Oklahoma Study Finds Voice Stress Analysis “Testing” No Better Than Random Chance

The National Institute of Corrections has published a research study on voice stress analysis (VSA) conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services with support from the National Institute of Justice. From the abstract (emphasis added):

…The goal of this study was to test the validity and reliability of two popular VSA programs (LVA [Layered Voice Analysis] and CVSA [Computer Voice Stress Analyzer]) in a “real world” setting. Questions about recent drug use were asked of a random sample of arrestees in a county jail. Their responses and the VSA output were compared to a subsequent urinalysis to determine if the VSA programs could detect deception. Both VSA programs show poor validity – neither program efficiently determined who was being deceptive about recent drug use. The programs were not able to detect deception at a rate any better than chance….

The 128-page report, “Assessing the Validity of Voice Stress Analysis Tools in a Jail Setting” by Kelly R. Damphousse, Laura Pointon, Deidre Upchurch, and Rebecca K. Moore, dated 31 March 2007, may be downloaded from AntiPolygraph.org here (2.1 mb PDF).

One Comment

  1. I recently went sought employment with a law enforcement agency. I was
    given a CVSA. I had done some prior recearch on the CVSA previously, so I
    knew this thing was unreliable as a truth or deception device. After
    answering the questions that the interviewer asked me, (second time) she
    told me that I was being extemely deceptive on just about every pertinent
    question! I really came close to becoming argumentativem because the kind
    of questions that she said showed deception were just outrageous! But I
    held to my guns and told her the TRUTH, that those things were completely
    opposite of my character. Well, it turns out that I didn’t get hired. I
    don’t know why because it’s against their policy to tell me why! It
    really upsets me, because I am well qualified for that job, and would do
    a much better job than most of their officers who I have observed over
    the years. Anyway, I have applied with another agency and am currently
    awaiting word from them. Oh, they use the polygraph! LOL!

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