Does nervousness affect a lie detector test? Reasons to fail | Catch scammers quickly (2023)

Sometimes your future depends on the results, but polygraph tests can be very stressful. You don't measure lies literally, but your reactions, both physical and verbal. Being connected to someone else's machine and asking them to stay as still as possible while you answer personal questions is awkward at best. We've taken a look at how it works, so sit back and relax while we explain and you'll probably feel less nervous.

Does nervousness affect the lie detector test?Yes and no. The polygraph will certainly pick up on your stress level. Whether or not this affects the interpretation of your responses depends on many factors, including your behavior. The body and the way we answer questions have different signals, and like a skilled poker player, a competent polygraph examiner knows how to use them to uncover the truth. However, lie detectors are not perfect.

What does a polygraph do?

Alie detector, commonly known as a lie detector, is not a magical or brain wave-based measure of a lie. What they do is much more complex and, unfortunately, does not guarantee the distinction between lies and truth. That doesn't mean they never work. They're actually a pretty good way of saying how most people feel about something, just not in the way you might think.

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All the wires and machines that connect to electrodes and blood pressure cuffs aren't there for show. Each measures different aspects of your physical responses. People don't just react emotionally to things. Our bodies are wonderfully integrated biological machines. Every part is connected. When something changes, it's not just our facial expressions that change.

While your child cheats at the game with every gesture, most people get better at cheating as they mature. An actor or someone who lies through no fault of his own does not necessarily reveal his true intentions with his voice. Polygraphs measure all the changes we experience when we react with our emotions.

  • Sangre-Measuring your heart rate and blood pressure is a great way to say what you think about something. A racing pulse has always meant that an emotional reaction is taking place. Also, higher blood pressure can be caused by anger or frustration, among other things.
  • Sweaty palms and fingersElectrodermal activity or sweaty fingers are a sure sign that something is up. Many people show their nerves by sweating. Unfortunately, it's all nerves, from talking to an attractive member of the opposite sex to planning a murder.
  • breathing-Difficulty breathing or holding your breath can be the same as telling yourself. A little breather can make a big difference. We unconsciously change our breathing when we react to things.
  • body movement-Are you fidgety when you're nervous or are you unusually quiet so as not to fidget? In either case, this is a referral from a trained specialist. Reading people's body language is part of the polygraph and polygraph's job.

The combination of the different measures does not mean that you lied or told the truth, but it is a good measure of how the questions made you feel. For example, honest people get upset when they talk about fraudulent activities. Someone who is comfortable being dishonest will keep a cool head when asking a checking question on the subject.

Destructive polygraph results

Since the polygraph is a collection of machines that measure how you answer questions, it shouldn't surprise you that there are countless ways to screw it up. Nervousness will obviously skew your results. You wouldn't be the first person to respond with a nasty nervous breakdown when asked a question. What interferes with lie detector results? some. Let's take a look at some of the more obvious ones.


Being insensitive can change the way the polygraph sees you. Oddly enough, we refer to this in two very different ways. Traditionally, when we call someone insensitive, we just mean that he's a jerk or worse. In short, they display a less than healthy level of empathy for others.

Not worrying about the results or the actions you take can keep your heart rate low and have other repercussions. This doesn't necessarily mean you're reading it "correctly", as some degree of moral outrage is to be expected when someone is falsely accused. Truly thoughtful people respond to the discussion of uncomfortable topics.

The other kind of cruelty is much stranger. The latest version oftemporary artificial heartshe has no pulse to read. They pump blood smoothly throughout the body without the usual pounding we expect. While an artificial heart won't stop you from sweating, you don't have to worry about your blood pressure. However, it seems you have much more pressing concerns with an artificial heart than with a polygraph.

altered consciousness

There are many mind- and body-altering substances that can alter your response. For example, anti-anxiety medications help keep your blood pressure down and can even prevent you from sweating. Most psychoactive substances, such asprescription drugs,can have this effect.

Illegal drugs, alcohol, and even necessary prescriptions like steroids can affect how you behave under pressure. An experienced polygraph examiner can sort through this information and you will be transferred.

Meditation is another way that some people can change their results. If you have the trained ability to quiet your mind, your reactions will change. Fortunately, most of these "tricks" are easy to spot, as they cause unusual reactions even when they shouldn't. It is always best to be honest with your examiner beforehand and reschedule.

Physical illnesses and exercise.

Not everyone watched Oceans Eleven, but those who did will remember a character who used a thumbtack in his shoe to pass a polygraph and get a job. The bad news is that it works and allows people to cheat. However, polygraph examiners have developed methods to detect these scammers. Don't be surprised if they ask you to remove your shoes.

Fans of the Mythbusters series will also remember Grant Imaharahit the lie detectorin front of the camera. We know that it is not the program with the greatest scientific solidity; after all, one or even ten trials is not a large control group. Anyway, it's pretty impressive that he got it right on the first try with no prior experience.

What Causes a "Failure"

It's the results that count. The questions you answer before and after the test also contribute to your score. The basic answers you give will help them decide how honest you are. Questions designed to trick people into answering incorrectly are interspersed. When most people inevitably tell a white lie it gives them an idea of ​​what is normal for you.

Once your evaluator has a basic idea of ​​how you will react when you lie, they can interpret future responses. Anything that registers as a "less" than baseline oscillation in your physical responses is considered a transient response.

final thoughts

Fortunately, now that you know more about how the process of getting a polygraph recording works, you feel less scared. Unfortunately, if you are average or overly emotional and have done something wrong, you can get caught on a lie detector. If you're just worried about someone trying to scam you, the good news is that you should ask the questions in advance.

Most polygraphs are volunteers. You can refuse to take the test if a regular employer asks you to, and they can't blame you. The same does not apply if you are asked to apply for a court trial or a federal security-cleared job.

Whatever the errors on a polygraph, examiners and tests provide a lot of information about how you act and react. If you just need a job, don't worry, but you killed someone, you're probably in trouble.

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