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Polygraph VS cvsa questions answered


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  • Polygraph VS cvsa questions answered

    I am amazed at the amount of comments from people that know very little or nothing about polygraph or CVSA and propitiate myths, and outright falsehoods.

    I have been a polygraph examiner for over three decade and have administered pre-employment, specific issue, criminal, attorney, personal, as well as post-conviction sex offender examinations.

    Before we accept the self-endorsements of the manufacturer, it is best that we first look at what scientists have to say.

    Below is a list of the university-grade research studies that have investigated voice stress as a deception detection approach. Some studies looked at the CVSA device in particular, while others investigated whether voice stress analysis in general could be used to detect stress or deception. Copies of these studies can be obtained at many university libraries.

    Brenner, M., Branscomb, H., & Schwartz, G. E. (1979). Psychological stress evaluator: Two tests of a vocal measure. Psychophysiology, 16(4), 351-357.
    Conclusion: "Validity of the analysis for practical lie detection is questionable"

    Cestaro, V.L. (1995). A Comparison Between Decision Accuracy Rates Obtained Using the Polygraph Instrument and the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) in the Absence of Jeopardy. (DoDPI95-R-0002). Fort McClellan, AL: Department of Defense Polygraph Institute.
    Conclusion: Accuracy was not significantly greater than chance for the CVSA.

    DoDPI Research Division Staff, Meyerhoff, J.L., Saviolakis, G.A., Koenig M.L., & Yourick, D.L. (In press). Physiological and Biochemical Measures of Stress Compared to Voice Stress Analysis Using the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA). (DoDPI01-R-0001). Department of Defense Polygraph Institute.
    Conclusion: Direct test of the CVSA against medical markers for stress (blood pressure, plasma ACTH, salivary cortisol) found that CVSA examiners could not detect known stress. This project was a collaborative effort with Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

    Fuller, B.F. (1984). Reliability and validity of an interval measure of vocal stress. Psychological Medicine, 14(1), 159-166
    Conclusion: Validity of voice stress measures was poor.

    Janniro, M. J., & Cestaro, V. L. (1996). Effectiveness of Detection of Deception Examinations Using the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer. (DoDPI95-P-0016). Fort McClellan, AL : Department of Defense Polygraph Institute.
    DTIC AD Number A318986.
    Conclusion: Chance-level detection of deception using the CVSA as a voice stress device.

    Hollien, H., Geison, L., & Hicks, J. W., Jr. (1987). Voice stress analysis and lie detection. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 32(2), 405-418.
    Conclusions: Chance-level detection of stress. Chance-level detection of lies.

    Horvath, F. S. (1978). An experimental comparison of the psychological stress evaluator and the galvanic skin response in detection of deception. Journal of Applied Psychology, 63(3), 338-344.
    Conclusion: Chance-level detection of deception.

    Horvath, F. S. (1979). Effect of different motivational instructions on detection of deception with the psychological stress evaluator and the galvanic skin response. Journal of Applied Psychology, 64(3, June), 323-330.
    Conclusion: Voice stress did not detect deception greater than chance.

    Kubis, J. F. (1973). Comparison of Voice Analysis and Polygraph As Lie Detection Procedures. (Technical Report No. LWL-CR-03B70, Contract DAAD05-72-C-0217). Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD: U.S. Army Land Warfare Laboratory.
    Conclusion: Chance-level detection of deception for voice analysis.

    Lynch, B. E., & Henry, D. R. (1979). A validity study of the psychological stress evaluator. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 11(1), 89-94.
    Conclusion: Chance level detection of stress using the voice.

    O'Hair, D., Cody, M. J., & Behnke, R. R. (1985). Communication apprehension and vocal stress as indices of deception. The Western Journal of Speech Communication, 49, 286-300.
    Conclusions: Only one subgroup showed a detection rate significantly better than chance, and it did so by the thinnest of margins. Use of questionable statistical methods in this study suggests the modest positive findings would not be replicated in other research. See next citation.

    O'Hair, D., Cody, M. J., Wang, S., & Chao, E. Y. (1990). Vocal stress and deception detection among Chinese. Communication Quarterly, 38(2, Spring), 158ff.
    Conclusion: Partial replication of above study. Vocal scores were not related to deception.

    Suzuki, A., Watanabe, S., Takeno, Y., Kosugi, T., & Kasuya, T. (1973). Possibility of detecting deception by voice analysis. Reports of the National Research Institute of Police Science, 26(1, February), 62-66.
    Conclusion: Voice measures were not reliable or useful.

    Timm, H. W. (1983). The efficacy of the psychological stress evaluator in detecting deception. Journal of Police Science and Administration, 11(1), 62-68.
    Conclusion: Chance-level detection of deception.

    Waln, R. F., & Downey, R. G. (1987). Voice stress analysis: Use of telephone recordings. Journal of Business and Psychology , 1(4), 379-389.
    Conclusions: Voice stress methodology did not show sufficient reliability to warrant its use as a selection procedure for employment.

    If anyone has any information concerning additional statistically significant independent studies concerning the accuracy of CVSA, please post them for review.

    You can go to the American Polygraph Association web site for further information.

    I completed the "whole" week long CVSA “training session” and REFUSE to use the CVSA, unless it is used in conjunction with the polygraph, as I have found it totally useless on its own.

    The training for CVSA was (when I went through the course) a one week class (40 hours), as opposed to polygraph training which lasts between six to eight weeks, then a minimum of a six to twelve month internship under a licensed, approved sponsor. Annual continuing education is required by most states licensing polygraph examiners.

    The polygraph should be used as an investigative tool, not the final determining factor in any situation. Think of it like an X-ray. How accurate is an x-ray, only as good as the doctor reading the results.

    Concerning countermeasures, any properly trained examiner will identify them. If you are going to be truthful, why would you try to manipulate the examination? The individuals selling a “How to beat the polygraph” books are taking advantage of the uninformed, gullible people. Several of them sited in these forums, have been criminally prosecuted by the federal government (the biggest user of polygraph examinations).

    For those who believe polygraph examinations are not admissible in court. Read the Supreme Court decision in Dalbert VS Dow Chemical 1999. The court held the federal rules of evidence, not the Frye ruling determines that the courts can consider the results at their discretion.

    If you have additional questions, I will be more than happy to answer those which I can answer.

  • #2
    Rather an impressive list of supporters. It's great, (at least from my perspective) to have you here. That said, we've done numerous discussions on both the Polygraph and CVSA instruments. They remain controversial both inside and outside of the LE profession.

    I believe this will remain the case until the courts accept testimony with respect to Polygraph results. I understand that evidence obtained from Polygraph exam(s) is admissible provided the opposing counsel stipulates to it's admission.I'm not holding my breath on Polygraph evidence being accepted on the same basis, as say Radar or Lidar.

    What many of us on this forum attempt to advise applicants is that the Polygraph is an investigative tool.( we get some arguments on that too) and very much a fact of life in a given hiring process.

    In any event, welcome aboard. It'll be interesting to have you share your thoughts and perspectives.


    • #3
      After completing a more than satisfactory board interview (stay with me please), I was asked to submit to a VSA test. Of course, I agreed.

      The day of the VSA test, I was nervous, but no more nervous than my board interview. I had applied with a handful of police agencies in the past to no avail, but I felt confident that my persistence over the years would bear fruit this time around. After all, I have 12+ combined years experience in security, corrections, and law enforcement.

      And, I'm an Army veteran honorably discharged from the Military Police Corps.

      Moreover, all the highs and lows of my life have been previously documented and discussed bluntly and openly, as I have always done in the past--my most influential infractions being a DUI and bankruptcy 10 years ago by the time of my board interview.

      And, I was assured at my board interview, that such kinks in my background were no longer an issue, as 10 years between such matters were my friends.

      With all in mind, before the VSA test commenced, I filled out a personal history questionnaire. Once completed, the police detective and I went over my responses without any hiccups. I expanded on issues that the detective deemed necessary, and I was thankful to be of assistance. Smooth sailing, and the detective explained the VSA testing process throughly enough that even an applicant with an IQ of a popcorn-fart could understand.

      The VSA testing began, but first just a calibration/baseline run for subsequent comparison of the latter official VSA test results (or charts). The detective ran the VSA test twice.

      While looking over the charts, the detective turned the computer monitor around so that I could see them. And as the charts were being explained to me, I became absolutely dumbfounded, and my confidence evaporated.

      Of the 30 questions asked (technically 90 questions), it showed possible deception on a series of my responses. But, as the detective began comparing the charts, it was impossible, at least in my opinion, to make meaningful sense of them, deception or no deception. The charts were contadictory.

      I honestly felt sorry for the detective, as she attempted to validate the VSA test results:

      "See this curve here? That is showing deception. That one is iffy. I could probably pass that, but not that one. Look at the curve. That's showing deception."

      I just sat there flabbergasted lost for words as she continued on.

      "Okay... let's look at the next chart. See, this one is showing deception. And this one. Do you have any idea why? Did you forget to tell me something?"

      I sat back in my chair, exhaled out of frustration and responded, "No ma'am. I was simply answering truthfully. We went through my background, as I did during my board interview. I was honest with them, and I'm being honest with you. You have full knowledge of my background."

      "Okay," the detective continued, "I'm not saying you are being deceptive. I'm just saying the machine is saying that."

      The detective was highly professional throughout, but I did feel sorry for her. I thought to myself, "She has got to be nawing at the teeth for agreeing to get certified to administer VSA tests. How can she keep a straight face? I'd be embarrassed."

      Getting to the crux of the issue, control questions that I was told to lie over were showing no deception and vice versa. One of the questions, probably the most silliest example, "Does this room have carpet," actually showed deception. And on the other chart, it didn't!

      Another was my showing signs of past gang activity, which the detective blurted as not making sense. She even said, "Sometimes we can't go by the machine."

      Long story short, I was curious to gauge how she would report her findings. I asked her, but she just said, "I'm going to do a cold call on this and get a second opinion. Then I'll do my report and send it to your agency by the end of today. Your agency will have final say, but I wouldn't worry too much. I think you'll be fine."

      Well... today in the mail, I got a letter of disqualification from my agency. I can not pinpoint why, but I assume it was over my VSA test results.

      For those of you that have read this far, can you provide a professional approach to be reinstated in the hiring process?

      All I had left to do, was the psychological and medical portions. And... during my board interview, they stated that they wanted to get me a temp certification so that I could start working with an FTO immediately before the academy starts.

      What in the world gives?


      • #4
        Originally posted by ushomefree View Post

        For those of you that have read this far, can you provide a professional approach to be reinstated in the hiring process?

        Why would you want to be a part of an agency that obviously doesn't want you ? Do you really think that forcing them to hire you would work out well ?

        I would suggest you read PhilipCal's response above. Phil was a long time member here who passed away a while back but his sage advice still holds true

        Polygraph/CVSA 's are a part of the hiring process and the agencies that utilize them do so with vigor.
        Last edited by Iowa #1603; 02-14-2019, 07:44 AM.
        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


        • #5
          I spoke with an agency representative this morning regarding my letter of disqualification. The determining factor, was indeed a failed VSA test. He apologized and stated that per the Maryland Police Training Commission, the agency's hands were tied and that it is an automatic disqualification. I thanked him for his time, and we hung up. I appreciate your response Iowa#1603.


          • #6
            MD is tough on eligibility standards
            Former Police Officer (Injured LOD)
            USAF VETERAN 2004-2012
            "The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day."-LTC Grossman
            Emergency Services Dispatcher, APG MD


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