the conversation went down hill from there and the door was shut while I "counselled" the young agent on the need to advise me of any changes to case facts prior to the polygraph Duh!.

OK....I've admitted to my most current error...or at least one in the past two weeks. Any other takers willing to fess up?

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posted 05-18-2012 08:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dkrapohl   Click Here to Email dkrapohl     Edit/Delete Message

I hope this fits with what you’re asking.

This story goes back to analog days, so I think I can share since the statute of limitations, if not the embarrassment, has long expired. I had maybe a couple hundred exams under my belt back in the early 80s. I was conducting a routine screening exam of a young male applicant. There was nothing remarkable in the pretest interview. When it came time to test, though, I could see clear signs of countermeasures from the very start. It was really unmistakable, one of those so obvious it was hard not to laugh. Every time I asked him a question, regardless of type, his cardio tracing pinched off. I stopped the test after a few questions, and reminded this conniving examinee of the importance of cooperation, and started the test again, this time keeping an eagle eye on him to see how he was doing the countermeasure. Still, every time I asked him a question, his cardio pinched off to nothing for about 5 seconds, and then came back. I couldn’t see how he was doing it, though. I shut down, and went over to make sure he wasn’t squeezing the line with his arm somehow. Nothing. I stood in front of him, and told him that he really needed to follow my instructions if he was going to pass the test, and that he didn’t need to do anything to help himself. He had a look of total innocence on his face, obviously feigned. This guy was good, but I was determined to catch him. Next chart, same thing. With each question the cardio squeezed down to a flat line then recovered after a few seconds. I now was convinced that this citizen needed a reality lecture, and I mentally prepared to confront. I didn’t want to let him know that I didn’t know how he was doing it, but I knew with enough persistence I could get him to tell me. Just as I was getting up from my chair to deliver this well-deserved scolding my eye caught sight of the other end of the cardio line. It was caught under the corner of my Stoelting Ultrascribe Executive four-channel polygraph. I couldn’t see it when I sat down to conduct the test, but there it was, clear as day. I quickly realized that every time I rested my hand on the polygraph to annotate the question presentation, the weight of my hand, combined with the polygraph, had closed off the cuff hose. The countermeasure was from me.

In medicine the word “iatrogenic” refers to an adverse and sometimes dangerous complication caused by the doctor who is treating a patient’s condition. May I offer to the field the word “percontagenic”, a word I just now made up by combining the Latin words for “asker of questions” with “caused by.” Anyone who has done QC or mentored young examiners can relate to this concept.

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Barry C
posted 05-18-2012 09:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Barry C   Click Here to Email Barry C     Edit/Delete Message
I always wondered what examiner would have given you those charts to show all over the country....

Skip, I'm sure I'll think of something eventually. I've made several, but they're boring. I've been two questions in before I realized I was on the wrong question set, but that only concerned me the first time I did it. After a while it just became part of standard practices.

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