Irishflock to Take Lie Detector Tests. to Save Marriages; POLYGRAPH USE IS BECOMING MORE POPULAR FOR BUSINESS & PERSONAL REASONS
Byline: EXCLUSIVE by ADELINA CAMPOS email@example.com
IRISH couples are forcing their wayward partners to take lie detector tests to prove they are not cheating.
Lie Detector Ltd, the first company to offer polygraph tests in Ireland, has revealed that couples facing relationship problems make up at least half their business.
The firm's CEO, Sian Devine, said: "We get a lot of couples coming into resolve trust issues that they have had for years.
"In many cases, one person in the couple has had an affair which was uncovered and they've worked it out with their partner but there is still doubt there.
"Whoever is taking the test will say that it was their own fault and they want to prove that they haven't done anything else.
"But we also get other people who have almost been forced to come along because they feel that if they don't take the test their partner will think they must be guilty.
"So they can be quite annoyed about having to answer very personal questions.
"A lot of them are embarrassed because they associate polygraphs with the Jeremy Kyle show. They would tell us, 'I'm not the type of person who would usually do this sort of thing'.
"We've seen couples who have been together for 30 years but never got past that one issue, that's really sad.
"There's normally a huge sense of relief when it's over and they tell us that they wish they had taken the test before. " Sian explained that while the couples may come from all walks of life, women from the Travelling community frequently use the service.
She explained that is because these young women often feel compelled to prove they have been faithful to their betrothed before the wedding takes place.
Sian added: "The people that we have met from the Travelling community take relationships very seriously.
"They would consider it a grave offence if their fiancee texted someone behind their back - let alone kissed them or more.
"This would be enough reason for them to cancel a wedding so the girls really want to show that they have been completely loyal.
"And they know that the test results will be well accepted within their community."
Sian also revealed that the festive period was viewed as the calm before the storm in her profession.
She said: "There is a seasonal difference. We find after Christmas there is a rush, we get a big increase in calls. We think it must be that people are forced to spend time together so issues surface. We always get more calls after a holiday period - even a bank holiday - but the biggest hike would be around January.
"When the weather is good we do not get as many calls. When the sun is out people are happy to leave their problems aside for a while."
While Sian expected cheating spouses to make up the bulk of her clients, she admits she is still surprised by the variety of customers that have come through the firm's doors in just under two years.
She said: "When we set up this business we did expect that most of our clients would be coming from a typical TV chat show scenario because that's how a lot of people would have become aware of polygraph and its use. And about half of the cases we deal with involve cheating partners. But what surprised us is that we get a lot of sexual abuse cases as well.
"Every time there is a big scandal like the Jimmy Savile or clerical abuse allegations, it seems to stir up memories in some people who want to open up about their own abuse - whether or not their attacker is alive. If the victim and abused are part of the same family, it can be very difficult because it can be easier for relatives to believe that it never happened.
"The victim doesn't necessarily want to go to gardai but they might want their family to believe them.
"We also have situations where people have been accused of sexual abuse and want to clear their name. We often find that it happens in family law cases. For example, when parents have split up and there may be allegations of untoward behaviour towards the children.
"Or in new relationships, a woman's children may accuse her new partner of abusing them."
In the US, the FBI, CIA and other police departments use lie detector tests to interrogate suspects and screen potential employees. In many states, sex offenders are even obliged to take polygraph tests before and after they get parole.
Sian said: "Research done in America shows that sex offenders are more likely to cooperate with their parole officer, to provide them with information, when they know that they will have to complete a lie detector test." In Ireland, results from polygraph tests can be used as evidence in court provided they are accepted by a judge. While Ireland's criminal courts have yet to present a lie detector test as evidence, the contentious method has already made its way to family law cases, according to Lie Detector Ltd.
Sian confirmed: "We will be giving evidence in one particular family law case tomorrow."
But at nearly [euro]500 a pop, it's no surprise that many cannot afford lie detector tests.
However, companies will often spend several times that amount to ensure that their employees have no criminal background or are not involved in any reported theft.
Sian said: "We get security companies that might want to do a screening test, especially with tiger kidnappings.
"They want to make sure their new employee won't use their business to facilitate a crime so we test different areas. These are not as accurate as specific issue tests because there's a much wider range of questions.
"We would also get employees who contact us after theft has been committed in their office and they want to prove they weren't involved.
"If they are under suspicion with three or four other people, it's quite likely that all of them will offer to take the test because by refusing to take it is almost an indication of guilt."
To tell the truth I was convinced I'd beat the test I WAS a little sceptical about the lie detector test before I took it. I'm not usually a good liar, nonetheless I was convinced that I could somehow cheat the polygraph test.
After all, I was only going to answer a simple control question to check if the examiner could catch me out. We couldn't do a full screening test as that would have taken hours but this gave me a good idea of what examinees face when they take a proper test. As I settled on the movement mat, I was told to give a list of seven countries where I may have been born.
To make it more challenging, I decided to name countries where I had previously lived as I expected that announcing would cause some sort of physiological reaction. I was then wired up and told to focus on an area of the white wall facing me. Although the test was never going to have any repercussion on my life - I wasn't being screened for any potential misbehaviour - I immediately felt my heartbeat go up when it started. The examiner asked me: "Regarding the country of your birth, was it..." and named each country with an interval of 30 seconds or so between each.
I had to reply "no" to each one. I made sure not to regulate my breathing and to keep still as possible so as not to give myself away. Each country was then repeated in a different order and by the end of it, I was sure that there was no way the examiner could know where I had been born. After all, my accent and my nationalities give no indication of my place of birth and I hadn't even mentioned them. But to my surprise, the examiner confirmed straight away that I was born in a small African nation. But it wasn't my breathing, my sweat glands or even my blood pressure that gave me away. While my body had reacted to each country's name - some more than others - my heartbeat slowed considerably once the name of my birth country was mentioned. This was the sign that told the examiner I had been relieved once I had uttered the lie. I was quite impressed that the device could pick up on something so minor and that the examiner understood my behaviour so well.
However, I couldn't help but think the tests were quite open to interpretation and that in criminal situations it would take a very perceptive person to determine if a suspect was telling the truth when claiming their innocence.
My heartbeat slowed once my country of birth was mentionedIn many cases one half of the couple has had an affair
Moment of truth... Taking the test
Measured up ... Adelina gets connected to the polygraph equipment…
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Irishflock to Take Lie Detector Tests. to Save Marriages; POLYGRAPH USE IS BECOMING MORE POPULAR FOR BUSINESS & PERSONAL REASONS. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: Sunday Mirror (London, England). Publication date: December 2, 2012. Page number: 20. © 2009 MGN LTD. COPYRIGHT 2012 Gale Group.
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