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Polygraph Manual Revisions: Preventing False Positives

To prevent false positives in a lie detector test
Conduct a thorough pre-test interview. The American Polygraph Association states that improper pre-test interviewing is one of the main causes of false readings.
Make sure that the examinee is aware of his or her rights, including the right to refuse to take a polygraph test, and the fact that the test is not admissible in a court of law (except in New Mexico).
Make sure the examinee is aware of how the test works and how the exam will proceed once the polygraph is turned on.
Assess the examinee’s emotional state: is he or she nervous or calm?
Ask and check to see if the examinee has a medical condition (heart or breathing problems, for example) that could physiologically affect results.
Do not forget during the pre-test interview to lead the examinee through a detailed review of the questions that will be asked of him or her.
Remember that the administrator must not show bias at any time towards the answers or subject.
Five examples of non-arousing questions not relevant to the behavior being investigated
Who was thefirst president of the United States?
What is your mother;s maiden name?
What year did you graduate from college?
Five examples of potentially arousing questions relevant to the behavior being investigated
Did you ever steal anything as a child?
Have you ever told a lie, even a white lie?
Have you ever lied on a job application?
Have you ever cheated while playing a game?
Five relevant examples of questions especially arousing for the person who actually committed the crime.
Did you ever think that x (victim) deserved to die?
Did you visit x (victim) on the night of the murder?
Did you kill x (victim) on (date of the murder)?
Did you speak with x on the night s/he was killed?
Suggest guidelines that the department should follow to prevent fal

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