Friday, July 03, 2015

Lie Detector Woman Man

William Moulton Marston was a unique somewhat New Englandish character. Born in the 1890s in Saugus Mass. – educated at Harvard – he is renowned in comic book circles as creator of Wonder Woman at the outset of World War II. A recent book by Jill Lepore, The Secret Life of Wonder Woman, looks at his life. In his time he was a bit of a social revolutionary and polygamist. He studied psychology at Harvard, and did a thesis which tested World War I German prisoners on their truthfulness by measuring their blood pressure. With this and later promotions he became an individual that was a  part of the campaign of history known as feedback -  but as a  pseudo scientist rather as a great innovator. He actually was not the inventor of the lie detector – that mantle goes per Wikipedia to John August Larson of UCal Berkeley. This is worth noting as the history of feedbacks and cybernetics are both racked by misteps…and some outright shamanism. The lie detector or polygraph machine is still marked as a object of pseudo science. It takes two - technology and wistful thinking - to tango. Wonder Woman had a golden lasso that forced truth telling. This and other notions of Marston do stand in the history of feeback. Today, the quest to discern lies through technology continues.

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