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A polygraph (Greek for "many writings," reflecting the multiple readings that are recorded simultaneously) (popularly referred to as a lie detector) is an instrument that measures and records several physiological responses such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, breathing rhythms, body temperature, and skin conductivity while the subject is asked and answers a series of questions, on the theory that false answers will produce distinctive measurements. The polygraph measures physiological changes caused by the sympathetic nervous system during questioning.
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