The polygraph instrument is a scientific instrument that collects physiological data from multiple systems in the human body and is based on our survival system, commonly known as "fight or flight."

Any time that a person is in a position of fear or danger, this system is automatically activated and it prepares the person for those threats. In a professional examination, the examiner will and should review all the questions prior to the exam with the examinee. Deception is a deliberate act and it is this deliberate knowledge of deception that will trigger those internal uncontrollable physiological responses within our bodies. The polygraph instrumentation will simultaneously and permanently record these changes.

It is important that you arrive for your examination as a suitable examinee. This includes being well rested and eating something light prior to the test. This also includes refraining from consuming alcoholic beverages or ingesting illegal drugs for 24 hours prior to the examination.

It is suggested that you dress comfortably but appropriately. Business casual attire works well. Since all exam sensors are applied over your clother, bulky or thick clothing such as sweaters or sweatshirts are not recommended as they may obstruct or interfere with sensor placement.

If you are actively taking a prescribed medication, continue to take the medication as directed by your physician.

If you are feeling sick the day of your appointment, it is recommended that you call and reschedule. If you are ill or contagious, the examination will not be administered.

The time may vary depending upon the nature of the examination and it’s complexity, however, it would be reasonable to expect the exam to take approximately two to three hours. The actual time that you’re actively connected to the instrument sensors is substantially less, approximately twenty minutes.

Nervousness does not interfere with the polygraph examination. It is expected that every individual will be nervous to some point or another. This is a physical state that will generally continue throughout the examination. The examination analysis does not assess general nervousness. The examination analysis is focused on the psychophysiological analysis that results from deception.

All examination questions will be thoroughly reviewed with you prior to the chart collection phase of the examination being administered.

The sensors that record your physiological tracings do not create any physical discomfort. You will have a blood pressure cuff attached for changes in cardiovascular activity; however, the associated pressure is no different from that of having your blood pressure taken.

Training and Experience is Key! Here are things to consider prior to hiring a profressional examiner:

- Is their business strictly credibility assessment?
- Where were they trained?
- Are they fully licensed and certified?
- Are they insured?
- Do they have a dedicated and permanent examination office?
- Do they utilize the state of the art computerized equipment?
- What National and State professional memberships do they have?
- What Advanced Certifications do they have?
- What continuing education do they possess?
- What Law Enforcement experience do they have?
- What Education Degrees do they have?

A professional examiner should be willing to answer all of these questions. Please visit the About Us page to learn more about our examiners.

Many studies have been done over the years that have documented the accuracy of polygraph to determine truth vs. deceoption. Generally, the studies found that polygraph’s accuracy is in the high 90% range.

The U.S. Government studies have concluded that when a qualified examiner conducts the test properly, the exam is between 87% and 95% accurate, depending on the test format utilized by the qualified examiner.

Studies published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences report researchers assessed the utility and validity of the polygraph technique in comparison to fingerprint identification, handwriting analysis, ballistics, serology and eyewitness identification with the following results:


Independent research conducted by some of the nation’s top scientists concluded that, while the polygraph technique is not infallible, research clearly indicated that when administered by a competent examiner the polygraph test is the most accurate means available to determine truth and deception.

Since 1980, a compendium of research studies - encompassing 80 research projects incolving 6,380 polygraph examinations and 12 studies of the validity of field examinations following 2,174 field examinations, indicate an average accuracy rate of 98%.

Three sectors of society use polygraph examinations for various reasons and purposes.

Private Sector
Individuals, families, therapists and employers use polygraph examinations to verify statements and find out the truth on a variety of issues including infidelity, drug use, addictions, sex offenses, employee theft, criminal activities, abuse and all other matters.

Legal Community
Law firms and attorneys use polygraph examinations in the pre-court phase and in civil litigation to determine truth in a client’s case, verify a client’s truthfulness relative to a plea negotiation, to assist in general client control and verification of witness statements. Law courts also mandate polygraph examinations on a regular basis for post convicted sex offenders. In addition, U.S. Attorney Offices, District Attorney Offices, Public Defender Offices, Defense Attorneys and Parolte & Probation Departments all use polygraph examinations.

Law Enforcement, Federal Agencies, Military and Government
Local Police, U.S. Military Branches and Government Agencies such as the FBI, CIA, NSA and Department of Defense all use polygraph examinations for applicant screenings, criminal investigations and matters of national security.

False positive. False negative - While the polygraph technique is highly accurate, it is not infallible and errors do occur. Polygraph errors may be caused by the examiner’s failure to preperly prepare the examinee for the examination, or by a misreading of the physiological data on the polygraph charts. Errors are usually referred to as either false positives or false negatives. A false positive occurs when a truthful examinee is reported as being deceptive; a false negative when a deceptive examinee is repoarted as truthful. Some research indicates that false negatives occur more frequently than false positives, other research studies show the opposite conclusion. Since it is recognized that any error is damaging, examiners utilize a variety of procedures to identify the presence of factors which may cause false responses, and to insure an unbiased review of the polygraph records.

Source: American Polygraph Association

Contrary to popular belief, polygraph results are not per se inadmissible in most courts across the country. The states of New Mexico and Ohio have allowed Polygraph to be admitted, even over objection of the opposing party.

The Supreme Court has left it up to individual jurisdictions to allow or disallow the use of polygraph examinations. There are only four (4) states that have a total ban on admitting polygraph results. Most states allow them if both the plaintiff and the defendant have agreed (stipulated) that the results of the test will be admissible prior to the examination being conducted. They are admitted more frequently in civil trials than criminal trials. For more details on admissibility and case citations for each state, click here.

Admission of polygraph expert testimony is a little-known area of law. Motion practice in this area is not common, yet can be incredibly important to jury determinations.

The purpose of Federal Rule of Evidence 702 was to expand expert testimony admissibility where it can assist the jury. However, a lack of familiarity with the court rule within the bar and judiciary have led to the rule being used primarily to exclude expert testimony. In fact, many states still unwittingly adhere to the Frye standard from 1923, rather than the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1993 Daubert decision that recognized Rule 702.

At F.P.S.I., we know Federal Rule of Evidence 702 motion practice. Our legal consulting services can help you:
- Assist judges in performing their proper gatekeeper function in admitting expert testimony.
- Establish relevance and reliability of expert witnesses for admissibility.
- Establish an expert’s scientific, technical or specialized knowledge evidence for admissibility.

With over 20 years’ litigation experience in the federal and state bars, our legal consulting services provide authority and guidance in applying state and federal expert admissibility rules properly.

Professional polygraph examinations should be conducted in an appropriate and quiet setting, free from distracting objects and/or noises. No one else will be allowed within the examination room during the exam. We therefore ask that you be courteous and make arrangements to leave your child or children with a care taker and allow yourself ample time for the examination.

Under most situations, exam results may be received the same day with a written report to follow. Your polygraph examination and the results are considered confidential and will not be discussed or disseminated to anyone without your prior written consent.

Most specific issue tests average $450-$850. Contact us for a consultation and quote. Fees will be itemized before any service is rendered. Likewise, fees will be collected before any service is conducted. This practice eliminates any suggestion of bias from those who might question the result of the examination.