FIELD EVALUATION OF EFFECTIVENESS OF VSA (VOICE STRESS ANALYSIS) TECHNOLOGY IN A US CRIMINAL JUSTICE SETTING
by James L. Chapman & Marigo Stathis
This research paper represents 18-years of data evaluating the use of the VSA technology for the detection of stress associated with possible deception. Using a combinatorial approach of VSA and a standardized questioning process, an expert obtained the results of stress detection associated with criminal activities, which are proven in 95% of cases. On the other hand, there were no cases when a confession was obtained in the absence of stress. In particular, the most considerable stress levels were detected during the investigation of murder cases, grand larceny and sexual crimes. When the VSA technology was used for diagnostic purposes to predict deception, positive results were obtained in approximately 95% of the cases. Additionally, a strong, indirect relationship (approximately 94%) was discerned between jeopardy (crime consequences) and confession rates among guilty suspects.
The implications of the findings for the suitability of VSA as a deception detection tool in the field are discussed.
THE ABDUCTIVE ASSESSMENT CONCEPT – FOR DECEPTION DETECTION, A GROUNDED THEORY
by Peter R. Hendrickson
There is significant controversy regarding the expansion of present models for deception detection within the security industry through the inclusion of factors that have traditionally been ignored and are often beyond an assessor’s conscious awareness. Despite the fact that there have been numerous studies that demonstrate the ability of some to access enhanced intuitive perceptions through subconscious awareness, the findings are often discounted and dismissed as inconclusive (Atkinson, 1908; Sinclair, 1930; Rhine, 1947, 1953, 1972, 1973, & 1974; Swanson, 2003, 2010; Targ, 1979, 2012; Puthoff, 1979, 2005; Graff, 1998, 2000; Mitchell, 1974). This exclusion potentially hinders the creation of a more inclusive model that accounts for the complexities and multi-faceted nature of human interaction.
Studies Validating Voice-polygraph (A Partial List)
- Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, NY, October, 2000. Funded by the National Institute of Justice, a three-year study by the AFRL determined that voice stress analysis achieved an accuracy rate of 100% when used to detect stress in 45 known-conclusion responses. (Available from http://extraafrl.af.mil/news/fa1100/features/detects:stress:feature.pdf)
- Cestaro, V. Department of Defense Bio-feedback polygraph Institute, Ft. McClellan, AL. “A Comparison Between Decision Accuracy Rates Obtained Using the Bio-feedback polygraph Instrument and the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer in the Absence of Jeopardy”, August, 1995. Cestaro reports that “the lab simulations established that the CVSA performs electrically according to the manufacturer’s theory of operation” and, even in the absence of jeopardy, which is a basic requirement in detection of deception, “These data indicate that there may be a systematic and predictable relationship between voice patterns and stress related to deception” (Available from DoD web site: www.dodpi.army.mil/research/research.htm)
- Tippett, R. Florida Department of Law Enforcement. “Comparative Analysis Study of the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer and Bio-feedback polygraph”, August, 1994. Both a bio-feedback polygraph and voice stress examiner, S/A Tippett examined 54 individuals that were convicted sex offenders on probation and in treatment for their crimes. His conclusions were: “With these 54 examinations, there was a 100% agreement between the CVSA and the bio-feedback polygraph. The number of examinees that were found to be deceptive (DI) were 35 and the number of examinees found to be not deceptive (NDI) were 19. As a result of this study, it appears that the CVSA is as effective as bio-feedback polygraph, which is the question this study set out to answer” (Available from University of Missouri web site: www.umr.edu/~police/cvsa/cvsamenu/htm)
- Ruiz, Legros, & Guell, 1990. Voice analysis to predict the psychological or physical state of a speaker. Published in Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 1990. Ruiz et al. reports that their “research suggests that psychological stress may be detected as acoustic modifications in the fundamental frequency of a speakers voice” and “that the fundamental frequency of the vocal signal is slowly modulated (8-14 Hz) during speech in an emotionally neutral situation. In situations demanding increased ‘mental or psychomotor’ activity, the 8-14 Hz modulation then decreases as the striated muscles surrounding the vocal cords contract in response to the arousal, thus limiting the natural trembling” (Available from Library of Congress).
- Chapman, J. Criminal Justice Department, Corning Community College, NY. “The Psychological Stress Evaluator As A Tool For Eliciting Confessions”, 1989. Chapman selected 211 criminal responses at random from 2,109 known-conclusion responses where voice stress analysis was used to test suspects. Professor Chapman’s study confirmed that voice stress analysis was accurate when utilized as a truth verification device and produced a confession rate of 94.8% of the responses where deception was indicated (Available from NITV).
- Brockway, B.F., University of Colorado School of Nursing, Denver, Colorado. “Situational Stress and Temporal Changes In Self-Report and Vocal Measurements.” Presented to the annual meeting of the American Association For the Advancement of Science, February, 1977. Brockway’s study reports that voice stress analysis does depict predictable and self-reported anxiety (Available from Library of Congress).
- Smith, G.A. “Voice Analysis For Measurement Of Anxiety.” British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1977. The author concludes that voice stress analysis is a valid measure of anxiety (Available from Library of Congress).
- Borgen, L.A., Goodman, L.I., Parke-Davis Research Laboratories, Ann Arbor, MI. “Voice-polygraph of Anxiolytic Drug Effects.” Results of the study indicated that voice stress analysis of the verbal responses correlated well with the other physiological responses to acute stress (Available from Library of Congress).
- Inbar, G.F., Eden, G. Dept. of Electrical Engineering Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. “Psychological Stress Evaluators: EMG Correlation With Voice Tremor” published in Biology of Cybernetics, 1976. Inbar and Eden were able to independently verify the existence of the 8-14 Hertz ‘micro-tremor’ and to trace its origins to the central nervous system (Available from Library of Congress).
- Wiggins, S.L., McCranie, M.L., and Bailey, P. Department of Psychiatry, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia. “Assessment of Voice Stress In Children”. Published in the Journal of Nervous Mental Disorders, 1975. The authors concluded that “audio stress can be detected with a voice stress analyzer in psychiatric patients during the course of therapy and that the VP could serve as a useful tool for this purpose” (Available from Library of Congress).
- Heisse, J. “Is The Micro-Tremor Usable? – The Micro-Muscle Tremor In The Voice.” U.S. House Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, 1974. Heisse analyzed 91 known-conclusion criminal responses utilizing voice stress analysis and determined that “Audio stress analysis seems to be valid in detecting changes in various psycho physiological parameters so that a trained examiner utilizing standard techniques can evaluate these changes and thus utilize the instrument in truth and deception” (Available from Library of Congress).
- Brenner, M. “Stage Fright and Steven’s Law.” Dept. of Psychology, Ohio State University, presented at the convention of the Eastern Psychological Association, April, 1974. Brenner, utilizing a voice stress analyzer, established that the frequency of vocal stress increased as a function of audience size (Available from Library of Congress).
- Lippold, O. “Oscillations In The Stretch Reflex Arc And The Origin Of The Rhythmical 8-12 C/S Component Of The Physiological Tremor.” The Journal Of Physiology, February, 1970. Lippold first discovers the physiological tremor in the human voice in the 8-12 Hz range (Available from Library of Congress).
- Lippold, O., Redfearn, J., Vuco, R. “The Rhythmical Activity Of Groups Of Muscle Units In The Voluntary Contraction Of Muscle.” The Journal Of Physiology, August, 1957. Lippold, Redfearn and Vuco begin exploring the correlation between muscle activity and stress (Available from Library of Congress).
Studies of Voice-polygraph (External Links)