A polygraph test, or in layman's term a "lie detector test", is used in many criminal investigations and interviews for jobs related to the government. A polygraph is a machine with six wires or "sensors" attached to the person taking the test. His sweat, breathing, blood pressure and heart beats would be the basis of the machine's efforts to tell whether that person is lying or not. The machine also consists of a moving paper and a special pen where the changes in the person's emotions or physical reactions (voluntary and involuntary) are being recorded. The examiner is called a forensic psycho-physiologist, who, aside from running the polygraph machine, monitors the other aspects or movements of the person, like fidgeting and tapping of fingers. These actions indicate the person's uneasiness, which could be interpreted as effects of lying. These facts may sound scary and discouraging for you to take the test, but there are a lot of simple ways to cheat the polygraph test. Here's how:
- Stay calm. No matter how uncomfortable or nervous you are, remember to breathe normally and tell yourself to stay calm. The polygraph machine will be able to detect simple flinches of your heart, or even the sweat coming out of your body, which will cause the examiner to interpret them as effects of lying. Think of your polygraph test day as any ordinary day or like a simple examination. By doing this, it will lessen your worries and nervousness. Remember the "mind-over-matter" policy.
- Identify the types of questions that you might be asked on the test. Yes, research helps. But remember to act as if you do not know anything about it. Do not ever say that you know something about how the polygraph works because the examiner will know that you have cheated, especially when the result says ‘NDI' or "no deception indicated". Sometimes, the examiner will use technical terms or medical jargon in explaining the procedures or the results. Act as if you have not encountered these terms before, even if you have had read it somewhere during your research. Also, there are two types of questions the examiner will use: the "control" questions (questions that do not have anything to do with the situation) and the questions regarding the situation. They will compare what the ink indicated between your answers to the two sets of questions.
- Think of something else if you do not wish to answer the question. When asked something that you do not wish to have known, think of another question which you could answer honestly. A lot of people use this technique because they do not have to lie with the answer. The polygraph test would not be able to detect the emotional or physical changes because your answer is true enough.
- Answer directly with only single words. You may feel that you need to elaborate on your answer to some questions, but the more you explain, the more the machine will interpret it as lying. Refuse to disclose too much information, for it could be interpreted as nervousness and an affect because you are hiding something. Stick to "yes" and "no" if possible.