The Value of Polygraph Research
Lie Detectors UK Examiners stay up to date in a quickly moving industry always reading the latest research and applying the latest techniques. We are all attending the American Polygraph Association conference in September 2017 in America, however read below as to why research is important.
People have been doing scientific polygraph research ever since Harvard psychologist William Marston published his first lie detection experiment in 1917. Since then, thousands of experimental reports and articles have been published that show us the strengths and weaknesses of polygraph testing, as well as its potential. The major theories and techniques of polygraph testing have developed over time, and are associated with names such as Larson, Keeler, Reid and Backster. Each of these men made important theoretical contributions to our field. Their insights and ideas have played important parts in the evolution of polygraphy. Whenever a new and promising idea comes along, it is important to take a long, hard, objective look at it to see exactly how good it is. That long, hard, objective look is what we call research. Webster defines research as “studious inquiry or examination; especially : investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws.” What does that definition mean to you and me as working examiners? In a very practical sense, polygraph research tells us how good we can be, and what we have to do to be that good.
Some Research Evaluates Theories
Scientists often do experiments in order to see if a theory is worthwhile. When a theory is in its early stages, it may not be much more than an interesting idea. At that point, no one really knows whether it has any real value. The best way to evaluate a fledgling theory is to test it in an objective and unbiased experimental setting. For example, when the theory behind the Control/Comparison Question Test (CQT) was first proposed, the only way to see if it really worked was to study it under experimental conditions. And it was important that people other than John Reid (the man who developed the CQT theory) performed the research, since they didn’t have a personal stake in the outcome. Many scientists have tested the CQT and found it to be extraordinarily accurate, thereby validating Reid’s theory.
Some Research Evaluates Techniques
Research doesn’t justify everything that you and I might do in our polygraph suites. It simply identifies the best test formats, question types, instrumentation and scoring systems, and lets us know how good they can really be. For example, many published experiments have shown that the Zone of Comparison Test (ZCT) can be 96% accurate, meaning that when a DI or NDI decision is made, those decisions are right 96% of the time. Does that mean that whenever you or I do a ZCT, we can claim that our tests are 96% accurate? Not necessarily. We can claim that level of accuracy if we do everything exactly the way that the researchers did, including the pretest interview, question formulation and sequencing, numerical scoring technique, etc. If we change anything, we can’t use those studies to support our own accuracy. Conversely, if research shows that a given testing technique is not particularly accurate, it is hard to make the argument that it’s better than that when you use it.
How Polygraph Research Benefits You and Me
Reading and understanding scientific experiments (known as the research literature) moves us from opinion to fact. It allows us to pick and choose from many different techniques and approaches, and to identify the very best way to conduct a polygraph test. And once we’re able to do that, there are several practical benefits that accrue to us:
1) Knowing the polygraph research literature makes us better at our jobs
Using the most valid technique in a given situation leads to higher overall accuracy. The most valid technique might not be what we learned in the polygraph school we attended. But if we’re serious about doing the best job we can do, the research might tell us that it’s time for a change.
2) Knowing the polygraph research literature makes us better expert witnesses
Courts are impressed with experts who base their opinions on objective, scientific research. When you’re testifying at a trial or hearing, being able to support your opinion with information that has been produced by DoDPI scientists or university professors makes you a more credible expert witness.
3) Knowing the polygraph research literature makes us more successful in the private sector
Most people, including attorneys and other potential clients, aren’t aware that serious scientists have been doing polygraph research for decades. They don’t know that much of that research has been published in some of the most prestigious scientific journals. Once they realize that a research literature exists, and that they can rely on you to inform them about it, you become a more valuable asset to them.