Exploring The History Of The Lie Detector Test In The USA

As you likely already know, there are specific tests and technologies that can help to determine whether or not an individual is telling the truth. They’re often referred to as lie detector tests and they’re enormously beneficial for a wide range of purposes. Over the years, the lie detector test has been used in various sectors of everyday life and government. Today, they’re just as popular as ever before and they’re also far more reliable. In the United States, the lie detector is used pretty much on a daily basis. Within this comprehensive guide, you will learn more about the lie detector test and its use in the United States.

What Is It?

First and foremost, you should better familiarize yourself with the basics of the American lie detector test. The truth of the matter is that the lie detector remains pretty much the same from one country to the next. The purpose is always universal. The lie detector is primarily designed to determine whether or not someone is being deceptive. In the United States, the polygraph just happens to be the most common type of lie detector. Of course, it is not the only one. Below, you will learn a little more about the different types of lie detectors utilized in America.

Types Of Lie Detectors In The United States

Now, you should realize that the United States uses a wide variety of lie detection methods. Below, you will gain a little better understanding of these methods and their effectiveness.

  • The Polygraph – There is no doubt that the polygraph is the most popular. This is a machine that is connected to the participant. It is capable of reading a variety of vital signs and is very effective for determining whether or not a person is lying. If you’ve seen a lie detector test on television or in the movies, there is a good chance that it was a polygraph machine.
  • Truth Serum – Truth serum is a specific medication that was once believed to be effective for getting someone to spill the beans. Unfortunately, it was later determined that the truth serum wasn’t that effective at all. It is no longer used so frequently.
  • Voice Stress AnalysisThe voice stress analysis is another type of lie detector test. It is used infrequently in the United States, but is growing somewhat more popular. As the name implies, this type of test is capable of analyzing a person’s voice to detect signs of stress. Then, this can be used to determine whether or not someone is telling a lie.

Most agencies will rely on the polygraph test. In the United States, the polygraph is definitely the most popular and most reliable option. It is used frequently by the United States government and local law enforcement. So, you can guarantee that it is pretty accurate.

Dates Back To The 1900s

The lie detector test or polygraph test dates back to the 1900s. In fact, the “deception test” was the first test ever created to effective measure physiological changes. While the lie detector results are admissible in court, they can help law enforcement determine if a suspect is being suspect. This capability is the reason why the test has become so popular and widely utilized across the board.

William Moulton Marston

William Moulton Marston was born on May 9, 1893, becoming a well-known American psychologist and the inventor of the first prototype of the polygraph test. Marston was also described as a successful comic book writer and self-help author. In 2006, Marston was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame, which shows his true level of success.

Marston spent year studying the systolic blood pressure test, which is a major component of the lie detector test. The blood pressure machine or sphygmomanometer measures blood pressure. It is composed of an adjustable, inflatable cuff to collapse and slowly release the brachial artery.

With his knowledge of systolic blood pressure measurement, Marston was able to create the sphygmomanometer, a vital component of the lie detector test. Without this medical device, the lie detector test would not work effectively. In fact it would not work at all, since blood pressure measurements are required to determine if the individual is being deceptive or truthful.

John Augustus Larson  

John Augustus Larson was born on December 11, 1892 in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Canada. Larson was a law enforcement officer for Berkeley, California, but he is more known for his creative invention, the modern lie detector test. As a law enforcement officer, Larson was focused on finding ways to determine if suspects were being deceptive. This is actually where the modern polygraph machine got its start. It was also utilized in forensic investigations, proving to be very reliable and accurate.

A thesis on fingerprint identification earned Larson a master’s degree. Larson specifically developed the instrument for forensic use, but over the years it has grown into a tool that is utilized for a wide range of purposes. Unlike Marston’s device that provides discontinuous readings, Larson’s polygraph provides continuous blood pressure readings.

In 1921, Larson’s lie detector test was put to the test, when he utilized the machine to test William Hightower, a priest accused of murder in San Francisco, California. The following morning, the local newspaper reported the findings, which revealed that Hightower was deceptive in answering the questions asked by the examiner. Law enforcement officers utilized the results to form their decision to charge Hightower with murder. The machine became known as “lie detector,” but Larson continued to refer to his invention as the “cardio-pneumo psychogram.”

The first person to ever be interrogated on Larson’s lie detector test was his wife, Margaret Taylor.

Who Makes Lie Detector Tests In The USA?

In the United States, there are tons of companies that manufacture lie detector tests. Lafayette Instrument, Axciton Systems and others are some of the leading manufacturers of lie detector tests in America. Below, you will learn more about some of the top American manufacturers of lie detector tests.

About Axciton

Axciton Systems Inc. has been around for more than 25 years. It just happens to be the very first company that produced a totally usable computerized polygraph system. Since then, the company has continually worked to improve the technology and make it more accessible to more people. They constantly listen to customer feedback to ensure that they’re products are convenient and reliable as possible. As pointed out by the company, their products are designed to best suit the needed and preferences of modern professionals in the polygraph industry.

Stoelting Company

Stoelting is another company that makes polygraph tests in the United States. It was founded in 1886. At the time, the company was known as the Chicago Laboratory Supply and Scale Company. After 125 years and after a name change, the company is now known as Stoelting. They just happen to be one of the world leaders in high-quality instruments. The diversified company specializes in all types of physiological and psychological measurement instruments. The company’s lie detector tests are widely considered to be very reliable.

Today, the company offers high quality and reliable instruments with some of the highest accuracy rates. The company is now based out of Wood Dale, Illinois.

Limestone Tech

Limestone Technologies is actually a Canadian company. Nevertheless, they sell a lot of lie detectors to American companies and agencies. The company is based out of Ontario, Canada. All of the company’s products are medical grade and they come with intelligent software to ensure that the tools can be used for numerous purposes. Limestone was incorporated in 1999. Their initial offering was a software designed for the sex offender management market. Today, the company specializes in numerous sectors, but their Polygraph Pro Suite is widely considered to be one of the most reliable lie detector tests in the entire world.

The company is detected to innovating the polygraph machine, while also consistently delivering high quality products at affordable prices.

Understanding The Employee Polygraph Protection Act Of 1988

As the polygraph has become so increasingly popular in the United States, the federal government has been forced to put measures in place to protect consumers. This is where the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 enters the picture. The Employee Polygraph Protection Act or EPPA is designed to govern private employers that wish to administer lie detector tests to their employees. This law actually forbids most private employers from utilizing lie detector tests for pre-employment purposes and during the course of the employee’s tenure with the company. In most cases, the law makes it clear that employers are not able to require or request an employee to take a lie detector tests.

There are some specific circumstances when employers are able to administer lie detector tests. For instance, if the employee is applying for a job with a security company, a polygraph may be acceptable. A polygraph may be permitted if the employee is suspected of a workplace theft or embezzlement. Just remember that the law governs the conduct of the company. They are required to give the employee notice ahead of time! Finally, the Act prohibits information obtained during the polygraph from being disclosed.

American Polygraph Association

In the United States, there are several associations that oversee professionals that carry out polygraphs in the country. The American Polygraph Association or the APA was established in 1966. Today, it is the world’s leading association solely dedicated to the use of scientific methods of credibility assessment. The association complains that it is home to more than 2,800 members. Members of the APA include polygraph examiners, researchers and educators. Everyone associated with the APA shares the goal of attempting to promote such technology and improve it.

Members of the American Polygraph Association come from private businesses, the federal government and local law enforcement agencies. The conduct of these individuals is governed by the company’s Code of Ethics and a set of Standards and Principles of Practice. At this point in time, the group’s national office is based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. If you’re trying to find a reliable polygraph examiner in the United States, it is best to stick with someone who is a member of the APA.

The American Association of Police Polygraphists

There is no doubt that American police officers use polygraphs more than anyone else. This is where the American Association of Police Polygraphists enters the picture. This organization is designed to help aid in the training of law enforcement in the United States. And of course, they specialize in the use of polygraph machines. The AAPP attempts to encourage cooperation between all law enforcement agencies that utilize polygraphs to establish acceptable techniques. They also set certain standards for law enforcement agencies that intend to use polygraphs.

The American Association of Police Polygraphists holds seminars around the year. At these seminars, they offer training to up and coming law enforcement members and detectives. Local law enforcement agencies often require their members to attend these meetings to ensure that they know how to use polygraphs effectively.

American International Institute Of Polygraph

When it comes down to it, mastering the polygraph machine can be a long, drawn-out process. It can take many years to fully master this technology. In America, there are numerous schools and institutes that specialize in teaching the polygraph. The American International Institute is undeniably one of the most popular. This institute is based out of Stockbridge, Georgia and it is accredited by the American Polygraph Association. The institute is also recognized by the American Association of Police Polygraphists. So, what is it all about?

Well, this institute was founded to ensure that people can be trained thoroughly in the latest polygraph technology. The institute is more than capable of providing modern consumers with the skills needed to exceed today’s minimum standards. On top of that, the company also offers polygraph services through Quality Polygraph Services Inc. Through this company, they offer polygraph services to attorneys, businesses, law enforcement and private citizens.


At the end of the day, lie detector tests are used pretty much each and every day in the United States. This is unlikely to change any time soon. These tests are very effective and they’re affordable as well. There is a good chance that the government, companies and people in America will continue depending on these tests for many years to come.

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