Among advocates, the general consensus is that polygraph testing is up to 90% accurate. So, in other words, it’s wrong at least 10% of the time. The only thing that’s more tormenting than being strapped to a lie detector machine, especially among individuals accused of something they didn’t do, is failing it.
The secret to beating a lie detector test is this: send your physiologic readings off the charts when answering control or irrelevant questions, whether you are telling the truth or lying, by increasing the levels of your stress or anxiety levels. When answering relevant questions, by comparison, you will appear truthful.
Just like any other test, you can either pass or fail a lie detector exam, except in rare instances, about 6% to 10% of all cases, where the result is inconclusive — there is no definite diagnosis of truth or deception.
If failing that upcoming polygraph test is not an option, don’t stop reading now.
Below, I will share some foolproof tips that are guaranteed to help you pass a lie detector test with flying colors. And to save you from wasting your precious time, I will no longer include strategies so common and overused that any seasoned polygraph examiner can easily anticipate and catch.
1. Get Stressed or Anxious at the Right Moment
Knowing that there is a possibility to fail a lie detector test can be extremely nerve-racking for innocent people. But it can be even more terrifying for guilty individuals considering that a polygraph exam has a high accuracy rate.
In any case, the stress that the examination brings can be used to one’s full advantage.
But it’s of utmost importance to know the right time to use it as a weapon. If the goal is to pass a lie detector test, feel upset or frazzled when being asked irrelevant questions. These questions are commonly asked during the early stage of the exam because they help the examiner establish a baseline.
Knowing the baseline is critical, especially when it’s time for the examiner to evaluate the chart. That’s because it serves as a reference point or data on how the examinee’s body responds when he or she is telling the truth.
Simply put, irrelevant questions are questions that are easy to answer and do not require the examinee to lie — they are designed to elicit no bodily responses.
On the other hand, control questions are questions whose answers must be a lie or difficult or uncomfortable for the examinee to answer. They increase the body’s stress levels, which can be picked up by a polygraph machine with the help of the numerous sensors integrated into it.
Then the examiner compares how your body reacts when answering both sets of questions.
Pulling this trick off can make it seem like you are telling the truth when you are totally lying through your teeth each time you answer relevant questions — or questions that relate specifically to the crime or misdemeanor being investigated — because of the pretty much similar physiologic readings as when answering irrelevant questions.
So, how do you get stressed or anxious at strategic points during your lie detector examination? Keep reading this post until you get to the very end to learn a few fail-safe techniques!
2. Take Your Time When Answering Control and Relevant Questions
Practically all tests are timed — from science quizzes, the SAT and ACT to college admissions and pre-employment exams. And knowing that you must answer all questions correctly before the time runs out can leave you feeling stressed and apprehensive, which can affect your performance.
Well, the same sense of urgency when taking a polygraph test can affect the result.
It’s exactly for this reason why you should refrain from rushing when answering questions, in particular control and relevant ones, while strapped to a lie detector machine.
Depending on the examiner or purpose, a polygraph examination can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to complete. The fewer the questions the examinee needs to answer, the shorter the test. Generally speaking, the individual who is undergoing the test has around 5 minutes to answer each question with either a yes or no.
And there’s no need for you to answer if you cannot understand the question or you are unsure if you heard it right — it’s not against the rules to ask the polygraph examiner to kindly repeat the question.
As a matter of fact, it’s possible to ask him or her to repeat the question several times.
Just make sure that you ask the administrator of the test about this matter during the pre-test phase to find out how many minutes you have to answer a question and how many times you can ask for the question to be repeated.
On the other hand, try to answer irrelevant questions without any delay. Since they are designed to cause no physiologic changes within you, giving a yes or a no hurriedly as if your life depended on it may leave you stressed, thus causing common telltale signs of deception such as increased blood pressure and heart rate.
3. Try to Solve a Difficult Math Problem
Other than blurting an answer immediately when asked an irrelevant question, you can also take your time just like when answering relevant questions. This gives you plenty of time to carry out another technique that can help considerably increase your chances of passing a lie detector exam.
And it’s none other than giving yourself a challenging mathematical problem to solve.
As soon as the polygraph examiner is through asking an irrelevant question, quickly think of a challenging math question you yourself have to answer right away. Divide 260 by 4. Multiply 39 by 5. Add 12,345 and 54,321.
Especially if math is not your strongest suit, this method can really flood your bloodstream with stress hormones, which can cause your heart and lungs to work harder. You can try to increase your stress levels further by asking the examiner to repeat the question, which can distract you and leave you attempting to solve the math problem from scratch.
Based on a report, approximately 20% of the population suffers from math anxiety.
If you are a part of the statistics, you must have despised mathematics when you were still in school. But you will be more than happy to have it if you are undergoing a polygraph exam and want to pass it, too.
The goal is to make sure that your physiologic readings are practically the same whether you are being truthful or being deceitful to save yourself from failing the test. The more you are terrified of numbers, the higher your chances of bringing all the accusations and insinuations to an end.
4. Bite Your Tongue or the Inside of Your Mouth
It’s not just mental anguish that you can do by solving tricky math problems while being asked irrelevant questions. You may also give yourself some physical agony by biting your tongue or any other soft tissue in your mouth.
Doing this can drive up your blood pressure and heart rate, which is something that you want to achieve when the examiner is establishing a baseline. No matter how stressful or nerve-racking the following relevant questions are, the readings will not be that different from what the examiner assumes as the normal figures.
Biting something that’s inside your mouth is one of the most popular tricks on how to beat a polygraph.
It’s as popular as placing a tack in your shoe and pressing your toe against it at strategic times throughout the lie detector exam. Well, at least it used to be common — some examiners ask examinees to remove their shoes before the test commences to keep them from relying on the tack-in-the-shoe method.
While pain can help you pass a polygraph test, a cut may cause the test to be discontinued — it’s not unlikely for the examiner to put the session to an end if he or she notices some blood in your mouth.
In order to pull off this tactic, avoid biting too much and do it as discreetly as you possibly can.
5. Squeeze Your Anal Sphincter Muscles
When answering irrelevant questions, the kinds that do not require you to lie or your body to have a certain response, it’s a good idea to raise your vitals to make it harder for the polygraph examiner to find the differences between the readings when you’re stating the truth and readings when you’re telling lies.
A simple way to increase your blood pressure when asked a control question is by tensing your muscles.
However, squeezing your biceps, thighs, pectorals and other large or major muscle groups to deceive the polygraph machine is a complete no-no because an experienced examiner will surely call you out for it.
Other than the lie detector instrument that constantly monitors and records your physiologic readings, the examiner also focuses on you throughout the examination. He or she is on the lookout for eye movements, postures, gestures and various non-verbal communication cues that can help reveal signs of deception.
Tightening a muscle is what’s referred to as a countermeasure in the world of polygraphy.
Simply put, a countermeasure is anything that an examinee does in an attempt to influence or defeat a polygraph test.
It’s a matter so serious that a former polygraph operator with the Oklahoma City Police Department was sentenced to 2 years in prison for selling his manual on defeating a lie detector test online and offering in-person training, too.
But there’s hope as there are muscles in your body that you can squeeze without alerting the person conducting the polygraph. And they’re none other than your anal sphincter muscles!
Tightening them as tight as you can for a while before answering an irrelevant question can cause your blood pressure to spike and your heart rate to accelerate, too. With no significant difference in your physiologic processes when being truthful and deceitful, you can enjoy increased chances of passing that lie detector exam.
6. Take Slow, Deep Breaths
One of the many physiologic processes that a lie detector machine monitors is the examinee’s respiratory activity — the pair of pneumographs attached to the chest records both respiratory rate and quality.
When a person is under stress, such as when being deceitful during a polygraph examination, his or her breathing pattern changes. The individual takes small, shallow breaths, using the shoulders instead of the diaphragm, which is the major muscle of respiration, in order to move air in and out of the lungs.
These changes are recorded by the polygraph machine and serve as tell-tale signs of deception.
It’s exactly because of this why you should maintain taking slow, deep breaths while subjected to a lie detector test. This is especially true when all those uncomfortable-to-answer control questions and relevant questions, or questions that have something to do with the crime or misdemeanor that has led to you spending some time with a polygraph examiner.
A simple way to regulate your breathing and calm the entire nervous system in the process is by doing what’s referred to as box breathing, which is also sometimes called the Navy SEAL breathing technique.
One of the nicest things about box breathing is that you only need to remember one thing: the number 4.
Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold in your breath for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds — that’s how easy it is to perform box breathing! Do this when some of the most challenging questions to answer come your way to keep calm and save your blood pressure and heart rate from skyrocketing.
7. Apply Antiperspirant on the Fingertips
Before the polygrapher examiner starts asking questions related to the test, he or she will attach an assortment of sensors to your body. Two of them will go to your fingertips — they are referred to as galvanometers, which are designed to measure sweating by determining the electrical conductivity of your skin.
So, in other words, they are there to wait for your fingertips to be dripping wet with sweat.
The good news is that there’s an easy way to pass a polygraph test by rendering those galvanometers pretty much useless: rubbing a thin layer of antiperspirants on your fingertips before you head to the testing center.
Antiperspirants usually contain aluminum-based ingredients that temporarily block the sweat pores, thus keeping sweating at bay. What’s so nice about antiperspirants is that they help you feel fresh and dry for 24 to 48 hours, which means that you can count on them while strapped to a lie detector machine.
Before you start applying away, make sure that the product says it’s an antiperspirant — some are only deodorants formulated to keep bad odor at bay and not sweating. There are, however, antiperspirants that also serve as deodorants. If you want to beat a polygraph test using this method, check the label carefully beforehand.
Don’t panic if, for some reason, you are asked by the examiner to wash your hands.
While washing will reduce the effectiveness of an antiperspirant, it will not completely keep them from working. Apply the product several minutes before you visit the testing center to give it plenty of time to dry and do its magic.
8. Research About a Lie Detector Test
Even the most honest and innocent people can fail a polygraph test — it’s an error referred to as a false positive, which means that a truthful examinee is deemed by the examiner as being deceptive.
Being stressed and anxious over taking the examination is one of the primary reasons for it. With increased blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and sweating, it’s not unlikely for you to look like you’re hiding something. Whether the test is for investigative or pre-employment purposes, being a nervous wreck can work to your disadvantage.
And that is why being familiar with a polygraph test and the machine used beforehand is a wonderful idea.
It’s true that the polygraph examiner will talk about the exam itself as well as the instrument to which you will be attached before the actual question and answer portion comes.
Still, you should consider doing your assignment before the test date so that you can get rid of as many questions, doubts and apprehensions about the examination as you can. If you know how the lie detector exam will go about and how the machine employed works, you can get rid of unnecessary stress and anxiety that may cause you to fail it.
But don’t let the examiner know that you know a lot about the matter. During the pre-test phase of the polygraph exam, listen intently and establish rapport with the individual to help you relax further.
Just Before You Attempt to Pass That Polygraph Test
A polygraph test is not 100% accurate. This means that there’s some wiggle room for manipulation. If truth be told, there are many different things you may try to increase your chances of passing a lie detector exam. However, polygraph experts are familiar with many of them, which is why they can easily catch attempts by examinees to influence the result.
The various strategies discussed above are some of those that polygraph examiners are less likely to notice. They are also some of the most effective that are likely to bring the result you want.