Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Polygraph?

A polygraph is a device that makes a permanent recording of various physiological changes taking place within the body of the test subject as a result of certain psychological stimuli.

How does a Polygraph work?

A polygraph instrument records physiological reactions to questions presented during the chart-collection phase of the examination.

How accurate is a Polygraph?

The majority of available information indicates that the accuracy of a polygraph administered by a properly trained examiner and utilizing established testing procedures is between 87 and 95 percent for specific-issue investigations.

Are Polygraph Exams admissible in court?

Polygraph results are admissible in some federal circuits and some states. The results are most often admissible when the parties involved have agreed to their admissibility under terms of a stipulation before the examination is given. A stipulation is a legal document prepared and agreed to by the attorneys representing the defense and the prosecution.

How long does a polygraph exam take?

Examinations require a minimum of ninety minutes, but often take longer. A typical polygraph examination will include a pretest interview phase, a chart collection phase, and a test data analysis phase.

Will I know what questions are on the test?

Yes. All questions must be reviewed with the examinee prior to the actual polygraph examination. All questions must be limited to “yes” or “no” answers and there are not any surprise or trick questions.

Should I stop taking my medicine before the test?


Examinee suitability

Most people are appropriate subjects for a polygraph exam. However, there are some exceptions. The Utah Polygraph Association endorses the American Polygraph Association's policy for examinee suitability. Should you have questions as to whether someone is an appropriate candidate for a polygraph, view the APA Suitability policy.

What is EPPA?

The Employee Polygraph Protection Act. This is a federal law enacted in 1988 that established guidelines for polygraph testing and imposed restriction on most private employers. EPPA prohibits most private employers from using polygraph testing to screen applicants for employment. It does not affect public employers such as police agencies or other governmental institutions.