“The Science of Lies: From the Polygraph to Brain Fingerprinting and Beyond”

Matt Bean of Court TV reports. AntiPolygraph.org’s Gino J. Scalabrini is among those interviewed for this report. Excerpt:

A tablet made in ancient Babylon warned, “When a man lies, he looks down at the ground and moves his big toe in circles.” Ancient Chinese lore professed that a liar who held rice grains in his mouth would spit them out dry, instead of wet as would those telling the truth. And French Renaissance philosopher Michel Montaigne cautioned “He who is not very strong in memory should not meddle with lying.”

While conventional wisdom may have kept society honest for centuries — the Babylonians realized early on that liars often refrain from looking their dupes in the eye — it wasn’t until the 20th century that people began to use science to get a leg up on liars. But the science of truth is far from failsafe.

The most popular method of lie detection in use today is the polygraph machine, developed in the 1930s, but its accuracy is widely disputed. That’s one reason why, in the Department of Justice’s investigation of the more than 1,200 people so far detained in the investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks, the polygraph may be joined by at least one new lie detection mechanism.

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