ARE POLYGRAPHS ACCURATE?
Recently the American Polygraph Association (APA) carried out an exhaustively thorough review of all publications on polygraph testing that represented field practices, and which met the requirements of the APA Standards of Practice. A meta-analysis was conducted, and a report which detailed the results was issued in 2011. The executive summary of this review details thirty eight studies which satisfied the requirements for inclusion in the meta-analysis. These studies involved more than thirty different samples, and described the results of almost fifty different experiments and surveys. The data showed that specific issue techniques performed by competent polygraph examiners produced an accuracy rate of 89%, with an estimated inconclusive rate of 11%. Screening or multi-faceted polygraph examinations performed by competent examiners in which multiple issues were addressed produced an accuracy of 85% with an inconclusive rate of 13%. This meta-analysis revealed an overall accuracy rate of 87% with an inconclusive rate of 13%. These findings of the APA were consistent with those of the National Research Council’s conclusions in 2003 regarding polygraph accuracy, and provide additional support for the validity of polygraph testing when conducted in accordance with APA Standards of Practice by a well trained, experienced, and competent polygraph examiner.