Your friend comes to pick you up for an event wearing an outfit that is, at best, in poor taste. What do you do?

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History lesson

The Fascinating History of the Lie Detector

Ah, the lie detector! It's a device that has been both revered and ridiculed, trusted and doubted. But how did this contraption come into existence, and how did it earn its place in the annals of history? Let's dive into the captivating tale of the lie detector, or as it's more formally known, the polygraph. The Birth of the PolygraphThe polygraph was conceived in 1921 by John Augustus Larson, a medical student at the University of California, Berkeley. Larson wasn't just a student; he was also a police officer of the Berkeley Police Department. His invention was groundbreaking, and it quickly garnered attention. The polygraph made its way to the Encyclopædia Britannica 2003 list of greatest inventions, lauded as innovations that have had profound impacts on human life.What Exactly Is a Polygraph?Contrary to popular belief, a polygraph isn't a straightforward "lie detector." It's a device that measures and records physiological indicators like blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and skin conductivity. The underlying belief is that deceptive answers will trigger physiological responses distinct from truthful answers. However, it's essential to note that there aren't specific physiological reactions linked to lying. This makes it challenging to pinpoint factors that differentiate truth-tellers from fibbers.The Polygraph in ActionIn the U.S., the polygraph has been a tool of intrigue and investigation. Various law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, CIA, and even local police departments like the LAPD, have used polygraphs to interrogate suspects and screen new employees. The U.S. federal government even has a fancy term for a polygraph examination: a psychophysiological detection of deception (PDD) examination.

But it's not just about catching criminals. The polygraph has been a significant player in the employment sector, especially for sensitive roles. It's a part of a whopping $2 billion industry, with an average test cost exceeding $700.The Controversies and CriticismsLike any tool, the polygraph has its critics. Scientific and government bodies have often pointed out that polygraphs can be inaccurate and can be outsmarted with countermeasures. A comprehensive review by the National Academy of Sciences in 2003 concluded that there's "little basis for the expectation that a polygraph test could have extremely high accuracy."

One of the primary criticisms is the polygraph's reliance on physiological reactions, which can be influenced by various factors like anxiety, fear, nervousness, and even certain medical conditions. Simply put, a polygraph doesn't measure lies; it measures arousal.The Global PerspectiveWhile the U.S. has been a significant user of the polygraph, its reception worldwide has been mixed. In Canada, polygraph results are inadmissible in court. In the U.K., polygraphs are used to monitor serious sex offenders on parole. Meanwhile, in Poland, the Supreme Court has set strict guidelines on its use. In many European countries, polygraphs are viewed skeptically and are not widely used.

Joselyn, Heywise Staff

Quiz WriterJoselyn, Heywise Staff

Joselyn wasn’t too keen on multiple choice in high school. She vividly remembers the first biology exam she passed by only the skin of her teeth, which dragged her overall average down into the embarrassingly low 90s (she doesn’t want to talk about it). After swearing off any high school or university courses that required multiple choice tests, Joselyn managed to get an English degree by sweet-talking her professors into offering only essay-style exams. Needless to say, this did not exactly endear her to her peers. This rocky start smoothed out in time, though, and after tumbling down a black quiz hole one day while putting off job hunting, Joselyn realized her hatred of all things a-b-or-c had faded and she actually enjoyed dreaming up new ideas for questions and dangerously correct-sounding answers. You won’t find her quizzes an easy ride, but Joselyn just wants to make sure you’re really testing your knowledge.

Did you know?

Let's be honest here...

Did you know that the average person tells at least one lie per day? That's right; we're all a bunch of fibbers! But here's the kicker: not all lies are created equal. In fact, research has shown that lies are more likely to be white lies rather than big fat Pinocchio-style whoppers.

So why do we lie? Well, it turns out that lying is a social survival tactic. It helps us avoid confrontation, maintain our relationships, and even boost our self-esteem. Plus, let's be honest here, sometimes it's just plain fun to spin a little yarn and see how far we can stretch the truth without getting caught. Sure, honesty might be the best policy, but where's the thrill in that?

Next time you catch yourself slipping into a little deception or being on the receiving end of someone else's cleverly crafted tale, don't sweat it too much. Remember, it's all part of human nature. On the other hand, as Mark Twain so hilariously put it: "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."

How to Play?

Our personality quizzes are set up a little differently than your basic trivia quiz, but you’ve probably seen their kind around. Rather than having to choose the right answer from a list of multiple choice options, in this case, there is no “right answer”! (Two plus two will always be four, but every Golden Girls character is equally awesome.)

So, stop stressing. Just click on the answer that suits you best, and enjoy the ride. These quizzes are just for fun but who knows – you might just learn something about yourself along the way!

About Heywise

Get knOwledgeable! Heywise is where entertainment and trivia meet, like a turducken of fun. Anytime. Anywhere. Since 2017, Heywise has been a leader of quizzes on the web, on mobile devices, and across social media.

We explore a broad range of topics – from sports to history, language to pop culture, personality to health. Our quizzes motivate readers to test their knowledge and learn new and exciting facts.

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