I own a book that, among other things, gives a technique for beating lie detector tests. I don’t feel like finding the book right now, but I remember the jist of the technique. Those of you that have taken lie detector tests can tell me if this is on the ball. According to the book:
-There are four types of questions asked during polygraphs: general knowledge questions, irrelevant questions, control questions, and central questions.
-General knowledge questions are things like “Who is the president of the U.S.?” or “What is your address?” These are questions that everyone knows the answer to, and are used to establish how you behave when you’re being truthful.
-Irrelevant questions are, well, irrelevant. “How do you feel today?” “What is your favorite color?” They don’t really care about your answer, and are just trying to break things up a little.
-Control questions are where things really start to get f—ed up. They will ask something like: “Have you ever stolen anything in your entire life?” If you admit to something, they will re-word the question to exclude that incident, and ask again until you say “No.” The thing is: they will assume that you’re lying. What they’re tying to do is to get an idea of how you behave when they know that you’re lying, but their methods of doing this are obviously pretty far from foolproof. In fact, I doubt that they can even see ‘foolproof’ from where they are.
-Central questions are the questions that they’re REALLY interested in, like “Did you embezzle $10,000 from the company?” or “Were you having kinky sex with that intern, Mr. Condit?” They will interpret your answers for the central questions based on your responses to the control and general knowledge questions.
-The trick to beating lie detector tests (supposedly) is to pick out the control questions and make a big deal when answering them, so you appear to be really, really nervous at those points. Consequently, when they ask a central question and you lie for real, you won’t seems as nervous as when you were ‘known’ to be lying. The book suggested hiding a pebble in your shoe and pushing your foot down on it when you’re asked a control question.
-As I said above, this is all from a book I read. I have no idea if this actually works or is even remotely like a real polygraph test, so YMMV.