What is a polygraph?
The term "polygraph" or commonly known as a "Lie Detector" literally means "many writings." The name refers to the manner in which selected physiological activities are simultaneously recorded. Polygraph examiners may use conventional instruments, sometimes referred to as analog instruments, or computerized polygraph instruments.
It is important to understand what a polygraph examination entails. A polygraph instrument will collect physiological data from at least three systems in the human body. Convoluted rubber tubes that are placed over the examinee's chest and abdominal area will record respiratory activity. Two small metal plates, attached to the fingers, will record sweat gland activity, and a blood pressure cuff, or similar device will record cardiovascular activity.