FORENSIC PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY COURSE OUTLINE
(Ten Classroom Weeks 400 Hour & Post Graduate Work)
History and Development: (Eight Hours)
The History of lie detection is traced from primitive man to its evolved state of art and will be presented to the student in an interesting and informative manner. The student will be able to identify those persons who made notable contributions to the early and contemporary history of lie detection and demonstrate their knowledge of the evolution of polygraph instrumentation, polygraph techniques, and test data analysis; the development of professional associations; and alternate methods of detection of deception.
Psychophysiology: (Fifty-six Hours)
Students will study the interrelationship between the mind and body, through an in-depth examination of the effects of emotions on the nervous system, and the subsequent changes in body organs and systems. These changes are what Forensic Psychophysiologists monitor and record for interpretation of truth or deception. The student will be able to explain the basic elements of human psychology and their applicability to the science of polygraph testing. The student will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the cardiovascular, respiratory, central nervous, peripheral nervous, integumentary and skeletal-muscular systems, as well as pharmacology, as they relate to the polygraph data.
Instrumentation: (Twenty-four Hours)
Students will be instructed in the complete nature of both state of the art and the more traditional instrumentation used in the detection of deception, including their construction, operation, calibration, and maintenance. Both mechanical and electronic polygraph instruments will be covered. The student will be able to perform a proper functionality check of the type of instrument he or she will be using. During their laboratory exercises the student must also demonstrate the proper component placement, including primary and alternate locations in addition to the positioning of the examinee; proper software operations for the instrument he or she will use; acceptable data collection practices, and the use of standardized annotation on polygraph examinations.
Techniques: (Fifty-two Hours)
A comprehensive study of the various forensic psychophysiological techniques in use today, including Keeler, Reid, Arther, Backster, Department of Defense, Marcy, Positive Control, Peak of Tension, and the Academy’s Integrated Zone of Comparison Technique. The student will acquire a working knowledge of each of major polygraph techniques and will be capable of using any of them in the field for both law enforcement and commercial purposes. The student will be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of at least one testing protocol shown to meet APA validation standards for each of the following applications: Evidentiary, investigative, and screening. Exposure to two or more validated protocols is recommended. Students will understand the essential components of these testing protocols, including the number of presentations, number of tests, and question sequence rules.
Interviewing: (Forty-Eight Hours)
The student will be taught to properly prepare an examinee for a forensic psychophysiological examination, along with various methods of ascertaining critical information from the individual. The student will learn to analyze Nonverbal Behavior and Unwitting Verbal Cues, with the latest advances in this field, such as, the Morgan Interview Thematic Technique, and Scientific Content Analysis. Students will be instructed in the Integrated Interrogation Technique, which will allow them to masterfully obtain confessions from deceptive examinees in a non-intrusive system.
Question Formulation: (Thirty-Two Hours)
This area of instruction covers one of the most vital phases of lie detection, the selection of the correct issue and formulation of questions, which reflect both the needs of the examiner and the concepts of the examinee. Students will be trained to artfully develop polygraph questions. During classroom and laboratory exercises the student will demonstrate, in writing, an effective working knowledge of polygraph test questions for validated polygraph techniques.
Chart Interpretation: (Forty Hours)
Chart analysis is the final and most crucial part of any polygraph examination. This phase of study teaches the student how to understand the physiological phenomena recorded by the instrument, to make the proper and necessary comparisons, and to reach an accurate conclusion of truth or deception. The development of numerical evaluation is taught from its origin with the Backster technique to the latest advancement with the Academy’s own Horizontal Scoring System. The student will demonstrate a working knowledge of the physiological response patterns used in interpretation of polygraph data, in addition to an ability to identify data suitable and not suitable for analysis. Students will learn to analyze polygraph data using a validated scoring system, including the appropriate use of decision rules. The student will be able to describe common types of countermeasure attempts and atypical physiology.
Deliberate Distortions (Sixteen Hours)
The student will learn to identify common types of countermeasures and augmentations, as well as atypical physiological data. Both anti-countermeasure and counter-counter measure procedures will be addressed
Practicum: (Eighty Hours)
Students will participate in, and observe, examinations in the Academy’s modern polygraph laboratory. The student will be presented with hypothetical case facts and be required to construct and administer a complete polygraph examination to resolve the issue in a mock crime paradigm. This practical experience allows the students to practice everything that they have been taught. This practice has been the most effective method in training examiners to be able to properly administer forensic psychophysiological examination in the field.
Pre-Test Interview: The student will be able to explain the rationale behind pretest procedures and demonstrate the ability to conduct a free narrative, structured or semi-structured interview.
Post-Test Interview: The student will be able to explain the rationale behind post-test procedures, identify basic interview approaches and demonstrate the process of post-test interviews for the various test outcomes.
Information and Results Reporting: (Sixteen Hours)
The student will learn and demonstrate an understanding of necessary information for proper presentation of test results and writing of reports, as well as maintain records within the parameters of business and legal necessities.
Legal and Ethical Aspects: (Twelve Hours)
Experience has taught us that ethical conduct by the forensic psychophysiologist is essential. A code of conduct prescribed by the American Polygraph Association will be presented and discussed. Students will be informed of the latest available legal opinions from the courts concerning lie detection and its application. The student will be instructed in proper methods of testifying as an expert witness in civil and criminal court proceedings, and administrative hearings which includes CCMA and South African legislation.
Forensic Psychophysiology Research and Methods: (Sixteen Hours)
The basis of any scientific technique requires that it be valid and reliable. Our students will be familiarized with current research regarding the validity and reliability of the forensic psychophysiological technique. Students will also be acquainted with published scientific research data and journals, and ascertain a basic understanding of scientific experimental design. The student will demonstrate a conceptual knowledge of sensitivity, specificity, false positive errors, false negative errors and statistical significance in the application of the concepts to diagnostic and screening tests; the ability to review research articles and explain their methodological strengths and weaknesses.
Post Graduate Assignment: (Eighty Hours)
Graduates will be required to postulate and complete a post graduate research project approved by the Director. Each student will have individualized conferences with the Director and his staff to assist in choosing an appropriate project.