What does Wonder Woman have to do with polygraph tests? More than you probably realize.

From a forthcoming episode of PBS's NOVA scienceNOW on the science of crime prevention comes an interesting revelation: William Marsten, one of the people behind the invention of the (oft-maligned) lie-detecting polygraph, is the same William Marsten who created Wonder Woman and her truth-producing Golden Lasso:

"Anyone caught in the lasso found it impossible to lie," writes Manchester Metropolitan University psychologist Geoffrey Bunn in The lie detector, Wonder Woman and liberty: the life and work of William Moulton Marston, "and because Wonder Woman used it to extract confessions and compel obedience, the golden lasso was of course nothing less than a lie detector."

The NOVA scienceNOW episode on whether science can stop crime airs on October 17. Learn more over at PBS.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

It's a little bit more complicated than that. As pointed out by Brian Cronin in his always informative column Comic Book Legends Revealed, the original intention of the lasso was just to make people obedient.

It wasn't until recently - Post-Crisis - that it became the 'Lasso of Truth', a decision possibly informed by the facts that were known about William Marsten during that period, namely he was involved in the creation of the lie-detector.

And yes, I am aware that this is a case of me splitting hairs to an unforgivable degree, but that's the beauty/curse of the comments section.