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"In science fiction one can say a great many things that are unpalatable, because it's expressed as science fiction you can slip it past their defenses."
- Frederik Pohl

Psychic Probe  
  A device capable of discerning truthful information in a living human brain.  

"...I might have made more progress with my prisoner were my Psychic Probe in proper order."

The secretary's eyebrows lifted. "You have a Probe?"

"An old one. A superannuated one which fails me the one time I needed it. I set it up during the prisoner's sleep, and received nothing. So much for the Probe. I have tried it on my own men and the reaction is quite proper, but again there is not one among my staff of tech-men who can tell me why it fails upon the prisoner. Ducem Barr, who is a theoretician of parts, though no mechanic, says the psychic structure of the prisoner may be unaffected by the Probe since from childhood he has been subjected to alien environments and neural stimuli.

From Foundation and Empire, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Doubleday in 1952
Additional resources -

I think that this device is different from a machine that determines whether spoken statements are true or false.

Compare to the psychoprobe from Satellite Five (1938) by Arthur K. Barnes, the mechanical judge from The Lord of Tranerica (1939) by Stanton A. Coblentz, the quizzer from Agent of Vega (1949) by James Schmitz, the truth meter from The Star Beast (1954) by Robert Heinlein, the cephaloscope from The Houses of Iszm (1954) by Jack Vance, the veridicator from Little Fuzzy (1962) by H. Beam Piper.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Foundation and Empire
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