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Combining skin conductance and forced choice in the detection of concealed information

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An advantage of the concealed information polygraph test (CIT) is that its false positive rate is determined on statistical grounds, and can be set a priori at arbitrary low levels (i.e., few innocents declared guilty). This criterion, however, inevitably leads to a loss of sensitivity (i.e., more guilty suspects declared innocent). We explored whether the sensitivity of a CIT procedure could be increased by adding an independent measure that is based on an entirely different psychological mechanism. In two experiments, we explored whether the accuracy of a CIT procedure could be increased by adding Symptom Validity Testing (SVT), a relatively simple, forced-choice, self-report procedure that has previously been used to detect malingering in various contexts. Results of a feigned amnesia experiment but not from a mock crime experiment showed that a combination measure of both tests yielded better detection than either test alone.

Keywords: Concealed Information Test; Guilty Knowledge Test; Polygraph testing; Symptom Validity Test

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Experimental Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Publication date: September 1, 2007


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