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Fidelity Testing -- Does it deserve an APA model policy?

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Author Topic: Fidelity Testing -- Does it deserve an APA model policy?
Dan Mangan
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posted 06-13-2012 11:23 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Dan Mangan Edit/Delete Message
The title says it all.

Comments about fidelity testing in general -- good, bad or indifferent -- are also welcome.

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rnelson
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posted 06-14-2012 04:47 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rnelson Click Here to Email rnelson Edit/Delete Message
Hmm

The alternative would be to have no standards and no recommendations for how to do this type of work most effectively.

r

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"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the war room."
--(Stanley Kubrick/Peter Sellers - Dr. Strangelove, 1964)


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Dan Mangan
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posted 06-15-2012 11:47 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Dan Mangan Edit/Delete Message
I'm surprised at the dearth of replies. I thought people would be jumping all over this one.

Does the APA even take a position on fidelity testing? If it endorses it, than standards would seem to be in order. If the APA discourages fidelity testing, then it begs the question: Why?

Dan

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rnelson
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posted 06-15-2012 05:16 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rnelson Click Here to Email rnelson Edit/Delete Message
Keep in mind that I am not speaking on behalf of the APA... I participate in this forum as an individual.

It is my understanding that the APA presently has no position on this - they neither endorse nor denounce fidelity testing.

When you think about it, why would the APA endorse or denounce any particular genre of testing or any particular topic or target issue? The only legitimate reason would be that the topic/target has been shown to not work or presents so many professional/ethical complications that it is hazardous. I'm not sure we have reached that position regarding fidelity testing.

So,

Under what conditions or practice recommendations, if one were to engage in this practice, should it be done?

r

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"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the war room."
--(Stanley Kubrick/Peter Sellers - Dr. Strangelove, 1964)


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Dan Mangan
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posted 06-16-2012 10:08 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Dan Mangan Edit/Delete Message
Guess it's just you and me, Ray.

I don't see the APA ever endorsing fidelity testing, let alone coming up with a model policy. They don't need the potential liability headaches.

Closest they'll come is the predictable mantra espousing validated techniques, proven principles and best practices.

But the fact that the APA does not take a position on fidelity testing is kind of interesting.

Does the APA take a position on testing for fishing tournaments and bodybuilding contests? What abut the trash TV shows? I would think that the abbreviated approach some of those tests require (in the interest of time) is at odds with best practices...

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clambrecht
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posted 06-16-2012 12:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for clambrecht Click Here to Email clambrecht Edit/Delete Message
Not a member of APA ( too expensive) nor am I a private examiner (yet) but APA has taken a "stand" for this and other specific incident testing. The validated principles and best practices apply any test, regardless of target issue. The APA ethics requirements of its members also seems to apply. Aren't fidelity tests just another specific issue test?

Your question raises a good point : do short pre-tests compromise the results ? Do we really need to put our car salesman hat on and spend time setting probable lie comparisons ? I do and have no problem doing it (until I make the switch to DLCs ) my point is do we have to? My belief is that lengthy pretests foster rapport for the post test yet do little to "set" the comparisons in their minds.

[This message has been edited by clambrecht (edited 06-16-2012).]

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Dan Mangan
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posted 06-17-2012 08:50 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Dan Mangan Edit/Delete Message
quote:
...but APA has taken a "stand" for this and other specific incident testing.

clambrecht,

Really? Poll the APA executive officers, including the board of directors, and ask them to go on record with their "stand" on fidelity testing. See how far you get. Oh, you might want to ask the legal counsel, too.


[This message has been edited by Dan Mangan (edited 06-17-2012).]

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rnelson
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posted 06-18-2012 04:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rnelson Click Here to Email rnelson Edit/Delete Message
One view would be that the APA does not need a model policy simply because the targets are unique.

Polygraph - in the end - is still polygraph.

We should not feel compelled to regulate every domain or use for the test, unless there are complications unique to a certain type of testing.

Fidelity testing may have complications that warrant a set of guidelines or regulations.

First, helping people to resolve difficulties with relationships is normally called "counselling," and these activities are regulated by other professions. Making practice guidelines about this might cause some difficulties with those professions if we are not careful about what the guidelines would have us do.

Also, not having guidelines could also cause difficulties with other professions...

I think that fidelity tests might at times be either diagnostic (known reason for concern) or screening (no specific known reason for concern). This may affect the selection of a single issue or multi-issue technique, and this may affect both test accuracy and how the results are to be used.

As for the short pretest concerns and DLC v PLC concerns - these are separate, but perhaps related, issues.

One concern re fidelity testing - if we are to develop and maintain positive perceptions among the related professions that engage in counseling - will be the degree to which we manipulate people in order to conduct the test. Counselors - those who don't do sex offender therapy - may be very uncomfortable with the idea of manipulating or misleading someone in order to conduct the test. Scientific minded mental health practitioners - virtually all recently educated professionals in the US are taught to engage in evidence-based-practice (EBP) - may be likely to have a negative view of any test that depends making inaccurate, false, or misleading statements to a person (whom we call an examinee, but counselors call a client).

Other problems can result from the examinee themselves - in response to what they are encouraged to believe about the accuracy of the test.

For example - what happens to a relationship if someone passes or fails a test for which they are encouraged to believe the results to provide near-perfect accuracy (over 99%)?

r

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"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the war room."
--(Stanley Kubrick/Peter Sellers - Dr. Strangelove, 1964)


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clambrecht
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posted 06-18-2012 08:28 PM Click Here to See the Profile for clambrecht Click Here to Email clambrecht Edit/Delete Message
As a "rookie" examiner , I do not know the dynamics of fidelity tests so I do plead ignorance on this issue. I did have a guy come to the PD and ask for one. He was desperate to submit to one as soon as possible so I referred him to "google" as we cannot do private work. He felt that the results would save his marriage. I felt bad for the guy. As Ray eluded to, the results either way do not heal trust issues. However, the same could be said for the accused thief or accused sex offender.

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rnelson
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posted 06-18-2012 08:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rnelson Click Here to Email rnelson Edit/Delete Message
Criminal suspects and convicted sex offenders, unlike marital fidelity examinees, are likely to be connected somehow to other professionals who will use the information and results of the polygraph to make better decisions about how to best guide them into, out of, or through the system.

Other problems with fidelity cases involve what happens when a distraught person, hoping to salvage a relationship in crisis, does not pass.

Or, what happens when a marital partner suspected of infidelity passes the test; the other partner has to then deal with the fact that he/she is either stupid or crazy for suspecting that their infidelity. And what happens if the person cannot resolve that cognitive dissonance in a healthy manner, without assistance? What we know from the theory and evidence about cognitive dissonance is that some people, in response to some situations that amount to evidence that contradicts their cognitions/beliefs, will escalate their commitment. If the relationship in crisis also include domestic violence (among the most lethal types of relationships) or a domestic violence offender (among the most lethal of all types of offenders), then...

Not sayin' don't do fidelity tests, but I am sayin' we should do these tests with our eyes open and heads up.

.02

r

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"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the war room."
--(Stanley Kubrick/Peter Sellers - Dr. Strangelove, 1964)


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