Kevin R. Murphy Colorado State University
Assessments of honesty and dependability are potentially critical in the selection and advancement of police officers. As a result, techniques for assessing honesty and detecting deception are of particular interest to police departments. Psychologists and other behavioral scientists have studied techniques for detecting deception, ranging from physiologically based assessments (e.g., polygraphs, voice stress analysis devices) to techniques that focus on behaviors thought to be linked to deception (e.g., nervous smiles, stuttering) ( Ekman & O'Sullivan, 1991; Lykken, 1981; Murphy, 1993; Saxe, 1991); Chapter 7 of this volume considers assessments of deception in offenders' testimony. The present chapter deals with a number of methods that are used to assess overall honesty or trustworthiness, usually in the context of preemployment screening. In recent years, increasing attention has been devoted to the use of so-called integrity tests to predict and identify dishonesty ( Murphy, 1993; O'Bannon, Goldinger, & Appleby, 1989; Sackett, Burris, & Callahan, 1989).
Integrity tests vary considerably in their content, format, and uses, but they are all based on the premise that individuals' responses to questions about their past honesty or dishonesty, attitudes, personality traits, etc. can be used to make valid inferences about their present and future level of honesty, and that individuals who receive low scores on these tests are more likely than high scorers to engage in a range of dishonest, illegal, or unacceptable behaviors. These tests are frequently used in personnel selection, usually to screen out individuals who present undue risks of theft, crime, or other dishonest behaviors. They might also be used in investigating specific incidents of dishonesty (or suspected dishonesty), or to screen officers for advancement. However, the great majority of the existing research has been conducted in the context of preemployment testing,