Most people believe that the polygraph can actually detect lying but the truth is, that our good old friend is 100 percent old-timey pseudo science. You see, humans are complicated and the truth isn’t something you can just detect with a machine. I mean, why would being sweaty necessarily mean you’re lying? In fact, truthful people have been failing polygraphs just because they’re sweaty or nervous.
All you have to do to beat the test is stay super chill and keep your heart rate down.
Difficult to achieve? Well, criminals do it all the time. Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer did it, Soviet spy Aldrich Ames did it, serial killer Charles Cullen did it. They all beat the polygraph just because they were laid back with chill attitudes. In fact, the lie detector is so easy to beat, even its inventor thought it wasn’t something great. (the article continues after the ad)
The polygraph was invented in 1921 by a medical student named John Larson who went on to regret inventing it. Larson became so horrified by law enforcement unscientific use of his device he would go on to call the machine “a Frankenstein’s monster”. But no one listened and ever since people have insisted that the polygraph can do frankly impossible things. Just an example, in the late 1960s, a polygraph expert conducted tests on plants and, instead of the more obvious conclusion that the lie detector is simply broken, he concluded that plants can actually feel emotions like pain and fear!
The media has pushed the infallibility of the lie detector so hard that now everyone believes in it even though it just straight up doesn’t work. Oh, and this thing is still embedded in our legal system. Combined, government agencies test over 70,000 people a year with this century-old piece of pseudo science.
But at least, you now know.