Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The Subject is Dead; The Statement Is Alive
"The subject is dead; the statement is alive."
This is a mantra in the SCAN system developed by Avnioam Sapir, which has been the bedrock for all Statement Analysis taught everywhere. Mr. Sapir's work is at SCAN
"The subject is dead; the statement is alive" means: we analyze a statement; not a person.
Here is an example of such.
If a statement is given where the subject says,
"I got up at 6. Beth got up. We had coffee and I got dressed for work."
What has he told us?
The analysis would conclude that he is not married. A detective runs to the case file and says, "no, right here, he is married to Elizabeth, for 7 years."
The analyst says, "No, he is not married. The subject is dead to us; the statement is alive. It is the statement that is speaking to us, guiding us, giving us critical information that we need. "
The conclusion is: he is not married. Period. The subject, that is, the man himself, the author of the statement is but 'dead' to us and it is his statement which is alive and speaking to us. The case file is not speaking to us right now. It will matter later, but as far as the analysis is concerned: he is not married.
You may argue and say, "He lives in my town. My wife shops with is wife. I know him."
You may argue but you won't win. He is not married.
There is no compromise on this principle: "The subject is dead; the statement is alive." We are analyzing the statement and in the statement, "Beth" is not given a complete social introduction and she is deprived of the status of his wife. This is not indicative of a good relationship and in some cases, may even prove to speak to motive for the crime. For the purpose of analysis, the subject is not married. We now will explore the quality of the relationship within the analytical interview. In the above statement, we are going to explore why it is that he did not introduce her as "my wife, Beth" in his statement. Often times the investigation will end up showing, just why, he deprived her of the status.
When we receive a statement for analysis, we want only one thing: the accusation. We do not want a case file, nor anything else about the case, so it will not impact our analysis. We need only to know why the subject is writing (what he has been accused of) and work it cold.
Instructors gives another excellent example:
A high school girl said she had been raped at school, but her statement had something to say. She was asked to write out her entire day at school.
"I went to bio at 8AM. I went to math at 9AM and we had study hall after. I went to history at 11 and then lunch was at noon. Spanish is at 1PM and language arts is at 2PM. 3PM is dismissal..."
The analyst told the detective: "you must have total faith in the statement." In other words, the subject's words will guide you. She left school at lunch time. If you look at her statement, she did not say she went to Spanish at 1PM and language arts at 2PM: she dropped her pronouns. Unless she can bring herself to say it, she is not committing to it.
The detective said, "I will check into this" and returned and said, "No, you were wrong. I checked the log in and she signed in to class at 1PM."
The analyst said, "No pronoun means no commitment. Check it again. Maybe someone signed in for her. She was not in school after lunch time."
The detective said, "This can't be. She would not leave school; she is an A student!"
The analyst said, "There is no such thing as an A student. The subject is dead; the statement is alive."
The detective went back to the school and checked the sign in sheet and noticed that there was a change in handwriting; she had someone sign in for her.
The girl was confronted with this and admitted that she was not raped, but had left school grounds with a boy her father had forbidden her to see.
The "subject is dead"; that is, we are only analyzing the words, as "the statement is alive."
"If he does not say he is married; he is not married. I don't care what the file says or even a marriage certificate says. He is not married."
"There is no such thing as an A student. I don't care if you have seen her report card and know her family. The statement is guiding you. No pronoun means no commitment and you must trust the statement."
It works, but only in context.