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Abstract

CREWSON, P.E. (2000). A Comparative Analysis of Polygraph with other Screening and Diagnostic Tools June 2001 Report No. DoDPI01-R-0003. Department of Defense Polygraph Institute, Fort Jackson, SC 29207-5000.

The purpose of this study was to conduct a limited review of literature published between January 1986 and May 2001 concerning the accuracy and reliability of screening and diagnostic tests in polygraph, medicine, and psychology. Out of the 5,189 hits produced by the literature search, 1,158 articles and abstracts were reviewed, 145 were found to be useful resulting in data on 198 studies. For field screening assessments, the sensitivity of polygraph, medical, and psychological tools was .59, .79, and .74 respectively. Specificity of polygraph, medical, and psychological screening was .90, .94, and .78. For field diagnostic assessments, the sensitivity of polygraph, medical, and psychological tools was .92, .83, and .72. Specificity of polygraph, medical, and psychological diagnostic testing was .83, .88, and .67 respectively. Agreement was measured with kappa. Among readers in polygraph, medicine, and psychology kappa was .77, .56, and .79 respectively. Reports in the literature of polygraph's accuracy and reliability (agreement) on specific issues appear to be consistent with published studies on medical and psychological assessment tools. However, there is an enormous range of accuracy and agreement not only within polygraph but also medicine and psychology. Although there were very few polygraph screening studies, accuracy reports were lower than those in medicine and psychology.