b. The test consists of a series of questions and the simultaneous recording
by the polygraph of the physiological changes during the response to these
The examiner prepares the test questions on the basis of the
information he has obtained from the investigator and the examinee.
c. The procedures to be used will vary slightly with the person to be tested,
and the facts of the offense.
Generally, three techniques are available: The
modified general question test, the zone of comparison test, and the peak of
(1) The modified general question test consists of a series of questions
asked in a planned order.
Relevant questions are asked in order to cause a
specific response if the examinee is emotionally concerned about the question.
Irrelevant questions are asked to give him a relief after the pertinent questions
and to establish a normal tracing standard on the test chart.
are used to determine whether he is a suitable subject for the polygraph test and
if he is capable of producing a specific physical response.
(2) The zone of comparison is also comprised of relevant, irrelevant, and
In this technique, various zones of specific responses are
compared with control response zones to enable the examiner to more easily
interpret any specific responses which may be present on the chart.
(3) The peak of tension test is designed to build an examinee up to his
peak of tension (emotional disturbance).
The test is constructed with but one
relevant question; the remainder are irrelevant. The examinee is informed of the
exact order in which the questions will be asked.
An examinee who will be
emotionally disturbed by the one relevant question tends to build up to a peak at
this question and decline after it has been asked. A subject who will not be too
concerned about the one relevant question tends to produce flat tracings with no
indication that tension is present.
This technique may be used only where
unpublicized information about an offense is available only to the examinee,
investigator, and examiner, such as the amount of money stolen in a robbery. These
tests are also used to see if a person is capable of response.
d. The length of the test will vary from one to several hours, depending on
the number of charts run (generally three or more are obtained), the physiological
tracings recorded, the thoroughness of the interviewing between charts, the
physical and mental condition of the examinee as well as other delays.
interruptions or breaks in the test are not meant as the commencing of a new
examination and the requiring of additional approval.
In fact, second tests
conducted within 30 days of the first do not require additional approval or a new
e. Polygraph examinations are conducted only by certified personnel. Interns
or other examiners who have been required to complete a refresher period of
internship, can conduct a polygraph examination only under the direct supervision
of a certified polygraph examiner.