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The Truth Hurts

Scientists question voice-based lie detection

2:56pm, June 18, 2010

Truster-Pro and the Vericator may sound like devices Wile E. Coyote would order from the Acme Co., but they are real technologies for detecting lies. Unlike the traditional polygraph, which zeroes in on factors such as pulse and breathing rate, these analyzers aim to assess veracity based solely on speech.

Police departments shell out thousands of dollars on such devices — known collectively as voice stress analyzers — in an attempt to tune in to vocal consequences of lying. Airports are considering versions for security screening purposes, and insurance companies may employ the polygraph alternatives to detect fraud.

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