Does anxiety affect a polygraph test?

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Dr Lisa Turner

World renowned visionary, author, high-performance mindset trainer for coaches to elevate skills, empower clients to achieve their maximum potential

Polygraph tests are typically used to determine a person’s truthfulness. They are also used in the court system to probe the vulnerability of defendants. However, there is some evidence to suggest that anxiety may have an impact on a person’s polygraph results.

There is research that suggests anxiety can affect how honest a person is during a polygraph test. In some cases, this could lead to false positives or negatives, which can impact the outcome of the test. If you are worried about your test results, it is important to try and get your anxiety under control before you take it.

Does Anxiety Affect a Polygraph Test?

Anxiety is a common feeling that many people experience when faced with a stressful situation, such as taking a polygraph test. Polygraph tests are commonly used to assess an individual’s truthfulness in situations such as criminal investigations, job interviews, and pre-employment screenings. While many people believe that anxiety has no effect on the accuracy of polygraph tests, the reality is that it can significantly impact the results. 

How Anxiety Affects Polygraph Results

When an individual is anxious, their body releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can affect the accuracy of the polygraph test. Cortisol is a hormone released during times of stress, and it can cause an individual’s heart rate and blood pressure to increase. This can lead to higher readings on the polygraph machine, which can lead to false positives. 

Another way that anxiety can affect the accuracy of a polygraph test is by causing the individual to be nervous or tense during the test. This can lead to an increase in the individual’s breathing rate, which can also lead to false positives. Additionally, the individual’s body language can also give away anxiety, which can alert the polygraph examiner to the fact that the individual is not being truthful. 

Ways to Minimize Anxiety During a Polygraph Test

One way to minimize anxiety during a polygraph test is to take deep breaths and focus on calming thoughts. Additionally, it is important to be honest and open with the polygraph examiner about any concerns or anxieties that the individual may have. The examiner can then provide the individual with tips and advice on how to relax and remain calm during the test.

It is also important to remember that the polygraph examiner is there to ensure the accuracy of the test, and is not trying to catch the individual in a lie. Finally, it is important to remember that the polygraph examiner is a professional, and they are trained to recognize the signs of anxiety and to adjust the test accordingly.

Conclusion

In conclusion, anxiety can have a significant effect on the accuracy of a polygraph test. Anxiety can cause an individual’s heart rate and blood pressure to increase, as well as lead to increased breathing rates and body language clues. To minimize anxiety, it is important to take deep breaths and focus on calming thoughts, be honest and open with the polygraph examiner, and remember that the examiner is not trying to catch the individual in a lie. By following these tips, the individual can ensure that their anxiety does not adversely affect the accuracy of the polygraph test.

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