Terms Relating to Lie Detectors Explained – Letter N
National Center for Credibility AssessmentThe NCCA is the US government polygraph education, oversight andresearch center for credibility assessment, including the polygraph. Otherhistorical names include: the U.S. Army Polygraph School (1951-1962); the USArmy Military Police School (USAMP, 1975-1986); the DoD Polygraph Institute(DoDPI, 1986-2007), and; Defense Center for Credibility Assessment (2007-2009). With its campus located at Ft. Jackson, SC, the NCCA falls under theDefense Intelligence Agency. The “Center” as it is often called provides allpolygraph and PCASS instruction for the federal government, and accepts polygraph students from state and local law enforcement agencies on a spaceavailablebasis. The polygraph curriculum is taught at the graduate level. It isthe largest facility of its kind in the world.Name TestPeak of Tension test in which the examinee’s name is inserted amongother names to determine his response capability to a known lie of personalsignificance.Nervous SystemConsists of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, eachperforming specific functions. Processing of nerve impulses in the brain issomewhat localized. Basic functions are mediated in the lower parts of thebrain, activities such as hunger, thirst, and thermoregulation. Sensory regionsof the brain are located above, along with most voluntary control of muscles.The highest regions of the brain are dedicated to processing and integratinginformation, and the production of thought. The spinal cord is the primarypathway by which most of the nerve impulses are carried to the brain. Nervesthroughout the body send pulses through the spinal cord to the brain wherethey are processed, and the brain sends back impulses to regulate and controlorgans and muscles. There are two main divisions to the nervous system: thecentral (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral (nerves and ganglia locatedoutside of the central nervous system). The peripheral nervous system isfurther divided into the somatic (voluntary muscular movements) andautonomic branches (various unconscious functions such as digestion,sweating, heart rate, pupillary response, vasomotor activity, etc.) Sometaxonomies also add a third branch, the sensory nervous system. Inpolygraphy, the autonomic branch receives special attention due to itsassociation with the physiological data recorded and analyzed with thepolygraph.NeuronStructural unit of the nervous system and is the conducting cell. Thetypical neuron consists of a soma body, dendrites and axon.NeurotransmitterChemical involved in the transport of the neural signal to anotherneuron or effector organ. Neurotransmission has six stages: synthesis of theneurotransmitter, storage, release, receptor interaction, re-uptake, andinactivation. There are many pharmacological agents that influenceneurotransmission, and they are of interest in PDD research due to theireffects on tonic and phasic arousal levels.Neutral QuestionAnother term for the irrelevant question in a CQT. Also called a norm.No Deception Indicated (NDI)In conventional PDD, NDI signifies that (1) the polygraph test recordingsare stable and interpretable and (2) the evaluation criteria used by the examiner led him to conclude that the examinee was truthful to the relevantissue. The NDI and DI (Deception Indicated) decision options are used inspecific-issue testing and correspond to NSPR (No Significant PhysiologicalResponses) and SPR (Significant Physiological Responses) in multiple-issue, orscreening, examinations.Non-Current Exclusive Comparison QuestionA probable-lie comparison question that is of the same type or categoryas the relevant issue, but excludes the relevant issue by use of a time-bar. It isthe type of comparison question developed and advocated by Cleve Backster.See: Matte (1996).Non-Exclusive (inclusive or inclusionary) comparison questionComparison question that overlaps the relevant issue by time, location,or issue. Also called Reid, inclusionary, or inclusive comparison question. As anexample, if the relevant issue were the robbery of a particular bank on aspecific date, the comparison question might be, “Have you ever stolenanything in your life?” There is a long-running debate in the PDD communityregarding the supremacy of the exclusive over the non-exclusive comparisonquestions. The current body of evidence supports the non-exclusivecomparison question. See: Amsel (1999); Horvath (1988); Horvath & Palmatier(2008); Podlesny & Raskin (1978).NoradrenalineBritish term for norepinephrine. See norepinephrine.NormVerbal shorthand currently used by some PDD examiners to signify anirrelevant question in Relevant/Irrelevant and comparison question testformats. Much earlier (1922) John Larson referred to “norms” as individualswho were possible-but-unlikely suspects to a crime whom he added to his listof persons to be tested so he could account for variables such as anger,indignation, and fright that he could expect from innocent-but-likely suspectshe would be testing.Norm chartA single test conducted before diagnostic tests are administered to allowthe examinee to become accustomed to the PDD instrumentation andprocedures. Sometimes used in screening examinations, but rarely in criminalexaminations. They can be useful for comparison of tracings from thediagnostic tests if there are suspicions that the examinee has deliberatelyaltered his physiological tracings. Norm charts may use rehearsed irrelevantquestions, unrehearsed irrelevant questions, or no questions at all.No OpinionAlternate form of an Inconclusive call, especially in the FederalGovernment. Sometimes used to denote an Incomplete call in other sectors.No Significant Physiological Responses (NSPR or NSR)Accepted verbiage in the Federal Government for polygraph screeningexamination outcomes equivalent to No Deception Indicated in single-issuetests. The alternate language comes from an acceptance that screeningexaminations do not produce the high validity of single-issue tests, and,therefore, the results are better reported as the absence of physiologic arousalsrather than inferring truthful intent on the part of the examinee.Numerical AnalysisSystematic assignment of numbers to physiologic responses, along withdecision rules, so that PDD data analysis is more objective and standardized.The first such system was published by Dr. John Winter in 1936.Contemporary numerical analytic methods include the Rank Order ScoringSystem, Horizontal Scoring System, 3-position scoring system, 7-position scoringsystem, Lykken Scoring. Sometimes referred to as semi-objective analysis.Numerical Chart AnalysisMethod of rendering polygraph decisions that are based exclusively onnumeric values that have been assigned to physiological responses recordedduring a structured polygraph examination. The numerical approach does notconsider extra-polygraphic information such as case facts or examineebehaviors. The numerical approach has four primary components. They are:feature identification, numerical value assignment, computation of thenumerical values, and decision rules. Current numerical approaches includethe Backster, Federal, Matte, Horizontal, and Utah method, and the automatedcomputer algorithms.
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