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Personal Experience on Polygraph

 


Each sticks to his argument


In the early November 2003, a client, Zhongxiang Trade Company of Steele called and said that they had a hot potato, required Steele to give a hand and introduced the details of a case.

At the end of October, Zhongxiang Trade Company (Hereinafter called as Zhongxiang) abruptly received a subpoena from the local court, which claimed that Zhongxiang owed RMB1million payment for goods to Lisheng Materials Factory (Hereinafter called as Lisheng), Lisheng brought an accusation against Zhongxiang, and required to pay payment for goods. After checking previous payment records, Zhongxiang didn’t find a record to buy materials from Lisheng, so Zhongxiang suspected that the contract submitted to the court was a counterfeit one, however Zhongxiang couldn’t offer a reliable evidence to prove it.

 

My colleagues and I did a thoroughly analysis on all provided documents, among them, a materials purchase contract (Hereinafter called as The contract) is the only evidence which Lisheng submitted to the court. The contract was signed in April 2003, and the promissory prompt was six months, this was a print contract without handwritings, there has a seal of Zhongxiang in the contract without any authorization signatures by legal representative or principals of Zhongxiang.


Based on our investigative experience, we decide to identify the authenticity of the seal of Zhongxiang Company.
As the investigative agent, we applied to appraise the seal in local authority, the result showed that the seal of Zhongxiang in the contract coincided with the original one, quite similar.


Herein, we think it is necessary to investigate related employees of Zhongxiang Company involved in this case


During April to May 2003, Zhongxiang changed shareholders, the temporal legal representative Mr. Li had left the company, as well as a lot of temporal sales people. Through investigation, we focus on two certain individuals, one is the financial staff, Mr.Zhang, and the other is the legal representative, Mr. Li.


Through connection with two individuals, the result was unexpected because Mr. Zhang said that the contract really existed, Mr. Li incited him to seal in the contract, but Mr. Li absolutely denied and said no nothing about this thing.
Each sticks to his argument, the professional sensitivity brings an idea, it must be a problem, and one of them is lying.
How solve this trouble? After discussion with colleagues, we think polygraph examination is the best effective way for this case.


Polygraph is widely used in civil, criminal, and business cases in abroad because of its high nicety, high efficiency, and strong pertinence. In America, polygraph is an independent industry, and 95% cases are involved in civil and business field. In China, polygraph regularly be used in criminal cases, recently years, because emphasize the principle of who affirmation who quote, some civil cases also adopt polygraph as the way to collect evidence. So, polygraph is tending towards to the people step by step.


Upon that, we suggest Zhongxiang Company to use polygraph examinations for Mr. Zhang and Mr. Li, and the suggestion adopted. We begin to do preparation work for polygraph examination and also have a deep discussion with polygraph examiners.


What’s polygraph?

 

Polygraph also calls as psychological examination, but it is quite different with general psychological examinations, through a special polygraph instrument to record the course of the examinee’s psychological diversification.

 

Polygraph instrument is an accessorial investigation instrument, which is developed based on criminal psychology, medical jurisprudence, and other correlation knowledge. It permeates many subjects, such as psychology, cognitive psychology, nerve psychology, biomedicine, electronics, computer information technic, transducer technic, and etc., which can do intelligent examination and analysis based signals of the external expression of the examinee’s, which include electrodermal, breath, blood pressure, sphygmus, and action, through the test atlas of physiological parameter changes, it can record the course of psychological changes of the examinee, accordingly to achieve the detection of the examinee’s psychological and physiological characters.

 

In brief, polygraph examination by utilizing human’s instinctive reaction and physiological characters polygraph examination utilize. Human has two basic instincts, which are self- progenitive and self-defence. If the examinee wants to hide fact, in the polygraph examination, lying of the examinee is his/her original and basic instinctive expression. He/she is lying, but is afraid of to be exposed, the examinee will be nervous, dread, fluster, all complex and exceptional psychology interlaced together, the examinee will create one kind of psychological pressure or hyperirritable reaction. In the other hand, because of psychological characters of the human body, the fact will keep profound impression in the brain of the examinee, which will include his/her perceptive image, mood, action, and etc. So whatever the examinee tries to disguise the fact, after the event only it mentioned by others, it would create a strong stimulation for the examinee. During the test, when the polygraph examiner asks items related with the event, the examinee must create unconventional or preternatural reactions in his/her psychology and physiology, which include the change of breath, quicken heartbeat, blood pressure hoist, sweatiness, whatever the examinee answers or keeps silent, all those reactions are controlled by vegetal nerve system, which can not be controlled by the human’s consciousness, the polygraph instrument will loyally record the changes of physiological parameters of the examinee’s blood pressure, sphygmus, breath, electrodermal activity, the nicety rate is 98%, it is the important science evidence to identify if the examinee lies.

 

Currently, polygraph examination is be used in public security bureau, judicial department, and customs, and it also be extended to be used in sport industry and medical treatment industry. In civil and business field, polygraph is a mysterious investigative method for most common people, however this investigative method can not be instead by general methods, so it often be used in economic field, especially in the civil case of one party versus one party. By sum up, we think polygraph examination can be used in the following areas in civil and business fields.


1. Disputes in civil and business case, such as contract dissension, especially oral agreements, each party will insist on each sticks to his argument, such as the case of Zhongxiang Company;


2. The suspicious statement of witness in civil cases, it needs to identify its authenticity;


3. Employees’ moral risk investigation, which can divide into four items

 

1) Confusion financial management, to have a test on the occupation moral of financial staff;
2) Company business secrets are disclosed, to have a test on related staff;
3) When a company meets a risk, to have a test on line of duty of high level mangers and project mangers;

When a company recruits employees or selects managers, to have a test on potential employees and manager candidates.

Thus it can be seen, polygraph examination has a big market in civil and business field, however it requires to obey two necessary principles, the first is to accord with a precondition, which is to get a written permission of the examinee, and the second do not trespass on human rights of the examinee by any ways during the test, especially privacy.


In fact, whatever the examinee comes forward to accept the test by persuading or in the real test practice, there has another important element, namely rationality and felicity in the language, which is also a matter required to pay a attention in common investigative methods. It is the absolutely necessarily ability for an investigator or a polygraph examiner to know the asking skills via reasonable designed investigative plans and test questions.

Following above mentioned two principles my colleague and I take pains to persuade Mr. Zhang and Mr. Li (the previous legal representative) of Zhongxiang Company to accept the test. Mr. Li cooperated well, but Mr. Zhang full of worries. Then I communicated with Mr. Zhang for many times, finally he agreed to accept the test. At the same time, we made detailed investigative notes of the conversations of two parties, based on conversation information, we had a discussion with polygraph examiners, and cooperated with polygraph examiners to set down questions syllabus of the test based on different attitude of each party.


All preparation work is done.


On-the-spot Polygraph


The polygraph examination was on November 17, 2003. Mr. Li was the first to accept the test, and Mr. Zhang would accept the test in the afternoon of the same day.


In the morning, November 17, I accompanied with Mr. Li arriving at the Polygraph Lab on time, based on polygraph procedure, two polygraph examiners and I to have a pretest conversation with Mr. Li.


Pretest conversation is a very important sector in the whole polygraph examination, because the object is a human who is alive and has thinking, the polygraph instrument will record the changes of psychological parameter of the examinee, so the examinee’s psychological status will directly affect the test result, it can also affect the veracity the test, for a certain meaning pretest conversation is more important than the test.

 

Pretest conversation includes persuading the examinee to accept the test, discussing the case, to explain specific requirements of the test. When the pretest conversation is finished, it requires the examinee to sign a written agreement.


A fine pretest conversation can create following actions.

The first, to clam down the nervous mood of the examinee to keep calmness. Calmness means when the examinee faces the polygraph instrument, the examinee will have a maladjustment, mistrust mood, his/her mind is under complex confusion condition, through pretest conversation to clam down his/her mood, to lead him/her to focus on test questions, to expand his/her thinking following the test procedure.

The second, through pretest conversation to get the examinee’s trust on polygraph examination and polygraph instrument, meanwhile to reduce the examinee’s terrified felling and unnecessary worries.The third, through the examinee’s memory of the related case and his/her narration, polygraph examiners can get further background information on the case.

 

The fourth, through pretest conversation, polygraph examiners can also observe and realize the examinee’s characters and behaviors to judge true or false of his/her narration.

 

Half of an hour later, Mr. Li signed in the written permission agreement, and confirmed to accept the test self-imposed, then entered into polygraph lab with polygraph examiners.


The polygraph Lab is composed of two contigeous rooms, one is the Lab room, and the other is an observation room, quite environment, fitting temperature, in the formal test, only the examinee and polygraph examiners went into the Lab room, and eyewitness can only stay at the observation room.


The Lab room is a long and narrow with one worktable and one special chair. Polygraph examiners sit behind the worktable, where places the polygraph instrument. The special chair is placed on the side front of the worktable, and the visual angle is 45 degree, the special chair has special features with wide handrail, the examinee can put his/her arm on the handrail, the chair accords with body’s curve, it looks very comfortable. In the wall front of the chair is a camera, which can transmit images and voice signal to the adjoining observation room.

As the eyewitness, I entered into the observation room, and I could observe the whole information in real time via TV, including his expressions, actions.

 

After sitting down, polygraph examiners fixed breath transducer, electrodermal transducer, and sphygmus transducer in Mr. Li’s breast, abdomen, left index finger and middle finger, finesse of right hand, then the polygraph examination is starting.

 

Examiners took a brief introduction about the test and the case, and told Mr. Li took it easy, subsequently examiners changed the topic of conversation, began to ask questions around the contract between Zhongxiang and Lisheng, one examiner asked questions and observed polygraph instrument on-line to record and analyze test signals, another examiner made notes.


The examiners asks questions by a straightaway with mildness mood, only require Mr. Li to answer Yes or No, from face expression and voice, Mr. Li showed a natural reaction with a relaxed mood, and cooperated well, the whole test was favoring.


I found an interesting thing during the test, when the examiner asked a question, the examiner would use different ways to express the same question, and one same questions be asked three times at different time. Based on examiners’ introduction, I got to know this was one kind of examination skill, because the examinee might be very nervous, in order to insure the veracity of the test, the examiner would ask two times again on the same question, the purpose of the second time was to dull the examinee’s psychological pressure, and the third time was to pressurize to create changes in the examinee’s psychology through repeated questions, the examinee would create a strong fluctuant, which would be recorded by the polygraph instrument, contrariwise if the examinee didn’t tell a lie, one question be asked by several times, his/her physiological reaction would not have a big change, according he/she would pass the test favoring.

 

Two hours later, the test on Mr. Li was finished. After carefully reading test notes, Mr. Li signed in it. As the eyewitness, I also signed in the witness notes to testify Mr. Li’s human rights and personality won’t be infringed.

In the afternoon of the same, examiners did a test on Mr. Zhang, during the test, Mr. Zhang had a little bit nervous, and answered questions with obvious gaingiving, the test proceeded three hours.

 

I noticed Mr. Zhang’s reactions and compared with Mr. Li, and I had an answer in my mind.

 

Polygraph examinations completed, examiners will collect and analyze test atlas, records on each physiological index, image and voice information during the test, and conversation records, it will need 4 to 6 hours, some complex cases will take more time, so the test result will come out one or two business days later.


On November 19, we got two test reports on Mr. Li and Mr. Zhang, the result was the same as I guess, Mr. Li was no psychological pressure when he answered questions, especially on answered some sensitive questions on “Did you on behalf of Zhongxiang to sign a purchase contract with Lisheng”, “Did you authorize to seal the seal of Zhongxing on the contract”, Mr. Li didn’t have an unwonted reaction on those questions, so Mr. Li passed the test, the other way round Mr. Zhang answered questions with obvious psychological pressure, and he didn’t pass the examination.The truth emerges general shape just now, so we have to catch hold of the change to conduct a deep investigation on Mr. Zhang.


The whole things come to obvious


We decided to have a further communication with Mr. Zhang on the case, at the same time, we arranged to conduct background checks on Mr. Zhang and some principals of Lisheng and their relationships.


For several times connection, Mr. Zhang didn’t reply, obviously he ran away from us intentionally, therewith we got an important information on background checks, Mr. Zhang and the current deputy factory director of Lisheng are fellow townsmen, it was said that they kept close relations. So it is imperative to meet with Mr. Zhang, with assistance of Zhongxiang, we got a chance to meet with Mr. Zhang.

 

The meeting was arranged in the office of Steele, I met him solely. Based on prepared conversation syllabus, I asked several poignant questions which had ever been asked in the polygraph examination, at first he refused to reply, then he gave an irrelevant answer, so I made a prompt decision and told him: ”you didn’t pass the test, in the test your reaction on some key questions showed unwonted reactions, which stated that your stated information were not accord with the fact”. I also reminded him if he still disguise the truth, it might create a serious result and also would be charged with legal responsibility.

 

Keep silent for few minutes, finally he broke silence and admitted he disguised the fact, the purchase contact was a spurious contract, he and the deputy factory director of Lisheng counterfeited it, and he sealed the seal of Zhongxiang Company in the contract by stealth. In April 2003, Zhongxiang Company was changing shareholders, and some high level managers decided to leave the company, also including Mr. Li, so it was very confusion in the management, so he thought it’s a chance to counterfeit a contact with the fellow town-man of Lisheng.I recorded our conversations and did a conversation records as the evidence, in connection with the polygraph examination report, both documents submitted to Zhongxiang Company for decision, and we also put our legal suggestions forward.


The truth comes out and the whole things come to obvious. In this case polygraph examinations directly affect to find the fact of the case.


After the event, we have done a comprehensive sum up, and have a deep communication with examiners.


Based on examiners’ experience, polygraph examination has a frighten function for the examinee, some guilty examinees will refuse to accept the test in the pretest conversation because of heavy psychological pressure, the rejective attitude may be indicate something, some examinees will initiatively admit the disguised fact in the pretest conversation. Some examinees finish examinations, if they disguise the fact, when they accept the examination, they will be very nervous in a period time, in this occasion, investigators can make a new investigative plan based on the examination result, generally we will get a perfect result, for instance, the case of Zhongxiang Company, in fact the polygraph examination on Mr. Zhang established the base of final success.

 

Optimistic Prospect


In despite of polygraph mostly be used in criminal case in mainland China, through the case of Zhongxiang, we find out that it is a new-style investigative method in civil and business field, only because the people don’t know polygraph examination, also have some misunderstands, so it isn’t be used widely.After the event, Mr. Li said after experienced polygraph examination, he got to know that the real polygraph examination has a big difference with his imagining polygraph examination, by using the advanced science technic to solve trouble in civil and business field, its more quick and high efficiency than common investigative methods, especially be convinced by the veracity of the result.


My colleague and I keep an optimistic attitude on the developmental prospect of polygraph examination, it’s not only an advanced investigative method, but also establishing a developing direction for the investigation industry, which will be more scientific, effective, and exact.Remarks:


1. Based on confidential principles, all names are anonyms.


2. About other polygraph examination cases in criminal cases, civil and business cases, we will introduce in other articles.