Stim test or not to Stim test – that is the question!

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Over the past year I have been conducting research into the use of the Stim or Acquaintance Test and I would be very greatful if my fellow examiners could offer their professional opinion or experience on this matter.

Do you recall your Basic Polygraph training on the use of the Stim or Acquaintance Test?

I was trained by the Backster School, using the Acquaintance Test as the first chart to be run following the Pre-test Interview. We (the students) were told that the test allowed the examinee to experience answering questions whilst wearing the polygraph equipment. And would allow the examinee to relax into the process (to a degree), before continuing with the main issue test.

The examiner, it was said, would also benefit by running the test in that they could observe the examinees reactions for the first time and have the opportunity to adjust individual sensor reaction recordings if necessary. My question is – Does the Stim or Acquaintance Test actually assist either the examiner or examinee in conducting a reliable polygraph examination? Whilst I accept that the test does allow all of the above and in addition (the chart) can act as an indicator and reference to compare any signs of purposeful noncompliance or countermeasures, is there any real value in the recorded reactions?

If it is the case, then why do we often see a strong reaction to the Significant Relevant on the first specific issue test chart and would it be more beneficial to replace the Stim or Acquaintance test with an additional specific issue test. Later discarding the first specific issue chart and scoring only the subsequent three charts. Your thoughts and observations please.

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