Despite lingering reservations about its effectiveness, the polygraph is gaining traction with law enforcement. The lie-detection program has spiked 53% in the last decade, and truth be told, just the threat of a test keeps convicts honest, drug addicts and sex offenders told the Wall Street Journal. “Don’t believe anyone who tells you polygraph doesn’t work,” one Oregon pedophile said.
Critics maintain the nearly century-old test fails about 10% of the time. Subjects can fool it, experts add, by biting their tongues and squeezing their gluteal muscles. One study concluded polygraphs perform “well above chance, though well below perfection.” Still, police use them to catch parole-violating convicts. “With polygraph, they know they’re going to be found out,” explained a researcher.