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POLYGRAPH LIE-DETECTIONBy:KERT D. PILLORA, MSCJ-Crim.Master of Science in Criminal Justice w/ Specialization in CriminologyPolygraph Lie-Detection SpecialistLicensed Criminologist Lic. # 0035846Security and Guarding Services NC II HolderCriminology InstructorCriminology Licensure Examination LecturerWebsite : Mobile#: 09177923084 Email @ :

definition of terms
Definition of Terms
  • POLYGRAPH– is an instrument for the recording of changes in blood pressure; pulse rate, respiration and skin resistance as indication of emotional disturbances especially of lying when questioned.
  • The word was derived from the word POLY means “many” and GRAPHS means “writing chart”.


POLYGRAPHY – it is the scientific method of detecting deception, using a polygraph machine.

  • FEAR– is emotional response to specific danger that appears to beyond a persons defensive power.
  • STIMULUS – is a force or motion reaching the organism and excites the receptors.


REACTION – it is an action in mental attitude evokes by external influence.

  • DECEPTION– is an act of deceiving or misleading usually accompanied by lying.
  • DETECTION – It is an act of discovery of existence, presence of fact or something hidden or obscure.
  • LYING– the uttering or conveying of falsehood or creating a false or misleading information with the intention of affecting wrongfully the acts and opinion of other.


RESPONSE– is any activity or inhibition of the previous activity of an organism resulting from stimulation.

  • SPECIFIC RESPONSE– is any deviation from the normal tracing of the subject.
  • NORMAL TRACING– is a tracing on the chart wherein the subject answered in the irrelevant question.
  • POLYGRAPH EXAMINER– is one who conducts and administer the test.


CHART OR POLYGRAMS– refers to the composite records of pneumograph, Galvanograph and cardiosphygmograph tracings recorded from series of questions.

  • Subject– refers to the person being examined.

early methods of detecting deception
Early Methods of detecting deception
  • Trial by Combat
  • Trial by Ordeal
  • Trial by Iron Hot Ordeal
  • Ordeal by Balance
  • Ordeal of Rice Chewing
  • Donkey’s Tail Ordeal

what is polygraph
What is Polygraph?

The polygraph is used to test or question individuals for the purpose of detecting deception or verifying truth of statements through a visual, permanent and simultaneous recording of a person’s cardiovascular and respiratory pattern as a minimum instrumentation requirement.


A polygraph(commonly referred to as a liedetector) is an instrument that measures and records several physiological responses such as:

blood pressure, pulse, respirationand skin

Conductivity while the subject is asked and answers

a series of questions, on the basis that false answers

will produced instinctive measurements. The

polygraph measures physiological changes caused by

the sympathetic nervous system during questioning.


Within the U.S. federal government, a polygraph examination is also referred to as a PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGICAL DETECTION OF DECEPTION (PDD) examination. Several other technologies are also used in the field of lie detection, but the polygraph is the most famous.

history of polygraph
History of Polygraph

The idea that lying produces physical side-effects has long been claimed. In West Africa persons suspected of a crime were made to pass a bird's egg to one another. If a person broke the egg, then he or she was considered guilty, based on the idea that their nervousness was to blame. In ancient China the suspect held a handful of rice in his or her mouth during a prosecutor's speech. Since salivation was believed to cease at times of emotional anxiety, the person was considered guilty if by the end of that speech the rice was dry.


Cesare Lombroso, an Italian scientist, employed the first scientific instrument to detect deception – HYDROSPHYMOGRAPH, measured changes in pulse and blood pressure when suspects were questioned about their involvement of a specific offense.


VITTORIO BENUSSI successfully detected deception with a PNEUMOGRAPH – an instrument that graphically measures an examinee’s inhalation and exhalation. Benussi thus demonstrated that changes in breathing patterns accompany deception.


Further research by WILLIAM MARSTON in 1917 dealt with the SPHYGMOMANOMETER, which was used to obtain periodic discontinuous blood pressure readings during the course of an examination.


A device recording both blood-pressure and galvanic skin response was invented in 1920 by Dr. John A. Larson of the University of California and first applied in law enforcement work by the Berkeley Police Department under its nationally renowned police chief August Vollmer


Further work on this device was done by Leonarde Keeler.[2] The first time the term "polygraph" was used was in 1906 by James MacKenzie in his invention the "ink polygraph," which was used for medical reasons.

the four major components
The Four Major Components


Today, polygraph examiners use two types of instrumentation:

  • analog
  • computerized

In the United States, most examiners now use computerized instrumentation.


An analog polygraph instrumentMost analog polygraphs are being replaced by digital devices.

methods of deception detection
Methods of Deception Detection
  • Devices which record the psycho-physiological response.
  • Use of drugs that try to inhibit the inhibitor
  • Hypnotism
  • By observation
  • Scientific Interrogation
  • Confession

use of drugs that inhibit the inhibitor
Use of Drugs that “Inhibit the Inhibitor”
  • Administration of the TRUTH SERUM
  • Narcoanalysis/Narcosysthesis
  • Intoxication with Alcohol


He forgets his alibi which he may have built up to cover his guilt. He may give details of his acts or may even implicate others.

  • The drug acts as depressant in the nervous system. Clinical evidence indicates the various segments of the brain particularly the cortex.
  • Statements taken from the subjects while under the influence of truth serum are evolutionary obtained hence they are not admissible as evidence.

  • It is the alteration of consciousness and concentration in which the subject manifests a heightened of suggestibility while awareness is maintained.
  • Not all persons are susceptible to hypnotic induction. Subjects who are compulsive-depressive type, strong-willed like lawyers, accountants, physicians and other professionals are usually non-hypnotizable.

reasons why it is not admissible in court
REASONS: (why it is not admissible in court)
  • It lacks the general scientific acceptance of the reliability of hypnosis per se in ascertaining the truth from falsity.
  • The fear that the Trier of fact will give uncritical and absolute reliability to a scientific device without consideration of its flaw in ascertaining veracity.


The possibility that the hypnotized subject will deliberately fabricate.

  • The prospect that the state of heightened suggestibility in which the hypnotized subject is suspected will produce distortion of the fact rather than the truth.
  • The state of the mind, skill and professionalism of the examiner are too subjective to permit admissibility of the expert testimony.


SWEATING- sweating accompanied with a flushed face indicate anger, embarrassment or extreme nervousness. Sweating with a palled face may indicate shock of fear. Sweating hands indicate tension.

COLOR CHANGE – if the face is flushed, it may indicate anger, embarrassment or shame. A pale face is a more common sign of guilt.

DRYNESS OF THE MOUTH – nervous tension causes reflex inhibition of salivary secretion and consequently dryness of the mouth. This causes continuous swallowing and licking of the lips.


Excessive activity of the Adam’s apple - on account of the dryness of the throat aside from the mouth, the subject will swallow saliva from the mouth and this causes the frequent upward and downward movement of the Adam’s apple.

  • Fidgeting – subject is constantly moving about in the chair, pulling his ears, rubbing his face, picking and tweaking the nose, crossing or uncrossing the legs, rubbing the hair, eyes, eyebrows, biting or snapping of fingernails. These are indicators of nervous tension.


Peculiar Feeling Inside – there is a sensation of lightness of the head and the subject is confused. This is the result of his troubled conscience.

  • Swearing to the truthfulness of his assertion – usually a guilty subject frequently utters such expression. “I swear to God I am telling the truth” or “ I hope my mother drops dead if I am lying”, “I swear to Go”…etc. Such expressions are make to make forceful and convincing his assertion of innocence.


Spotless past record - “Religious man” – the subject may assert that it is not possible for him to do “anything like that” inasmuch as he is a religious man and that he has a spotless record.

  • Inability to look at the investigator “straight in the eye” – the subject does not like to look at the investigator for fear that his guilt may seen in his eyes. He will rather look at the floor or ceiling.


“Not that I remember” expression – the subject will resort to the use of “Not that I Remember” expression when answering to be evasive or to avoid committing something prejudicial to him.

bald faced lie
Bald-Faced lie
  • A bald-faced ( or barefaced) lie is a lie that is told when it is obvious to all concerned that is it a lie.
  • Example: a child who has chocolate all over his face and denies that he has eaten the last piece of chocolate cake, is a bald-face liar.

lying by omission
Lying by Omission
  • One lies by omission by omitting an important fact, deliberately leaving another person with a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions.

lie to children
  • A lie-to-children is a lie, often a platitude that may use euphemism, that is told to make an adult subject acceptable to children. A common example is “ The stork brought you”.

white lie
White Lie
  • A white lie would cause no discord if it were uncovered and offers some benefit to the liar, the hearer, or both.
  • White lies are often used to avoid offense, such as telling someone that you think that their new outfit looks good when you actually think that it is a horrible excuse for an outfit.
  • The lie is told to avoid the harmful implications and realistic implications of the truth.

noble lie
  • A noble lie is one that would normally cause discord it if were uncovered, but that offers some benefit to the liar and perhaps assist in an orderly society and thus potentially gives some benefit to others also.
  • It is often told to maintain law, order and safety.
  • A noble lie usually has the effect of helping an elite maintain power.

emergency lie
  • An emergency lie is a strategic lie told when the truth may not be told because, for example, harm to a third party would come of it.
  • Example: a neighbor might lie to an engaged husband about the whereabouts of his unfaithful wife, because said husband might reasonably be expected to inflict physical injury to his husband.

  • It is the act of lying or making verifiably false statements on an material matter under oath or affirmation in a court of law or in any of various sworn statements in writing.
  • Perjury is a crime because the witness has sworn to tell the truth and, for the credibility of the court, witness testimony must be relied on an being truthful.


Pretending to have capability or intention one doesn’t. Bluffing is an act of deception that is not usually seen as immoral because it takes place in the context of a game where this kind of deception is consented to in advance by the players.


A misleading statement is one where there isn’t an outright lie, but still has the purpose of making someone believe in an untruth.

  • A polite term for lying, though some might consider it to refer to being merely misleading.
  • It is merely considered to be a euphemism for lying.

  • An exaggeration occurs when the most fundamental aspect of a statement is true, but the degree to which it is true is not correct.

jocose lie
  • Are lies that are meant in jest and are usually understood as such by all present parties.
  • Sarcasm can be an example.
  • Storytelling traditions that are present in some places, where the humor comes form the storyteller’s insistence that he or she is telling that absolute truth despite all evidence to the contrary.

promotion lies
  • Advertisements often contain statements that are not credible, such as “we are always happy to give a refund.”

belief systems
  • It is alleged that some belief systems may find lying to be justified.
  • Example: Religious lies

augustine s taxonomy of lies
Augustine’s Taxonomy of Lies
  • Lies in religious teaching.
  • Lies that harm others and help no one.
  • Lies that harm others and help someone.
  • Lies told for the pleasure of lying
  • Lies told “please others in smooth discourse”.
  • Lies that harm no one and that help someone.
  • Lies that harm no one and that save someone’s life.
  • Lies that harm no one and that save someone’s purity.

lying in the bible
Lying in the Bible
  • The Hebrew midwives lied to the king of Egypt rather than carry out his order to kill all male Hebrew babies; the midwives did this because they “feared God” . (Exodus 1:15-20)
  • Rahab lied to the king of Jericho about hiding the Hebrew spies (Joshua 2:4-5) and was not killed with those were disobedient because of her faith (Hebrews 11:13)


Delilah repeatedly accused Samson of lying to her as she interrogated him about the source of his strength.

  • Abaraham instructs his wife, Sara, to lie to the Egyptians and say that she is his sister (Gen 12:10), which leads to the Lord punishing the Egyptians (Gen 12:17-19).

the polygraph instrument
The Polygraph Instrument


The polygraph instrument usually measures four to six physiological reactions recorded by three different medical instruments that are combined in one machine. Older polygraph machines were equipped with long strips of paper that moved slowly beneath pens that recorded the various physiological responses. Newer equipment uses transducers to convert the information to digital signals that can be stored on computers and analyzed using sophisticated mathematical algorithms.

cardio sphygmograph
  • Blood pressure and heart rate are measured by the cardio-sphygmograph component of the polygraph, which consists of a blood pressure cuff that is wrapped around the subject's arm.
  • During the questioning the cuff remains inflated.


The movement of blood through the subject's veins generates a sound that is transmitted through the air in the cuff to a bellows that amplifies the sound. The magnitude of the sound relates to the blood pressure and the frequency of the changes in the sound relates to the heart rate.

pneumograph component
  • The pneumograph component of the polygraph records the subject's respiratory rate. One tube is placed around the subject's chest and a second is placed around his or her abdomen. These tubes are filled with air. When the subject breaths, changes in the air pressure in the tubes are recorded on the polygraph.

  • The galvanograph section records the amount of perspiration produced.
  • It consists of electrical sensors called galvanometers that are attached to the subject's fingertips. The skin of the fingertips contains a high density of sweat glands, making them a good location to measure perspiration.


As the amount of sweat touching the galvanometers increases, the resistance of the electrical current measured decreases and these changes are recorded by the polygraph.

Most forensic psychophysiologists (FPs) consider the cardiosphygomgraph and the pneumograph components more informative than the galvanograph.

  • Kymograph component is a motor that pulls or drives the chart paper under the recording pen simultaneously at the rate of 6 or 12 inches per minute.

the examination room
The Examination Room
  • It must be private and free from all outside noise and detracting influences.
  • Adequately lighted and well ventilated
  • Devoid of pictures, paintings, decors or other ornaments.
  • Preferably sound-proof
  • Without any furniture other than a polygraph desk.
  • Subjects chair with arm rest and an examiner’s stool.
  • With one-way mirror and remote sound system for monitoring the test proceedings to an authorized audience.

the polygraph examiner
The Polygraph Examiner
  • TECHNICALLY, he must have a complete knowledge of the instrument and its capabilities and limitations.
  • MORALLY – maintain a high personal integrity and increasing personal proficiency through constant study and research.


He constantly bears in mind his primary obligation to his subjects is to afford them all possible safeguards against error and must not accept any subjects whose physical or mental health or state makes him unfit.

  • He is an impartial seeker of truth.
  • Never allow his personal feelings, sympathies, or prejudice influence the results of the examination.


Types of Questions in a Polygraph Test

1. Control Question - preliminary information

question2. Irrelevant Question - 3. Relevant Question    - In a polygraph test, the types of questions       alternates, the test is passed if the physiological      responses during the probable lie control questions       are larger than those during the relevant       question.

3 phases of a polygraph examination
3 Phases Of A Polygraph Examination

1. Pre-Test Phase - the examiner discusses with the    subject the test issue, review the test questions    that will be ask during the test and assess the     subjects emotional and physiological suitability to    undergo the polygraph test.2. Testing Phase - subjects physiological responses    are recorded as the subject answers a set of     questions reviewed earlier.3. Post Test Phase - examiner reviews test data     obtained and interprets the polygraph chart.


* A polygraph test normally lasts between one and a   half hours to two and a half hours.* Polygraph test result in the philippines is not    admissible in evidence as proof of the guilt of an   accused.* Polygraph test is voluntary.* The accuracy of polygraph test is about 90%    provided the examiner is competent and the    polygraph machine is in good working condition.* Polygraph is an investigative tool.* The principle behind a lie detection test is that when   the subject hears a questions which he or she    intends to lie, the brain interprets and triggers    automatic and uncontrollable physiological changes   captured by the polygraph.


Who Uses The Polygraph1. Law Enforcement Agencies2. Legal Community3. Private SectorKinds of Errors in a Polygraph Test1. False Positive - occurs when a truthful examinee    is reported as being deceptive.2. False Negative - when a deceptive examinee is    reported as truthful.Causes of Polygraph Errors1. Failure of examiner to properly prepare the     examinee for the examination.2. Misreading of the physiological data on the     polygraph charts.3. Defective polygraph machine.

signs of lies and deceptions
Signs of Lies and Deceptions
  • Stammering;
  • Swearing to or before God that he did not commit the crime;
  • Pointing his guilt to somebody else;
  • Subject refuses to answer questions thru alibis and excuses;
  • He is all the time absent-minded;
  • He is always requesting for repetition of questions;
  • He often asks counter-questions and counter-queries;
  • He often asks permissions to go to comfort-rooms, etc.



  • is instructed to sit down properly;
  • listens carefully to all the questions asked;
  • answers all the questions truthfully;
  • must answer all the questions definitely with either “YES” or “NO”


What are recorded?



Bodily Responses

pulse rate

skin resistance


Characteristics of Subjects' Specific Age

7-12 yrs old

Fantastic subject

Age of limitation and Idolatry

13-19 yrs old

Idealistic and be


20-25 yrs old

Materialism. Maturity &


26-60 yrs old

Memories are fading;

Irritability and Senility



aspects of emotion


Aspects of Emotion

1. Emotion as CONSCIOUS


2. Emotion as MOTIVES

3. Emotion as RESPONSES

Happy; Elation; Delight; Affection; Joy; Laughter;

Annoyance; Worry; Jealousy; Frustration; Shame;

Aspects of Emotion

1. Emotion as CONSCIOUS



Aspects of Emotion

2. Emotion as MOTIVES

  • Emotional Motive as Facilitating Behavior
  • Emotional Motive as Interfering Behavior

External Responses

Internal Responses

Aspects of Emotion

3. Emotion as RESPONSES


Central Nervous System (CNS)


  • Thinks –is responsible for your memory, intelligence, your thoughts
  • Controls your autonomic functions – heart rate, breathing, homeostasis
  • Controls your immune system – protects you from viruses


Central Nervous System (CNS)


  • Receives information – within a fraction of a second, too minuscule to measure
  • Acts on the external universe – allows you to cry, walk, play a musical instrument
  • Utilizes language – one of your most advanced functions
  • Possesses emotions – creates your affective universe


Central Nervous System (CNS)


Left Hemisphere

Verbal competence

Speaking, reading, thinking & reasoning

Processes info in sequence

One piece of data at a time


Central Nervous System (CNS)


  • Right Hemisphere
  • Nonverbal areas
  • Comprehension, spatial relationships, drawing, music, emotion
  • Processes info. As a whole
  • intuitive

Left Hemisphere

Important for the expression of positive emotion

Damage to the L.H. leads to loss of the capacity of joy.

Activation in the L.H. leads to tendencies to approach other people.

Central Nervous System (CNS)


  • Right Hemisphere
  • Important for the expression of negative emotion
  • Damage to the R.H. may make people euphoric.
  • Activation in the R.H. leads to tendencies to withdraw from people.


Circulatory System

Responsible for the

distribution of the blood


Circulatory System


Circulatory System


Respiratory System

Responsible for the taking of air

into the lungs and

also expelling carbon dioxide


Respiratory System


Excretory System

External covering of the body consisting essentially of

Epidermis, Dermis, and the Hypodermis


Excretory System


Historical Development

  • 1895- first attempt to use a scientific instrument
  • stressing its importance to Lie-Detection
  • CESARE LOMBROSO - an Italian Criminologist and
  • Physicist, who published experiments regarding the presence and absence of blood pressure
  • and pulse rate changes on suspects whose
  • guilt or innocence he sought to be determined.






Published his researches on respiration

changes as indicators of lying and deception


William Moulton Marston

In 1915, he made researches

on sphygmomanometer's usefulness in

detecting lies and deceptions


Harold E. Burtt

Improvised and conformingly utilized the techniques Of Benussi


John A. Larson

In 1921, he assembled an instrument capable of recording

simultaneous physiological changes of blood-pressure,

pulse-rates, and respiration


Leonard Keeler


Devised an additional instrument , which consisted of


for recording what is known as theGSR, toLarson.


John E. Reid


Contributed a new device for recording unobserved


activities of the arms, thighs and feet.


Sir James


Devised the Ink Polygraph

thank you

Thank You!!!



(Criminology File Academy)



NBI Region 7