How do you trap someone in a lie? For centuries, all manner of truth-seekers have used the lie detector. In this eye-opening book, Geoffrey C. Bunn unpacks the history of this device and explores the interesting and often surprising connection between technology and popular culture.
The lie detector figures prominently in many headline-producing criminal cases, including one of the most infamous in modern memory: the O. J. Simpson murder trial. The use of the lie detector in this and other cases brings up many intriguing questions that Bunn addresses in this work: How did the lie detector become so important? Who uses it? How reliable are its results? Bunn reveals just how difficult it is to answer this last question. A lie detector expert concluded that O. J. Simpson was "one hundred percent lying" in a video recording in which he proclaimed his innocence; a tabloid newspaper subjected the same recording to a second round of evaluation, which determined Simpson to be "absolutely truthful."
Lie detectors and other truth-telling machines became deeply embedded in American popular culture after the Charles Lindbergh "crime of the century" in 1935. Since then, they have factored into the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas sexual harassment controversy and such high-profile criminal cases as the Oklahoma City and Atlanta Olympics bombings. Well-known brands Isuzu, Pepsi Cola, and Snapple have advertised their products with the help of the "truth machine," and the device has also appeared in countless movies and television shows.
Bunn finds fascinating the lie detector's ability to straddle the realms of rational science and sheer fantasy. He examines how the machine emerged as a technology of truth, transporting readers back to the obscure origins of criminology itself, ultimately concluding that the lie detector owes as much to popular culture as it does to factual science.
Any with an interest in criminal justice or general social issues will find this a compelling account. Midwest Book Review 2012
|Introduction: Plotting the Hyperbola of Deception||p. 1|
|"A thieves' quarter, a devils den": The Birth of Criminal Man||p. 7|
|"A vast plain under a flaming sky": The Emergence of Criminology||p. 30|
|"Supposing that Truth is a womanùwhat then?": The Enigma of Female Criminality||p. 51|
|"Fearful errors lurk in our nuptial couches": The Critique of Criminal Anthropology||p. 75|
|"To Classify and Analyze Emotional Persons": The Mistake of the Machines||p. 94|
|"Some of the darndest lies you ever heard": Who Invented the Lie Detector?||p. 116|
|"A trick of burlesque employed... against dishonesty": The Quest for Euphoric Security||p. 134|
|"A bally hoo side show at the fair": The Spectacular Power of Expertise||p. 154|
|Conclusion: The Hazards of the Will to Truth||p. 174|
|Essay on Sources||p. 237|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
For Ages: 22+ years old
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 25th May 2012
Dimensions (cm): 23.1 x 16.4 x 2.276
Weight (kg): 0.492