Wonder Woman’s Lie Detector

Wonder Woman’s “Lasso of truth” was a failsafe way to defeat criminals

I’ve just been reading about lying. Isn’t this fact great: William Moulton Marston, inventor of the lie detector, was also a feminist campaigner and the creator of Wonder Woman! It’s even more brilliant when you remember that Wonder Woman’s superpower was a magic lasso that could force villains to tell the truth!

I don’t know about magic lassos, but some modern lie detectors probably do work, because they measure breathing, sweating and blood pressure. Deceiving puts the body under a lot of stress.

You can get a lot from just looking at people. Studies show that liars touch their face more, look away, swallow too much and talk more cautiously (they use more words – “I did not do it” instead of  “I didn’t“).

Gregory Peck takes on the Mouth of Truth in Roman Holiday. Love how genuinely worried Audrey Hepburn looks here.

Not all lie detectors are high tech though. It was said that if a liar put their hand in the ancient Roman “Mouth of Truth” it would get bitten off!

A bit of untruth can be useful sometimes. Here’s a painfully honest first date, from The Invention of LyingContinue reading


What is Deception

Our ability to deceive one another is linked to our high level of self-awareness. Deception is a unique trait that separates us from the animal kingdom. We lie to each other for personal gain; it’s a mechanism that monkeys use on a primal level.

Art of the State: Banksy

Monkeys usually call out to others when they find food so that they can share it; sometimes the monkey that finds the food will not call out to others and in a bid for self-preservation, it will hoard it all instead.

I suppose the reward is far greater than the risk; evidence suggests that our ability to recognise deception is about 53% accurate. Deception is a survival trait that we pass onto our babies; at its most basic level deception is self-preservation.

Ali x

New Scientist: The Truth About Lies