Purposeful Sampling vs Random Sampling

Every company faces decision-making risks. Neuro-ID™ technology can dramatically improve your company’s decision making, allowing you to better identify both risk and opportunity and empower you with new actionable insight to focus resources more efficiently.

When you ask a customer a set of online questions, especially risk relevant questions, you can never be sure about the confidence of their responses. Risk relevant questions are those relating to an activity or event where there are meaningful negative stakes for not disclosing the truth. Did you accurately state your income?

When answering risk relevant questions, people either quickly respond because they know the answer and are confident in sharing their response. Or they delay in responding due to low-confidence in their answer. A lack of confidence can be attributed to not understanding the question, not knowing the answer or not wanting to disclose the answer.

Whatever the reason, a low confidence answer puts your organization at risk and is precisely what Neuro-ID™ technology identifies.

Due to limited resources, companies can’t investigate every answer on every online form completed. So how do you decide which individuals or questions you’re going to look into further?

Suppose a company receives 1,000 applications per day and 10% of those applications contain low confidence answers.

That means, on a typical day, roughly 100 applications contain suspect answers.

It’s impractical to investigate every application submitted. Suppose that the company is only able to investigate 10% of the applications or 100 per day.

The big question is how do you decide which to investigate?

One way is to randomly sample 100 applications from the 1,000 received. You find, on average, that 10 out of the one-hundred sampled have low confidence answers. Unfortunately, using this approach, you will miss on average, 90% of the applications containing low confidence responses.

Unconfident people utilize additional cognitive resources to contemplate, decide, and generate an appropriate response.

Neuroscience research shows this lack of confidence causes simultaneous and uncontrolled changes in a person’s motor-nervous system which influences how they move a mouse, or touch and hold a smartphone.

To detect this low confidence, we sample data at millisecond precision from all modern computing devices; including mice, touch pads, tablets and smartphones. Our patent-pending algorithms interpret this data immediately, so the technology can be deployed into any context where real-time decisions must be made.

Each customer will then be given a confidence score called Neuro-CS™. This score is the purposeful criteria used in selecting those to look at more closely.

What does this mean for an organization’s bottom line?

Suppose that 25% of those customers with a low Neuro-CS™ are indeed answering deceptively. This results in a 150% improvement over random sampling. At 50%, a 400% improvement is realized.

In controlled studies, low Neuro-CS™ has identified fraudulent responses at greater than 90%; resulting in an 800% improvement over random sampling.

Indeed, this is sampling with a purpose!

While every context is different, and detection rates will vary from case to case, this is a powerful tool. It saves your company time while increasing good decisions and decreasing bad decisions.

Smarter questions…better bottom line.


Jeff Jenkins, CTO Neuro-ID™

Joe Valacich, CSO Neuro-ID™


Credit: The authors thank Jackie Valacich for writing this blog post on their behalf.