When all that we see regarding lie detector tests comes from the world of fiction, our understanding of these matters does become flawed. Many of the elements which make up a lie detector test that you see on the television have been altered or changed for dramatic effect. This means that consequently, people will develop an understanding of lie detector tests which is not accurate. We’re taking a look at some of the common misconceptions about lie detectors, to try and provide an accurate understanding of the subject.
The name of the test itself
One of the first and most common misconceptions which people have is that a lie detector test is even called such a thing. The correct term for the machinery and the process as a whole is referred to as a ‘polygraph test’, but many people still refer to it as a lie detector test. While this is still technically correct, the official term remains as a polygraph.
Control questions are not designed to create a response
Another misconception among the vast majority of the public is that control questions are designed for establishing essential details and facts. However, this is not true. The purpose of a control question is to determine what the vital signs of a person look like when they are lying, so the examiner will be able to identify future lies with greater precision.
Drugs will aid you in passing the exam
This is another misconception which is simply not true. Drugs and medication will not help you with passing the exam without being caught out for being untrue about particular facts. It is a part of the pre-examination for the examiner to ensure that the person being interviewed and questioned is fit to take the test at all, and this will involve checking for the presence of medication.
They do not detect lies
The purpose of a polygraph test is to identify if an individual is telling the truth, or if they are attempting to lie. The lie detector test can confirm if a person is telling the truth, but it does not confirm if they are lying. Instead, it notices and records any changes in the subject during the questioning, and searches for changes that would indicate a lie has been told.
They are entirely accurate
This is a misconception held by many, in part due to the dramatic nature of television. A polygraph is never 100% accurate, as it is possible to deliberately alter the state of your vitals to confuse a lie detector, and thus change the outcome of the test.
Overall, these are just five of the most common misconceptions and myths surrounding the lie detector test. When confronted with a lie detector, people often try and think their way out of problems by falling back on knowledge which is founded in inaccuracy. Therefore, having a reasonable understanding of the lie detector and its many facets will help you to make the right choices when confronted with a polygraph test, and ensure you don’t cause yourself any more trouble than necessary.