Unlike Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth, no lie detector can actually catch someone in the act of telling the truth. But for a century, scientists and police have been trying to create a device that can.
The most famous example is the polygraph, which monitors physiological changes like sweaty palms, shifts in blood pressure and respiration to try to tell whether a person is lying or not.
William Moulton Marston
Marston was an inventor, psychologist, and writer. He was best known for creating Wonder Woman and theorizing DISC personality types, but his work with the lie detector is equally significant.
While studying stress levels in the body, Marston discovered a correlation between telling a lie and blood pressure. He then developed a machine that would measure a subject’s systolic blood pressure during questions and ostensibly reveal changes when the subject was lying. Marston’s machine was one of the first to be used for detecting deception.
Marston’s invention was a revolutionary advancement in the field of psychophysiology, but it was not foolproof. Despite this, it received a great deal of acclaim and was used in criminal investigations and for employee screening. Marston also wrote numerous articles about his findings and the device, which helped pave the way for the modern polygraph. Until the 1970s, law-enforcement agencies were the primary users of polygraph tests. However, with the advent of the computer age, these tests have become much more commonplace in workplaces across the country.
John Augustus Larson
In the first decades of the 20th century, when scientists were making astounding leaps forward in many fields, researchers claimed they could detect when people are lying. The claim caught on, and the lie detector became one of our most enduring technologies.
John Augustus Larson (born 1892, died 1965) was a Ph.D student and part-time police officer moonlighting in the Berkeley, California, police department during his studies. Working under the mentorship of chief police officer August Vollmer, he combined Marston’s research on changes in blood pressure with measurements of pulse, respiration, and electrical skin conductivity into what is now known as a polygraph.
Like Marston, Larson believed that a person’s physiological responses to questions about a crime—sweaty palms, changes in blood pressure or breathing, nervousness—can reveal truth or deception. His device, called a hydrosphygmograph or plethysmograph and later the psychograph, recorded these reactions on a smoked paper drum. By the 1970s, employee screening had surpassed criminal investigations as the polygraph’s primary use.I recommend this website for more Lie Detector Test.
When Wonder Woman deftly ensnares an evil villain in her golden lasso of truth, she can compel them to tell the absolute truth. But what would happen if police detectives could snag criminals with something similar? That’s the promise of the lie detector.
In the first decade of the 20th century, researchers made a thrilling claim: They could determine whether someone was lying by measuring physiological phenomena, including blood pressure and heart rate. They strapped cuffs around the subject’s chest and arms, then watched as pens recorded impulses on graph paper.
Lombroso built on this idea, developing tools to measure body parts with precision and tests designed to determine a suspect’s sensitivity to pain and propensity for lying. But critics argue that this type of interrogation intrudes on a person’s privacy and is not judicially acceptable. Some have even accused it of sending innocent people to prison. In 1958 Pope Pius XII condemned them, and a congressional study in 1974 recommended that government agencies limit their use.
Hugo Munsterberg was born in 1863 in Germany to parents who encouraged their children to pursue various interests. He studied music, foreign languages, literature, and the violoncello as a youth. He later became interested in psychology after hearing lectures from the world-famous psychologist, Wilhelm Wundt. He then combined his interest in psychology and medicine, graduating from Leipzig University as a physician and earning a PhD in physiological psychology from Heidelberg University in 1885.
He worked as Wundt’s assistant and then set up his own lab in Freiburg, Germany. He published his work, which eventually caught the attention of William James. James invited him to Harvard to direct a psychological laboratory, which Munsterberg did for three years.
Leonarde Keeler built on Larson’s concept by adding an instrument that measured changes in the subject’s skin’s electrical resistance, known as galvanic skin response. This is now referred to as the polygraph machine. Unlike some other methods used to determine lies, the polygraph provides objective data that can be interpreted.