NCCA Banner for Research Papers


Research Division Staff. A comparison of psychophysiological detection of deception accuracy rates obtained using the counterintelligence scope polygraph (CSP) and the test for espionage and sabotage (TES) question formats. June 1995, Report No. DoDPI94-R-0008. Department of Defense Polygraph Institute, Ft. McClellan, AL 36205.

The purpose of this study was to compare the decision accuracy rates obtained using a new psychophysiological detection of deception test, the Test for Espionage and Sabotage (TES) to those obtained using two versions of the counterintelligence scope polygraph (CSP) format; the CSP format using probable lie control (PLC) questions (CSP-PLC), and the CSP format using directed lie control (DLC) questions (CSP- DLC). The TES format differs from the CSP formats in that: (a) the number of issues being tested in a question series is reduced; (b) a maximum of three question repetitions are used to calculate question scores; (c) between-test stimulation is eliminated; (d) the order of questions within the question sequence cannot be altered; (e) each relevant question is compared to the same control questions; (f) the pretest is brief, more standardized, and follows a logical sequence of information presentation; and (g) problems associated with PLC questions are reduced by using DLC questions. The 277 examinees included in the analyses were recruited from the communities surrounding Ft. McClellan, AL. Ninety of the examinees programmed guilty (PG) by enacting one of four possible mock espionage scenarios. Eighteen certified government examiners conducted the examinations. The decisions of the examiners who administered the TES format were significantly more accurate (83.3%) at identifying the examinees than were the decisions of the examiners who administered either the CSP-PLC (55.6%) or the CSP-DLC (58.6%) format. There were no significant differences among the accuracies of the examiners' decisions at identifying the programmed innocent (PI)examinees. The decision accuracies obtained using the three formats to identify PI examinees were 88.9%, 95.3%, and 95.2% for the TES, CSP-PLC, and CSP-DLC formats respectively. Blind scoring of the examinations yielded similar results.

Key-words: TES, security screening, DLC, directed lie control, psychophysiological detection of deception, PDD, espionage, sabotage, polygraph

Director's Foreword

The first step in categorizing psychophysiological detection of deception (PDD) examinations is to distinguish between specific issue and screening examinations. Specific issue examinations include those which address a clearly defined action or event that occurred within a fairly short time period, such as a particular theft or murder. Examinees usually have a clear understanding of the purpose of the PDD examination and know is they are deceptive. Various types of specific issue examinations have been used for over 50 years and their validity is generally accepted in the polygraph community, if not the scientific community. Screening examinations, on the other hand, address broad categories of events which could have occurred over the relatively broad time period of several years, such as theft from an employer or sabotage of equipment. Hence, the relevant questions used in screening examinations must be less specific in order to address all the issues covered by the examination. This situation makes it more difficult to properly focus the examinee's attention, which in turn results in less confidence in the outcome of the examination.

This report describes initial testing of a new screening examination format, the Test for Espionage and Sabotage. Problems encountered in previous screening procedures are circumvented by using directed lie control questions, a loosely scripted pretest, standardized question series, and numerical chart evaluation techniques. The initial effort may be an important step towards increasing acceptance of the screening PDD examination.

Michael H. Capps