In February, Americans celebrate the birthday of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln—not just beloved leaders but famous symbols of truth-telling as well. Washington wouldn't even lie about his child vandalism of cherry trees (even if that story never really happened) and Abraham Lincoln was "Honest Abe," a lifelong symbol of candor and integrity. Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings believes that honesty is the best policy, so he's here all February to tell us the truth about the art of lying.
The Debunker: Do Lie Detectors Detect Lies?
The story of the modern "lie detector" test began in 1920 with psychologist William Moulton Marston. He theorized that measuring systolic blood pressure could predict a subject's emotional state. Later in life, after a police officer in California had adapted this test into the first polygraph machine, Marston became much more famous for his work in, of all fields, comic books. He created the superhero Wonder Woman for DC Comics, and even gave her a Lasso of Truth. This was a handy accessory that combined Marston's two great loves: lie-detecting, and bondage.