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Use of polygraph during psychological examination

At the request of journalists, “Channel 24”, the Head of the department of psychological research of Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise, Yurii Irkhin, described the peculiarities of carrying out a psycho-physiological examination using a computer polygraph. A similar study was conducted, in particular, concerning Nadiia Savchenko.

At KFI is it used standard equipment for the psycho-physiological study using a polygraph?

It is absolutely true. The fact is that we are an institute of forensic expertise of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine; we cannot use, say, speculations, or something non-standard. There are state standards that clearly regulate the use of polygraph, requirements for hardware. Starting from 2015, we use a computer polygraph in forensic psychological expertise as one of the methods. Please note, we do not conduct a polygraph examination, it is a full-fledged forensic psychological examination. Along with the traditional methods used earlier, now we additionally apply a polygraph and write a conclusion. Conclusions of the forensic examination are one of the evidence in the court. Moreover, recently the courts themselves appoint and initiate a similar type of forensic psychological examination.

That is, in this case, the proof in the court is not the polygraph itself, but the psycho-physiological forensic expertise?

Yes. I focus on this attention, because in our country there are a lot of opinions and everyone defends their favorable position. As evidence, the court does not take a separate study on the polygraph and not the polygraph itself. In accordance with the criminal procedural legislation, as a source of obtaining evidence, the court accepts the expert’s conclusion on the results of the forensic examination. That is, the polygraph is taken in conjunction with other methods of research in the conduct of forensic psycho-physiological examination.

Could you tell, if there is a certain mental deviation, is the person is to be checked on a polygraph?

The list of limitations in working with people on a computer polygraph is rather narrow. There is a clearly defined location with whom it can be done. If a person is in a state of drug intoxication, severe alcohol intoxication or in a state of acute abstinence, the so-called hangover state, or he/she is mentally ill, then no one will work with him/her. With such people, psychological examination is not carried out. The object of psychological examination is a mentally healthy person.

And is there a possibility to deceive the polygraph? Is there an error in the study?

In special schools where reconnaissance officers, spies and other categories of agents are trained, special training is provided. There are methods of counteracting testing on a polygraph, but to use them a person must be taught and constantly trained, that is, practicing skills. It’s like a physical training … You can show how to properly pump the muscles, but without a long work there will not be the result. Physically prepare yourself to counteract the polygraph is extremely difficult.

Can we now say that this method of research is becoming popular?

This movement is in full swing in the country. A polygraph is used everywhere, especially in commerce and private business. Why? For one simple reason: it works and gives a positive result. In the state structures it is somewhat more complicate. In order to apply it is a kind of selection, it is necessary to regulate this process, because any selection violates the freedom of choice. For example, in the departmental, the Power Higher Educational Institution not every young man can study. There are contraindications for health reasons, although the Constitution guarantees everyone the right to education.

So the use of polygraph should have a clear regulation, with it all the difficulties. In fact, the polygraph has been used for a long time in law enforcement practice. In the detection of crimes there is a positive trend. According to my calculations, recently we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the use of polygraph in the operational activities of the internal affairs bodies. The efficiency of a polygraph is reached of 90%.

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