How the polygraph works

First of all there are strict rules examiners have to follow before a test that were drilled into us at training. The first step is to explain to the examinee the whole process that will followed on the day of testing. Examinees will have to complete paperwork which involves personal details, assessing their health and emotional well-being. The examinee will also have to sign a consent form where he/she gives permission to conduct the test. With the introduction process, the examiner will discover what kind of person the examinee is and the examiner will ensure nothing in his/her past will contaminate the test. The examinee will undergo a medical background check. The examiner needs to be sure that the examinee is not drugged and they must be with all their actual senses. If there is any suspicion that the person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they cannot undergo the test. All our examiners are qualified drug and alcohol testers that will have all the equipment needed to make sure the person is not under the influence.


The Examiner will explain how all the equipment works. After all the preparatory work has been done, the examiner will explain/discuss the incident under investigation and the examinee will be given an opportunity to provide his/her opinion and understanding of the incident. The questions that will be asked, will be explained thoroughly until the examinee understands everything 100%. The examinee knows exactly what to expect. The polygraph machine will be calibrated to the person’s body and the examiner will undergo a test run. Once all is 100% in working order, the actual test can start.

The polygraph machine will start to record and measure blood pressure, heart beat and sweating. All questions asked during the polygraph examination will only be the questions discussed with the examinee prior to the examination.

With every question and answer, the polygraph machine will record and measure the reactions continuously and at the end the polygraph machine will give you charts of recorded reactions.

The complete examination will take a minimum of 90 minutes and can last up to 3 hours depending on the situation. There are Polygraph Examiners that will do this test in 30 minutes but I then ask: Is the output sufficient? Is the quality acceptable? Are the operating procedures being followed?

Arnos Forensic Solutions will send the results after the test has been quality controlled by another member of the South African Polygraph Association that is employed by Arnos Forensic Solutions

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