Lie detectors or polygraph machines have a lot of history behind them and there’s probably a lot people don’t know about them. Despite seeming like a very modern invention (some would even say almost futuristic) they have been around for a long time in some form or another. So let’s take a look at 10 things you probably don’t know about lie detectors.


It Was Created By Many People

The polygraph machine is rather unusual because it wasn’t exactly created by one person, in fact, many people helped create what we now know as the lie detector. Cardiologist Sir James McKenzie created one of the first polygraph tests in 1906.
This was later enhanced and further developed by other people later one. Many people cite police officer John Larson and psychologist William Moulton Marston as being two of the main creators of the modern polygraph machine.

It’s Connected To Wonder Woman!

The movie that is breaking box office records today does have a connection to the polygraph machine. William Moulton Marston created the systolic blood pressure test, which was later incorporated into the polygraph test and was also the creator of the DC comic book superhero Wonder Woman.

Polygraph Are Controversial But Still Used By Courts

The accuracy of polygraph tests is controversial but despite that, they are still used by courthouses and police departments all across the world. Showing that despite their controversial nature they are still seen as an effective way to uncover the truth by many official outfits.

Reality TV and Game Shows

Strangely enough polygraph tests have seen a rise in popularity not because of their use in police investigations but because of their use in television. In the UK lie detectors are for better or worse a central part of television shows like Jeremy Kyle and other similar shows like the American Jerry Springer show. They have also been used in a number of game shows like The Moment of Truth.

The Polygraph Test Is Still The Most Accurate Test For Detecting Lies

Despite its age, the polygraph test is still the most effective way to monitor whether people are lying or not. In 2003 the U.S. Department of Energy alongside The National Academy of Sciences formed a study into the polygraph test to assess its effectiveness. The results found that although other methods are available none have been found to be as effective as the polygraph test.

The Polygraph Machine As Gone Through Many Forms

The polygraph machine as gone through many forms during the years and it was only computerised in 1992. This was designed to make the test more accurate and effective and while professional opinion differs most experts agree that in general, a polygraph test is around 98% accurate when properly carried out.

They Are Used In Many Industries

Polygraph machines are used in a wide range of different industries: the police, private investigators, court houses, the military and even organisations like the FBI, MI5, the National Defence Agency and many other security agencies all use polygraph tests.

Lie Detector Toys

Lie Detector toys are available but there is a downside, they are both very expensive and have been shown to be of poor quality. So buying one probably isn’t going to be the best option for the majority of people. Remember it takes skill and experience to operate a polygraph machine correctly so unless you’ve had the proper training buying a polygraph machine is not really advisable.

The Role Of The Examiner

An often overlooked component of any lie detector test is the importance of the examiner, the examiner is responsible for a lot of the work in a lie detector test and it’s actually their work that ensures the polygraph machine gives accurate results.
Without a professional and experienced examiner, a lie detector test could easily give strange readings. The examiner is responsible for prepping and conducting the test and they need strong communication and analytical skills. The lack of an examiner is one of the main reasons home lie detectors are found to be unreliable.

The Polygraph Test Is Carefully Structured

Despite what you might have seen in the movies you aren’t simply hooked up to a polygraph machine and asked a few questions. There’s a lot of work that goes into designing and structuring a lie detector test and the questions you will be asked are carefully chosen to ensure maximum accuracy. There’s a reason polygraph tests run for a number of hours, it’s because every stage of the test must be carefully structured.