Frequently Asked Questions


Does polygraph work?

Polygraph is the gold standard in screening for and diagnosing credibility issues. It is an applied science that can be relied on as much as any physiological measuring procedure (e.g. MRI, x-ray, etc.). We ensure that accurate assessments are made by competent polygraph examiners who maintain accountability for all scientific testing protocols.

What does polygraph measure?

Polygraph measures the body’s autonomic nervous system response to stimulus questions. Measurements are valid when obtained in compliance with scientific research and standards of practice.

How can you tell if someone is truthful or not?

Data is interpreted digitally according to standardized, validated scoring systems to provide a statistical statement of credibility. Telling a lie requires increased cognitive load which is reflected physiologically. Computerized analysis ensures accurate credibility assessment.

How many questions can I ask?

Write down as many questions, concerns, and issues as you would like to address. Let us know which issues are most important to you and provide us with background information before the exam. The examinee will be interviewed regarding your concerns and the examiner will develop test questions in accordance with best practice.

We are experts in test question construction. Don’t worry about getting the questions perfect yourself; focus instead on communicating your concerns to us. DO Polygraph, Inc. is known for ensuring that the most important questions are asked in a meaningful way.

Can’t you just hook him/her up to the machine and ask all my questions?

When too many questions are asked, any so-called test is only as accurate as a coin flip. Make sure you have a qualified examiner who is trained to use the polygraph instrument. The science of polygraph is much more complex than what you see on TV.

To maintain accuracy levels, we provide validated screening tests that typically address 2-4 issues and recommend single-issue tests when possible. Let us know all the issues you would like reviewed and we will give you the most accurate scientific test available.

How accurate are your tests?

A polygraph examiner is only as accurate as the technique used. DO Polygraph, Inc. uses validated techniques that exceed the average “aggregated decision accuracy” for multi-issue screening tests (85%) and single-issue diagnostic techniques (89%) as summarized in the APA’s “Meta-Analytic Survey of Criterion Accuracy of Validated Polygraph Techniques” (see page 8).

Our reports identify the technique used and the corresponding accuracy level provided by research. We are accountable to the major associations to meet all criteria necessary to ensure accuracy. Anyone claiming excessive accuracy levels is selling you an imaginary product; buyer beware.

Will I fail if I am too nervous?

Nervousness will not make you fail a polygraph if it is performed by a skilled professional. Feeling nervous is completely normal. DO Polygraph, Inc. specializes in assisting nervous clients to affirm the truth. There is a clear difference between a truthful, nervous client and a dishonest client.

Honest, nervous clients can practice self-care around their nervousness by doing the following:

  • Write down what is true.
  • Ask yourself: Is this true?
  • If it is true, sit with it. Can you accept that this is the truth?
  • If you are having difficulty accepting what you know to be the truth, talk to a support person.
  • Go for a walk or do some exercise.
  • Be still; do some mindfulness meditation.
  • Nourish your body: Sleep, drink water, eat good food.
  • If you feel nervous at your appointment, discuss this with your examiner.

You will probably still feel nervous at the time of the exam. This is completely normal. Guilt is clearly distinguished from nervousness. Regardless of the examination results, every examinee is treated respectfully and given an opportunity to explain their reactions. 

Will you price match this guy I found on the internet?

DO Polygraph, Inc. stands by our product and our pricing. Our credentials are legitimate, our product has integrity, and our clients believe the truth is priceless. Polygraph may seem expensive, but when you need to establish trust, it is worth it to do it the right way the first time. DO Polygraph, Inc. will give you a fair market value for a thorough, scientifically valid examination. 

Why aren’t polygraph results admitted in court?

Polygraph examinations are utilized in many parts of the California legal system and admissible in court in many other states. Individual jurisdictions determine their admissibility since the Supreme Court has not made any ruling. For more details on admissibility see the APA’s site.

Polygraph is one the most accurate ways to make a credibility assessment. Research shows that, when performed by a competent examiner, a scientific polygraph examination is more accurate than other popularly accepted forms of evidence (e.g. fingerprint, victim/witness ID, psychiatric opinions, etc.).

How do I choose a polygraph examiner?

When choosing a polygraph examiner there are several things you need to consider:

  • Did the examiner graduate from an APA-accredited polygraph academy?
  • Is the polygraph examiner a professional, or is this just a side job?
  • Does the examiner use the latest polygraph technology?
  • Does the examiner have polygraph-specific insurance?
  • Does the examiner participate in quality-control procedures?
  • Is the examiner an active member of APA, NPA, and CAPE?
  • Does the examiner participate in polygraph-specific continued education?

Why do I need an examiner with continued education and association participation?

California is not a state that requires licensing. There are many false polygraph practitioners that prey on the uninformed public. There are even networks of untrained, unaccountable false examiners posing as an “association”, although they provide no accountability whatsoever.

Without accountability for how the test is conducted, you cannot be sure that your examiner is  performing a legitimate polygraph test. The major associations (APA, NPA, and CAPE) require compliance with best practices based on research and provide quality assurance for the examiner’s behavior. Without current participation in these associations, your examiner is not accountable to anyone.

See the links below to find out if your examiner is an active member in good standing with the major associations:

Can the polygraph be beat?

In theory, the polygraph can be beat through physiological manipulation. In practice, it is near impossible. There is no research to show that any person can manipulate the polygraph successfully. Some desperate people try to cheat the test but actually cause themselves to fail.

If someone is attempting to beat a polygraph it is clear to a skilled examiner. DO Polygraph, Inc. uses the latest technology to distinguish between manipulative behavior and natural responses. We also participate in continued education to stay current in the art of counter-countermeasures.

The internet is full of bad advice. Our advice to anyone worried about failing an exam is to:

  1. Pick a qualified polygraph examiner who performs scientific testing.
  2. Be honest.

What can I expect in my polygraph?

Prior to your exam your examiner will collect all available case information. If you have any additional issues or questions you will have a chance to discuss further at the time of the exam. Your actual examination will be conducted in three phases: pre-test, test, and post-test.

During the pre-test interview your polygraph examiner will explain the polygraph, answer any questions, and get your consent to proceed with the rest of the examination. The exam issues will then be discussed thoroughly and humanely to clarify your perspective. Your examiner will develop polygraph questions based on what is disclosed in this phase so it is imperative that you share the truth at this time. Test questions will then be reviewed before proceeding with the testing phase. 

During the in-test phase your polygraph examiner will ask stimulus questions while the physiological sensors are attached to your body. There will be no surprise questions during this phase – every question will be reviewed prior to starting the test.

The post-test phase of the polygraph examination begins as soon as enough data can be collected and reviewed. Computerized test data analysis is conducted and a credibility assessment is made. Your polygraph examiner will give you a chance to explain any physiological responses at this time. Results will be reported in a timely fashion.

How soon can I get the results?

Results are typically provided at the conclusion of the test. In some cases the results may be released shortly after the exam. When you schedule your exam, let us know what your needs are. All reports are available within 24 hours.

What conditions or circumstances make a person unsuitable for polygraph examinations?

Your examiner professionally interviews clients to ensure that only suitable examinees are tested. If you have any concerns about examinee suitability, please contact us. Many marginally suitable candidates can still be tested. Don’t count someone out before checking with us.

The following characteristics may cause an examinee to be considered unsuitable:

  • Age or functional maturity (i.e. MAE or SAS) is under 12 years old.
  • Currently experiencing psychosis (i.e. disconnected from reality).
  • Severe low mental functioning (typically, IQ less than 55).
  • Requiring continuous observation/assistance for psychiatric or developmental conditions.
  • Severe untreated mental health conditions.
  • Acute serious injury or illness involving acute pain or distress.
  • Observable impairment due to the influence of a controlled substance.

How many tests have you done?

DO Polygraph, Inc.'s lead examiner, David Ower, has completed many more than the 200 exams required to be a CAPE Certified Examiner. This elite status also requires:

  • Active membership in good standing with CAPE.
  • Graduation from APA-certified polygraph school.
  • Completion of polygraph program of supervision by an experienced examiner.
  • Active in the administration of polygraph examinations.
  • Completion of 8 CEU of polygraph-specific instruction in the past two years.
  • Attendance of at least one CAPE seminar in the past two years.
  • Compliance with Standards and Principles of Practice established by CAPE.
  • Background investigation.

There is no other governing body in California whereby your examiner can be certified. If your California examiner is not certified by CAPE, you must wonder if their claimed test count is legitimate. 

Did you graduate from an APA-accredited school?

DO Polygraph, Inc.’s lead examiner graduated from Marston Polygraph Academy, a 400-hour basic training academy accredited by the American Polygraph Association. The APA is the only accrediting body for polygraph worldwide. 

What polygraph associations are you a member of?

You can find our lead examiner, David Ower, currently listed as a member in the following associations:

  • American Polygraph Association (APA)
  • California Association of Polygraph Examiners (CAPE)
  • National Polygraph Association (NPA)

These associations perform essential quality-control to ensure that no examinees are victimized by false-practitioners. They require the following to be considered a Full Member:

  • Active membership in good standing.
  • Graduation from APA-certified polygraph school.
  • Completion of more than 200 validated field polygraph examinations.
  • Completion of polygraph program of supervision by an experienced examiner.
  • Active in the administration of polygraph examinations.
  • Regular completion of polygraph-specific instruction.
  • Participation in training seminars.
  • Compliance with Standards and Principles of Practice.
  • Background investigation.

David Ower also maintains his status as a:

How do I know if my examiner is in a real organization and performing a real polygraph?

There are false examiners, organizations and networks of websites purporting to be polygraph associations. These can be easily identified by:

  • Using the term “certified” with no actual link to any real certifying organization or school.
  • Claiming to be an active member of an association without listing the real association.
  • Association has no public list showing active members (i.e. no accountability).
  • Attacking other associations/examiners with no real explanation.
  • “Member” requirement is only a referral fee.
  • No formal continued education or quality control.
  • Random switching between blue, green, red, and black font.

Real polygraph examiners are accountable to major associations with clearly delineated qualifications and standards for performance of a real polygraph. These can be identified by:

  • Providing the source of certification (school AND association).
  • Providing the name of verifiable major associations.
  • Providing the public list of their actual association membership.
  • Providing positive reasons and evidence for certification and expertise.
  • Meeting stringent membership requirements of real associations.
  • Continued education from approved sources with accountability to associations.
  • No links or ties back to false associations.