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Instrument for recording physiological phenomena (including blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration) of a human subject as he or she answers questions asked by an operator. These data (recorded as graphs) are used as the basis for judging whether the subject is lying. The phenomena usually chosen for recording are those not easily controlled voluntarily. The types of questions asked, their wording, and the mode of presentation have a tremendous effect on the results and their reliability. Used in police interrogation and investigation since 1924, the lie detector is still controversial among psychologists and not always accepted as evidence in courts.
Variants of LIE DETECTOR
lie detector or polygraph
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on lie detector, visit Britannica.com.