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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 83267 Find in a Library
Title: Survey - Reliability of Polygraph Examinations Conducted by Virginia Polygraph Examiners
Journal: Polygraph  Volume:10  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1981)  Pages:229-272
Author(s): R H Edwards
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 44
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Findings are presented from a descriptive survey designed to determine the reliability of Virginia polygraph examiners, particularly those employed by law enforcement agencies, and previous research in this field is reviewed.
Abstract: A questionnaire was mailed to each licensed polygraph examiner residing in Virginia. Information was requested for specific examinations conducted during 1980, including the categorizing of examination results by the determinations rendered, and the number and category of verified determinations. A total of 147 questionnaires were mailed, yielding a response rate of 48.3 percent. A total of 77.5 percent of the law enforcement examiners responded. The mean accuracy level for Virginia law enforcement examiners was found to be 98.3 percent. There were 16 errors in the 959 verified law enforcement examinations, with the mean error being 1.7 percent. A review of research on polygraph reliability conducted since the 1923 Frye decision (prohibiting the admission of polygraph results as evidence) shows the polygraph to have an accuracy level in the mid-90 percent range. Based upon the findings of this study, it is recommended that the courts accept polygraph results as circumstantial evidence after determining examiner qualifications and the technique used. Virginia should continue its licensing law requiring a high level of qualifications and training for examiners. Graphic data, 59 footnotes, and 39 bibliographic listings are provided.
Index Term(s): Effectiveness; Polygraphs; Rules of evidence; Virginia
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