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What’s in a Lie Detector Test Report? An Inside Look

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Lie detector or polygraph tests are used to find out the accuracy of someone’s response by measuring the heart rate, blood pressure, and skin conductivity. Be it in the court of law, relationships, or interview screenings, unbiased results from a lie detector greatly help attest to a person’s truthfulness. Without any further ado, let us dive deep into the world of lie detector tests and their uses in various contexts.

Components of a Lie Detector Test Report

Subject Information

Prior to the test, it is imperative that the person being subjected to a lie detector test needs to be in the right conditions – both physically and mentally – so that the results are not skewed in any way. 

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Test Details

To collect polygraph data, a Lafayette polygraph system (LX5000) was used to measure nonvoluntary responses like cardiovascular, respiratory, and electrodermal activity. To monitor the peripheral behavior, cooperation, and activity, sensors were applied to the subjects.

The protocol required for a polygraph examination involves a clear three-step method of target selection, development of test questions, and test administration. Some studies advocate the use of a scoring system for data analysis. 

This is the reason why professional examiners conduct a polygraph exam that includes the scoring system. There are rules and guidelines for the scoring system laid down by professional organizations that need to be diligently followed by these examiners for accurate results. To detect any aspect of deception, the scoring system factors in both physiological and behavioral nuances.

Through proper expert analysis and unbiased data, the polygraph reports can act as a source of valuable intel that can help resolve legal issues. Besides the legal system, the protocol and scoring system of the polygraph provides a clear distinction between truthful and dishonest individuals in different situations.

Analysis and Results

Since nonvoluntary data metrics such as heart rate variability and skin conductivity can lend huge credibility against a subject’s claims or responses, this part of the report is written down in the Analysis & Results section. Post analysis, these results are labeled as ‘No Deception Indicated (NDI), ‘Deception Indicated’ (DI), or ‘Inconclusive’ to indicate differing levels of trust and reliability. 

No lie detectors are considered 100% accurate and should be factored in with other factors. The accuracy rate of polygraph tests is estimated to be around 90% as per The American Polygraph Association and should be treated with a pinch of salt.

Confidentiality and Legalities

To avoid subject mistreatment, it is important to carefully monitor the physiological responses, and at the same time, ensure that the legal or confidentiality issues are being followed according to the guidelines laid down by the professional organizations. All steps are required to be followed diligently to prevent false results or subject abuse.

Final Thoughts

Although we have touched upon the importance of lie detectors and their uses in various contexts, we have not touched upon the ethical guidelines, intricate data analysis, and the dangers of misreporting wrong information. Industry professionals need to step up to talk more about the confidentiality or legal issues that may arise from misusing this technology. Nonetheless, we have discussed the basics of this technology to allow deeper talks conversations on the uses and perils of this technology.

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