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DoDPI Research Division Staff, MEYERHOFF, J. L., SAVIOLAKIS, G. A., KOENIG, M. L., & YOURICK, D. L. Physiological and biochemical measures of stress compared to voice stress analysis using the computer voice stress analyzer (CVSA). January 2001, Report No. DoDPI98-R-0004. Department of Defense Polygraph Institute, Fort Jackson, SC 29207.

A number of features of the voice have been reported to reflect psychological stress. If these claims were validated, this technology could have significant medical and deception detection applications. Unfortunately, the reports have been inconsistent, possibly due to failure to utilize robust stress paradigms supported by validated physiological and biochemical indices of stress. Using a well-characterized stressful interview model, we examined the capabilities of a commercial computer voice stress analyzer (CVSA), which is purported to measure “physiological microtremor” or frequency modulation in the voice. Although a number of validated stress indices, including heart rate, blood pressure, plasma ACTH, and salivary cortisol, were all increased by the interview, no effect was seen in the CVSA data. Because of the potential medical value of a reliable voice stress analysis system, other available technologies assessing different voice features should be examined using this robust stress paradigm.

This study was approved by the Human Subjects Research Review Board of the Office of the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army.