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Short History Of Polygraph




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Who and how created this instrument that we call polygraph ? The search for truth is not something that occupies our attention only for a short period of time. Since the creation of the world, people were fascinated with the search for the truth. Since the beginning of recorded history human civilization has had the opportunity and the time to understand the multitude of words about human nature and consequently led to the overall well-known knowledge that every person who is dishonest in their words, actions and intentions, sooner or later, displays thier own lies and deceptions through various indicators such as words, actions, gestures, signs and various small signals that can be interpreted both in an verbal and non-verbal way.

Throughout history, the oldest mention information related to the search for the truth and exposing the lies. Even in the Holy Bible and the 10 Commandments of Moses, God says to Moses, "Do not be a false witness against my neighbor's neighbor".

Throughout history, the oldest mention of any information related to the search for the truth and exposing the lies goes way back to the ancient times. Even in the Holy Bible and the 10 Commandments of Moses, God says to Moses, "Do not be a false witness against my neighbor's neighbor". King Solomon was the oldest person in the history of which is known to have tried to define a methodology with which to determine the truth. "Papyrus Vedas", a document dating from the period of about 900 years BC, the ancient Hindu text is the oldest written record of human attempt to detect lies. The document mentions the distinction of verbal and non-verbal symptoms lying. "Erasistratus", 304-250 BC, Greek physician and anatomist was the first to recognize the physiological changes that occur when lying. He noted that his son's heart rate speeds up every time his royal young woman approached him.


Throughout history we can distinguish the various methods used to determine the truth. Here are some of the methods that were used during the formation of modern society. "Method duel", originated about 1,500 years ago - in an era of superstition inquisitors were not looking for evidence or guilt nor believed to be true in general can be determined by examining the accused. It was believed that the truth can only be established with the help of "force majeure". "The Supreme decision" has created a duel between two individuals that decide who is innocent. "The trial of torture" - based on the idea that God would never allow an innocent person to confess something he is not guilty. "The trial of the hot steel"- was created with the Bengal tribes in India, the hot iron was placed on language osumičenog 9 times, burned tongue liar = = death. ""The trial with the help of scales" (India, 600 BC) - measurement was used to determine the truth, the defendant was measured, assessed, and measured again. Should a weight loss at the second measurement, it meant forgiveness.

"The trial of hot water" - another of the primitive ways of checking where the defendant put their hands in boiling water and returned to the assessment the next day, when his hands were scorched meant to lie. Saying "smells like a liar" comes from trials that were once upon a time took place in Africa. "The trial of the red water" originates from the African continent - the defendant was eating rice and drinking gallons of red water, if vomit means that he is innocent. "The trial with the help of holy ass" - originated in the Middle East and consisted of the fact that the defendant sent in a tent with a donkey and he was required to pull the donkey's tail, it was considered that if the ass does not drop a single sound, a person is innocent. "The trial of rice", resulting in India - also have used a method that was naziran on the assumption that the blame can not swallow dry rice, or to regurgitate. Dry rice, that is not swallowed or spit out not mean that a person is guilty. "The trial with the help of bread", created in Europe, 1150 - leads the genesis of customs of the Roman Catholic Church, God would have dried up mouth and the culprit could not swallow bread and cheese.

We'll make reference to the roots of the initial administration of science in the detection of lies and important historical figures and inventions that led to the formation of an instrument called a polygraph.


  • Bonaccio (1313-1375) – writer, wrote about how the patient's heart rate accelerate every time when their other half walks into the room.
  • Galileo (1581) - the inventor of "pulsylogium" heart rate monitor, which is the first recorded objective way of measuring the pace pulse at the wrist of a persons.
  • Lankizi (1728) - Roman physiologist, wrote about how emotions cause mental functions which affects the heart. His theory was the basis for future research activity of the heart when lying.
  • Daniel Defoe - (1730), English novelist and author of "Robinson Crusoe", he was convinced that the pulse is the most reliable methods for the detection of criminals.
  • Stephen Hales - (1733), English clergyman, who first measured the blood pressure and pioneered the use of sphyngomanometr, experimented with horses.
  • Luigi Galvani - (1791), Italian physiologist, discovered the galvanic skin reflex, he experimented with electricity on frogs, as well as in animal magnetism. Laid the foundations of neurology and neurophysiology, was a pioneer of electronic invention, inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein.
  • Dr. Charles Kedi - (1862) found that chlorform is working on a confederade soldier in such a manner that under the influence of his soldiers reveal the secrets of the enemy’s army.

The following text is an overview of the research and application of modern methods related to polygraph, a summary of significant persons and research related to the modern polygraph equipment and technology


Sir Francis Galton (1879), English explorer and anthropologist, has developed a psychological test, association to say, assuming that the guilty suffer from internal conflict and that they give away verbal and physical traces of guilt. Is the first to have used irrelevant questions in the examination.

Cesare Lombrosso (1895), an Italian anthropologist and criminologist, the first person to use the instrument to determine the truth or a lie when giving a testimony. First person to have experimented with criminals outside laboratory conditions. Author of a book on the use of sphygmograph and plethysmograph. Experimented with stimulating subject, including electric shocks. He is the inventor of Hidrosfigmograpoh.

Angelo Mosso (1895), Italian scholar and student, experimented with plethysmography, as well as with how fear affects the heart and breathing. He developed the first sphygmomanometer.

Albert Stiker (1897), a German scientist, who first suggested that the electrodermal activity is to be used in the detection of lies.

Max Wertheimer (1904), a German researcher at the University of Prague, the first that combines technique with words association while using an instrument to record physiological reactions. He was using a plethysmograph, hidrosphygmograph, numograph and Psychograph.

S.Veragut (1907) used the technique of word association with a galvanometer. He invented the term "psychogalvanic reflex", which was later changed to electrodermal response. The change in resistance and conductance of the skin is not a reflex.

Dr.Hugo Mustenberg (1908), professor of physiology at Harvard used a word association to diagnose guilt in people. He did much to encourage the study regarding detection of lies in the United States.

Vittorio Benussi (1914) Italian psychologist, the first to use monitoring breathing patterns while detecting lies, conducted a study on the ration between inhalation and exhalation.

Dr. William Marston (1917), psychologist at Harvard university, developed a technique for measuring blood pressure, developed the first polygraph that measured systolic blood pressure, was a polygraph examiner that tested at the high profile cases a US court, developed the first GN test, as well as the CIT test.

Harold gross (1918), of Harvard confirmed research of Vitorrio Benussi related to breathing patterns, he concluded that the blood pressure is of a greater importance in lie detection than previously tought.

Dr. Ludwig Binswanger (1919) Director "Belevue" mental hospital in Switzerland, carried out a study and examined Veragutove theory, the scientist who first discussed the topic of the theory of "care of the external environment."


Evolution of polygraph instruments and techniques used

Overview of people responsible for the development of the polygraph instrument and modern techniques used in polygraph tests


Dr. John Larsson (1921), a psychologist at the University of California, worked for Berkeley has developed the first polygraph instrument that mesured the blood pressure and breathing patterns, and later developed a portable polygraph, constantly using the polygraph in criminal cases.

Leonard Killer (1925) psychologist, Stanford University, the father "modern polygraph," Larsons student, was credited with many innovations related to the polygraph, such as, the use of pressure gauges, tubes numograph, cymograph, added GSR channel polygraph in 1938. He developed and POT SPOT test, developed by the R / I technique, defended the polygraph, he founded the first school for the polygraph examiners.

Polygraph instrument Kiler model 302c (1925) - an instrument that was recording breathing, cardio activity and GSR, used by the FBI, it costed 450 US dollars.

Photopolygraph (1930) - an instrument that was developed by W. Darow, produced by Stoelting, did not uses ink, it costed 999 US dollars.

Walter G Summers (1932), professor of psychology at Fordham University, experimented with GSR and the control questions.

Berkeley polygraph instrument (1938) - an instrument that was developed by Captain Clarence Li from the Berkeley police, made several improvements over the original Keeler polygraph. Li has also developed a test with control questions and was the first who started to use STIM test.

Keeler polygraph instrument model 6317 (1939) - an instrument that was designed to look like a suitcase, used for the recruitment of soldiers, used by the CIA to detect spies, costed 1,450 US dollars.

Cardio-numo Stoelting (1951) - an instrument that was designed by Clive Baxter, two-channel polygraph, at that time considered a very sensitive polygraph instrument.

Keeler polygraph model 6338 (1952) - an instrument that was produced by an association of researchers from Chicago, the first polygraph instrument with 4 channels, ink was available in multiple colors, it costed 2,350 US dollars.


Methods and basis for modern polygraph instrument

overview of some ideas that we still use nowadays


John Reid (1953), an American lawyer who later joined the police of the city of Chicago, contributed to the further development of the techniques of control questions, has developed a device to detect countermeasures, is the author of several books about the polygraph and detection of deception as well as interrogation techniques, developed the "Reed technique " for interviews and testing as well as the format for the polygraph.

Stoelting model deceptograph 22500 (1955), an instrument that has started its implementation in the army of the United States, is known as the most widespread and most widely used polygraph instrument in the world.

Kliv Bekster

Clive Baxter (1961), an American who left a big mark in the world polygraph, has developed a polygraph program for the CIA, he developed many of the concepts that are verified by independent studies, he developed and taught at Baxter School for Polygraph in San Diego, California. Has developed a ZC test, created SYM questions, SR question, developed a "time bar" concept, developed the concept of "blind" scoring and verification, developed the concept of psychological set, point of analysis and the concept of anticlimax and super dampening. Baxter theories are still widely used everywhere. He was ahead of his time. He developed 7 positions scoring system and also conducted experiments with plants by being connected to a polygraph and experimenting how plants react and emit an electric shock when they are under stress.

Yes-No Technique (1965), testing technique that was first presented by Morton Sinks, a technique in which the examiner asks each question twice. It was found to be less accurate than the techniques with control questions.

Richard Arthur (1966), director of the Baxter polygraph School in San Diego, used a clinical approach to the polygraph, he was experimenting with the GSR in manual and auto mode, it found that there was no significant difference in quality between the two modes of data collection. He developed the Art II, or the technique of marking the beginning and end of controlled stimulants, established "scientific journal of the polygraph," the oldest public publification which mentions polygraph.

Emotional stress monitor Stoelting-22600 (1966) - smaller instrument, easy to carry around and does not require a 30 minute warm-up before use, as the previous version.

Killer model of the series Paceseter 6308 (1967) - an instrument that has the ability to convert from a fixed model in a portable model, costed 1,325 US dollars.

Dr. Wiliam Yankee (1968), a professor at Delta College, advocated for the computerization of the polygraphin order to better quantify the polygraph.

Lafayette model 76056 (1972) - Lafayette Instrument Company, Indiana, produced the first polygraph instrument that used double numographs, its price was 2,148 US dollars.

The voice stress analyser (1973) - an instrument which was produced as an additional item with more means of deception that increases accuracy level. He did not proved to be an accurate and valid. Japanese police conducted a study of tone, intensity and length of the voice, concluded that the chances of detecting a deception are at best 50%. polygraph Institute of the Ministry of Defense in 1996 issued a statement that VSA is not a valid method for the detection of deception.

Dr. James Alen Mate (1974), a person who has conducted numerous studies on the polygraph - "quadrizone", "template graphics," she wrote books on the subject of forensic psychophysiology, how to use polygraph expert examination and cross-examination in the field of forensic psychophysiology.

Stoelting Polyscribe (1974) - the first polygraph instrument that was fully electronic.

Stoelting Ultrascribe (1979) - substitute for Polyscribe instrument, he had the possibility of graphic display of the heart, while cardio channels and numographs could be adjusted at will.

Technique of direct instructed lying (1983-1987) - testing technique which was developed by Dr. David Raskin, the person being tested is to be given instructions to lie on the control questions, according to numerous studies of validity and the level of accuracy, this technique has a slightly the lower lying accuracy than the techniques with control questions.

Polygraph Institute of the Ministry of Defense (DODPI) (1986) - the regulatory body of the United States of America was founded with the aim to control all of the research and training related to the polygraph on behalf of the federal government of the United States. The first director was Dr.Yanki. They moved to Fort Mekklenen, Alabama, in 1989. One mission of the institute is to rank the members of the Ministry of Defense and other federal officials during their polygraph career as examiners. Perform ongoing research related to Forensic Psychophysiology and methods used for assessment of credibility. Manage programs for training and certification, as well as programs for additional training in the agencies for psychophysiological detection of deception, or simply for a polygraph. Manage programs for security, quality control, development, and defining federal standards in polygraph.

Computerized polygraph instrument - research related with the creation of the first computerized polygraph starts in the period from 1986 to 1988, when Stoelting company began producing and marketing in 1991. Bruce White of Axciton systems began researching in 1988 regarding production and transfer from analog polygraph to digital polygraph - computerized polygraph instrument, and Bruce White was the first person to make computerized polygraph instrument on his own.

EPPA - directive regarding the use of polygraph adopted by the US government, closely describes and regulates the protection of workers and employees, there is an abandonment of the concept and scanning capabilities, screening and selecting employees in the private sector using polygraphs. The private sector is allowed to use the polygraph for solving specific issues and specific cases of violation of the business, law, and identify the losses in companies that operate in the private sector. The act itself had a huge impact on polygraphs and polygraph world in general.

Polyscore (1989) - the first computerized polygraph algorithm for assessment and evaluation. Developed by the Johns Hopkins University with the help of data from tests conducted by the company Axciton Systems. Since then many other programs are made - identify, OSS 2 and OSS 3, Vhitestar, Stoelting algorithm and other computerized systems for data evaluation.

Daubert vs. Dow Maerl pharmaceutical company - the judicial process in the United States that had significance for the application of polygraph. The verdict in this trial enabled the courts greater discretion in deciding on the validity of the evidence. The case has opened the door for assessing the status of the polygraph as evidence. He did not applied to the state courts. Probably out of fear that the polygraph test could influence the jury's decision.


Development of polygraph usage worldwide

Usage around the world, outside polygraph place of origin, the United States of America


Japan - started developement of polygraph technology between 1920 and 1930, they began to use the GSR in the detection of deception, they began to make their polygraph instruments, use more GN and CIT tests than tests with control questions. Today, with over 100 psychophysiological experts. The results of the polygraph are recognized as evidence in Japanese courts.

Russia - started developement of polygraph technology in 1920 and began to experiment in words associations in order to detect deception. Today, Russia has two companies that produce polygraph instruments. AVEX polygraph instruments are sold at the local and national level, while Inex polygraph instruments used for international distribution.

China - started developement of polygraph technology in 1940, the Chinese are beginning to import polygraph technology from the United States. They did not produce computerized polygraph instruments until 1991, when they started a research program.

India - started developement of polygraph technology in 1948. They started with the use of polygraph instruments after they send instructors to the school of polygraph in America. They did not recognize the polygraph until 1974. Today it is recognized as a evidence in Indian courts.

Israel - started developement of polygraph technology in 1959. polygraph is used by the national police and secret service Mossad. Today, Israel has over 100 experts in the polygraph and forensic psychophysiology.

South Korea - started developement of polygraph technology in 1960. It is believed to have 123 registered psychophysiological forensics. They did their only purchase of computerized polygraph instruments in 1994.

Canada - started developement of polygraph technology in 1978. Canada opened its first school for a polygraph on the Canadian Police College. Canada has its own manufacturer of computerized polygraph instruments "Limestone Technologies'.

Use of polygraph in the world today - after first 100 years since it was invented the polygraph today is an instrument that is seriously accepted and used worldwide. Polygraph is used regulary by every serious goverment and security agency as the best available instrument of ascertaining and evaluating the credibility, it finds its usage among the 57 countries in the world that use the polygraph in the private and government sectors, at the national and individual levels. Many countries still use the analog and computerized polygraph instrument. United States still continues to dominate globally as far as the usege, application, setting standards and conducting researches related to a polygraph. However, many European countries, as well as countries in Latin America and Asia, are slowly catching up with the United States on this interesting and intriguing field, which is called a polygraph. The polygraph is not yet perfect but it still is by far the best available means for credibility assessment in the world.

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