Saturday, October 20, 2012

Understanding Reflective Language

                                         Understanding Reflective Language

Q.  "Did you rape and kill that young girl?"
A.  "I did not rape and kill that young girl."

Question:  Is this a reliable denial?
Answer:    No

It is "unreliable" for analysis.  It does not mean the subject is guilty, nor does it mean the subject is innocent.  It means that the subject reflected back the words of the interviewer.  This is why we attempt to avoid leading questions:  a leading question can be less stressful to lie to because the subject can parrot or reflect back the words.

The above needs to tell us, "I did not kill and rape that girl" while speaking in the Free Editing Process.

For example:

Q.  Tell me what happened?

A.   I don't know what happened.  Are you kidding me?   I did not kill that girl.  I don't know what happened to her or who did it, but I didn't kill her.  I didn't rape her and I didn't kill her.  You need to do your job and find out who did it, but it wasn't me.  I didn't do it."

                   The above would be a very strong indication that the subject didn't do it.

Take a look at Kevin Fox' statement here for a reliable denial.

Here is another way of viewing the unreliable denial (not "deceptive", but "unreliable") on a rape-murder case:

Let us presume that we already know the subject didn't do it:

Q.  Did you rape and kill that little girl?

A.  I did not rape and kill that little girl.

Since this is reflective language, reducing reliability, we seek to lead the subject into telling us, with his own words, he didn't do it.

Q.  Ok, what would you say later if we found out you were lying?
A.  I would say you are wrong.  I told the truth.  I did not kill her.  I didn't rape her.  You have the wrong person here.

Because the subject was able to bring himself, on his own to say both:  "I didn't..." and "I told the truth" it is very likely that he did not do it.

We have "unreliable denials" in subjects who are not asked the right questions, or have not had enough time to talk, or, in the case of some innocents, they do not realize that they are suspects.  It is the skill of the interviewer to bring an "unreliable" denial to the surface.

"I know I didn't do anything..." is weak and unreliable.  Upon hearing this, the trained interviewer will bring out new questions in order to allow the subject to make a reliable denial.  In the case of Jessica Ridgeway, the interview was very poorly conducted.  Simply, he could have said,

"What do you say to those who think you are involved in your daughter's disappearance?"
"Did you take a polygraph?"
"What do you say to those who doubt you?"
...and so on.

                                                      The skill of the analyst:

At some point, an analyst may draw a conclusion, which is where the most care is needed.  In some cases, the unreliable denial is repeatedly noted and the analyst concludes:


The analyst now says:  "The subject is unable it bring himself to say he didn't 'do it'; therefore, we are no permitted to say it for him. "

With reflective language, we only need some follow up questions to get the subject to choose his own words in order to draw a conclusion.

An "unreliable denial", as a status, means just that:  We are not saying he 'did it' or that he 'didn't do it', but that he entered into the language of another.  Even moving a single sentence or two away from the Interviewer's language can signal that the subject is now speaking on his own.

Regarding sound bites:

Sound bites can be useful and helpful, or they can deliberately cut out context (attempt to persuade) in order to color it.  At times, what one says is shocking, until we hear the context, and even though we may not like what the subject has says (or agree) we see that:

By cutting out context, there is a colorization of the words.  This means a deliberate attempt in editing is done to persuade listeners.

Stewart was talking about "optimal" security and the President responded with the obvious, shooting down in the negative, what Stewart was offering.

I don't agree with the President's words but the words should not be taken outside of the context.

In context they do not look good; but they take on a far worse appearance in a sound bite.

A sound bite that attempts to color words is deceptive.  A soundbite can be legitimately used if we do not need the preceding words for clarification.

If the intent is to color, it is deceptive.  If the soundbite simply captures the subject's own words, the words should stand on their own.

Lance Armstrong issued unreliable denials, beginning in 1999 and has done so, consistently up to 2012.  If he were to now, stand before a microphone and say "I did not use EPO" it would be a lie against reality, and very rare, indeed.  We generally do not see this, and if we do, it is often a prepared and read statement.  Upon engaging in conversation, it is not likely to be heard during the free editing process.

Even with a reflective answer, just a sentence or two from the subject can bring him into the free editing process, where he is choosing his words for himself.

Those with an agenda who seek to prove one thing or another can take the principle of reflective language and use it to persuade.  This is a form of deception.


Tania Cadogan said...

off topic

GRESHAM, Ore. – Searchers found the body of a young Oregon woman who vanished this week on her way to work and a neighbor has been arrested, Gresham police said late Friday night.

The body of Whitney Heichel, 21, was found on Larch Mountain, a remote, forested area east of Gresham, Police Chief Craig Junginger told a news conference.

After collecting DNA and fingerprints and conducting three interviews over three days, police arrested Jonathan Holt, 24, of Gresham, for investigation of aggravated murder, the chief said.

Holt lived in the same apartment complex as Heichel and her husband.

The Starbucks barista reportedly left her apartment for work at about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday on a drive that typically takes less than five minutes.

Her husband, Clint, called police roughly three hours later. He told investigators he tried to reach Whitney multiple times after her boss alerted him that she never arrived for her 7 a.m. shift.

Police said Heichel's ATM card was used at a nearby Troutdale gas station at 9:14 a.m. Tuesday. Two hours later, her sport utility vehicle was found in a Wal-Mart parking lot with the passenger side window smashed.

A child later found her cell phone in a field that lies between the gas station and the Wal-Mart, giving investigators another venue to search.

Police have been searching Larch Mountain since Wednesday, believing that Heichel's SUV was driven there.

Detectives interviewed Holt on Wednesday and Thursday before arresting him during a Friday night interview, the chief said.

There were "many inconsistencies" in Holt's interviews, Junginger said.

Additional crime lab evidence received Friday morning tied him to Heichel's vehicle, the chief added.

It was not immediately known if Holt was represented by a lawyer.

Jim Vaughn, a family spokesman, addressed the Friday night news conference, thanking police for their commitment in the case.

"Really, words can't begin to express the sadness that our families are experiencing tonight," Vaughn said.

"Whitney was a very loving person," he added. "She was warm, she was kind, she was everything you would want in a friend, relative, spiritual fellow worshipper."

He asked for privacy for the family, saying "our loss and heartache is too much to bear right now."

Police took no questions

Read more:

John Mc Gowan said...

Hi hobs,has anyone analysed statements of the people who were allegedly abused by Jimmy Saville?

John Mc Gowan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tania Cadogan said...

Hi John there have been few if any statements issued from victims for me to analyse, i haven't heard of anyone else analysing at the moment.

In an interview savile did he was asked about the rumors, he said they were utter nonsense,
As we both know, that is not a reliable denial and if he can;t deny it neither can we.

I fully expect other celebs to be involved, glitter and king are 2 i suspect since music is the common link.
Freddie starr made a comment i will have to look at again, from what i recall there was no reliable denial. It was a comment in an article rather an an interview. I would be happoer if it were an interview and i knew what was asked and how.

What is clear is that the BBC knew and various charities and institutions knew or suspected yet said nothing.
This is going to get very messy and heads will roll.
The question now is who else was and is involved.

John Mc Gowan said...

Hobs, I have recorded a few interviews from This Morning I am going to convert them to text and have them posted soon,including the Freddie star interview...

John Mc Gowan said...

Isnt reflective language also used to build rappor and if so how can that be deceptive .?

Tania Cadogan said...

Thanks John, i look forward to reading them and seeing what is to be seen.

Tania Cadogan said...

john said...
Isnt reflective language also used to build rappor and if so how can that be deceptive .?

By using reflective language we do not know what the subject really thinks.
When it is used to build rapport it is being used to make the subject comfortable, safe and secure, that they will then speak more openly revealing perhaps more than they intended.

Deception on the side of the interviewer so they get a better response from the subject

Deception on the side of the subject who appears to be friendly and open whilst often being the exact opposite.
Not only what was asked and responded to in free editing also what was asked and not responded to in free editing.

Reflected language means we are analysing the interviewer not the subject.
If a subject has a need to reflect the language of the interviewer on a question, we need to ask ourselves why?
Why can they not give an answer in their own words using free editing?

Anonymous said...

Ref Clint, the husband of Whitney; This just goes to show you how some of you pick apart every word of the so-called suspect you zero in on, making them look, sound and appear guilty when they aren't.

This husband had nothing to do with this poor girl's death. Shame on you all. Witches brew.

John Mc Gowan said...

Cheers hobs..