The polygraph, more commonly known as the lie detector, has been a cornerstone tool for truth verification since its invention in 1921. John Augustus Larson, a Californian medical student and police officer, is credited with its inception. However, it was Leonarde Keeler’s innovations in 1939, which included portability and the addition of the Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), that positioned the polygraph as an indispensable tool in crime-solving. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) adopted Keeler’s version, making it the prototype for modern polygraph devices.
Over the last twenty-five years, the polygraph has seen further enhancements due to extensive research and technological advancement, enabling a higher level of accuracy. In fact, single-issue tests on contemporary equipment can achieve accuracy levels between 92% and 96%.
The polygraph is now a ubiquitous feature in international law enforcement and national security measures. In the United Kingdom, the government employs a team of polygraph examiners to scrutinize sex offenders, terror suspects, and domestic violence abusers. Across the Atlantic, the United States utilizes polygraph tests across numerous agencies, including the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and many police departments. Many organizations even employ lie detector tests for pre-employment screening, ensuring the integrity of potential employees.
One of the most common techniques in polygraph testing is the Control Question Test (CQT), also known as the probable lie test. This method was designed to address the shortcomings of the relevant-irrelevant testing method. However, it’s worth noting that while the CQT is designed to evoke reactions from deceptive individuals, innocent people fearing false detection or strongly maintaining their innocence may also exhibit similar physiological responses.
As a regulated profession, polygraph examiners often require licensure or certification in many jurisdictions. The American Polygraph Association (APA) sets the gold standard for polygraph operators’ training and currently has 2800 members worldwide. Membership in organizations like the APA or the British Polygraph Society (BPS) signals an examiner’s qualifications and experience.
At Lie Detector UK, all our examiners are active members of both the APA and BPS. We pride ourselves on using the latest equipment and employing cutting-edge techniques to ensure the accuracy and reliability of our tests. Our dedication to ethical practice and professional conduct underscores our commitment to providing scientifically sound truth verification services.
It is this commitment to professional standards and continuing advancements in the field that has allowed the polygraph to maintain its relevance over a century since its creation. As we move forward, Lie Detector UK will continue to use this invaluable tool responsibly and innovatively, contributing to its evolving history.