How about one statement with three analysts?
The case of Oscar Pistorius is in the news. Statement Analysis of the case has been done by Kaaryn Gough as well as Mark McClish. In reviewing both work, I find excellence in their work, as well as some great teaching samples.
Here is the statement of Oscar Pistorius, alongside statement analysis done by both analysts. I have added using my own name.
Mark's website is here. Mark gives in person training as well as online training.
Note the ability of both analysts to enter into the subject's personal internal subjective dictionary. The statement is in the form of an affidavit, in italics, with analysts comments in bold type. I have added underlining and color for emphasis.
"On the 13th of February 2013 Reeva would have gone out with her friends and I with my friends. Reeva then called me and asked that we rather spend the evening at home."
Mark: The word then can mean "immediately" which is how people usually want to use it. However, this word can also mean "soon afterward" which is how people usually use it. This means they have withheld some information. Something else occurred before the word then.
Peter: "her friends" and "his friends" are different. Was there a disagreement about this? Note that "we" enters his vocabulary about the two of them spending the evening at home.
"I agreed and we were content to have a quiet dinner together at home."
Mark: When people use the word agreed it sometimes means they first disagreed and then changed their mind. The police should investigate if Pistorius and his girlfriend had a disagreement. Perhaps he wanted to go out with his friends and did not want Reeva to come over that night.
"By about 2200 on 13 February 2013 we were in our bedroom. She was doing her yoga exercises and I was in bed watching television. My prosthetic legs were off. We were deeply in love and I could not be happier. I know she felt the same way. She had given me a present for Valentine's Day but asked me only to open it the next day."
Mark: The phrase "by about" indicates he has skipped over something. He does not tell us what time Reeva came to his house. He does not tell us what they were doing prior to being in their bedroom.
I find it odd that at this point in his statement he tells us that his prosthetic legs were off. I would expect him to state this when he was dealing with the intruder. At this point, there is no reason to tell us this.
The same thing applies to his statement that he and Reeva were deeply in love. He mentions this to convince us that he did not purposefully shoot her.
Peter: The word "we" was used when they were in the bedroom, then the pronouns "she" and "I" enter as they were doing different things.
Overview: We should consider how long it is taking him to get to the shooting. The overwhelming number of deceptive statements have a form that is heavily weighted in the "pre" portion of the statement.
A truthful statement will often look like this:
50% main event
25% post event
When the introduction to the shooting is lengthy, it may not only indicate deception "on its form" but also a hesitation of the subject to get to the shooting, similar to an avoidance.
"After Reeva finished her yoga exercises she got into bed and we both fell asleep."
Peter: he does not write, "we fell asleep" but instead, feels the need to make an emphasis by adding the word "both." This may also show a need to persuade.
Peter: This is an parathentical view: editorializing like as in a story. It is very sensitive as it is:
1. Unnecessary information
2. It is a delay in getting to the shooting (main event)
3. It is explaining the reason "why" something took place, making it very sensitive to Pistorius.
"For that reason" is to explain "why" he had a "firearm" underneath his bed.
Imagine how short a truthful statement would appear?
One might question if "I have been a victim before" is an attempt to garner sympathy.
"During the early morning hours of 14 February 2013, I woke up, went onto the balcony to bring the fan in and closed the sliding doors, the blinds and the curtains. I heard a noise in the bathroom and realised that someone was in the bathroom.
Kaaryn: Change of language from “intruders” to “someone”. It is important to note when a person’s Personal Dictionary changes. People don’t change their language arbitrarily. People use very specific words and are consistent with their language as long as their relationship/experience with the item/person remains the same. A change in language is expected when the relationship/experience with the item/person changes. The change of language from “intruders” to “someone” at this point in the story, tells us that the subject viewed who ever was in the bathroom differently than from those ‘entering homes with a view to commit crime.’ “someone” is neutral and could be anyone, friend or foe, and the use of it at this point in the story tells us that the subject did not consider the “someone” in the bathroom to be an “intruder”.
Also note: “someone” is singular. The subject believed only one person was in the bathroom.
"I felt a sense of terror rushing over me. There are no burglar bars across the bathroom window and I knew that contractors who worked at my house had left the ladders outside. Although I did not have my prosthetic legs on I have mobility on my stumps. I believed that someone had entered my house. I was too scared to switch a light on.
Kaaryn: “someone”—the subject’s language tells us that he still does not consider the person to be an intruder.
Peter: Notice also that he places the emotions in the 'perfect' or logical place in the story, at the height of the action. Since emotions take time to process, deceptive people will sometimes artificially place their emotions in the story. In truthful accounts, emotions are often found in the "after the action" part of the account.
Notice anything anyone reports in the negative: "I did not have my prosthetic legs on" as important to the subject.
Long-term emotions such as being in shock or being frightened occur after the incident is over and the person has time to reflect on what happened or could have happened. The incident itself is so overwhelming these long-term emotions are suppressed. When a deceptive person inserts long-term emotions into his story he usually puts them in the wrong place. He places them at the peak of the incident.
Pistorius tells us that he was in "terror" and was "too scared." Later he will state that he was filled with "horror and fear." These do not appear to be brief emotions but long-term emotions. They also appear to be out-of-place in his story.
Pistorius states that he was "too scared to switch a light on." This does not make sense. Being in the dark usually adds to the stress and fear that one may be experiencing. Turning on the light so you can see what is going on usually helps to alleviate any fears.
"I grabbed my 9mm pistol from underneath my bed. On my way to the bathroom I screamed words to the effect for him/them to get out of my house and for Reeva to phone the police. It was pitch dark in the bedroom and I thought Reeva was in bed.
Kaaryn: “On my way to the bathroom…”—not “as I approached the bathroom…”. “On my way…” is too casual considering the circumstances.
“words to the effect…” – He’s not committing to what he said. The “effect” is more important, which was to “get out of my house”.
Note: He does not include that he informs the someone that he has a gun. Since he doesn’t say this, we cannot assume that he did. One would expect when a person wants to gain control in a situation, he/she would use this information as leverage. It would be an important point in a story that the someone was “warned” that a gun was present. Why doesn’t the subject say this?
Also, if the subject screamed for the someone to get out of his house, this demonstrates that the subject had made the decision to allow the someone in the bathroom to leave of his own accord. In order to do that, the someone would have to open the toilet door in order to exit the house (Keep this in mind for later)*. Again, as part of his efforts to get the someone to leave, one would think that mentioning “I have a gun” would help to prompt the someone to leave.
"I noticed that the bathroom window was open. I realised that the intruder/s was/were in the toilet because the toilet door was closed and I did not see anyone in the bathroom. I heard movement inside the toilet. The toilet is inside the bathroom and has a separate door.
Kaaryn: “Intruder/s”—change from “someone” as said earlier. The change follows the fact that the subject noticed the bathroom window was open. The question still remains, why did the subject originally consider the person in the bathroom to be “someone” but now considers them an “intruder” at this point?. The subject’s relationship with the someone in the toilet has changed.
“I realised that the intruder/s was/were in the toilet because the toilet door was closed and I did not see anyone in the bathroom. I heard movement inside the toilet. The toilet is inside the bathroom and has a separate door.”— The events within a story should be told in the order of how the subject experienced them. Note the order here. The subject realized the intruder/s were in the toilet before he did not see anyone in the bathroom and before he heard movement inside the toilet.
Mark: The word noticed sounds rather casual.
Earlier in his statement he said that "someone was in the bathroom" and that "someone had entered my house." He now changes his language from "someone" to "intruder." It would appear there is not a justification for the change.
If no justification is found, it may be that the subject is not speaking from experiential memory.
Experiential Memory: one that someone experienced.
It can be that one is speaking from memory, but not experiential memory, but memory from a TV program, book, or what someone else said.
"It filled me with horror and fear of an intruder or intruders being inside the toilet. I thought he or they must have entered through the unprotected window. As I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable, I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself. I believed that when the intruder/s came out of the toilet we would be in grave danger. I felt trapped as my bedroom door was locked and I have limited mobility on my stumps.
Kaaryn: “I believed that when the intruder/s came out of the toilet we would be in grave danger.”—not “if the intruders came out…”. The subject was certain the intruders would come out. How did he know this?
“I believed that when the intruder/s came out of the toilet we would be in grave danger.”—“grave” provides the reasoning behind firing the gun. However, there is a conflict in thinking and logic at this point.
Recall earlier note in my analysis at the (*)—the subject claimed he screamed for he/them to get out of his house. This part of the story happened just moments before he believed that when the intruder/s came out of the toilet, that he and Reeva would be in grave danger. In effect, he’s telling us that he was willing to allow the intruder/s to come out in order for them to get out at the same time, making the decision that when he/they come out, “we would be in grave danger”. In other words, he was telling them to get out at the same time he was preparing to fire his gun.
“I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself.”—not “us”. He separates himself from Reeva. However, he does place Reeva first, indicating Reeva was more important than “myself”.
“we”—This is the last time the subject uses this pronoun.
“I felt trapped…”—not, “I was trapped”. “felt” describes an emotional state rather than an actual physical one, and yet he uses physical reasons (my bedroom door was locked…) to explain why he felt trapped. Given the subject uses “I” and the past tense, he is committing to this statement and it is likely true—he felt trapped. But trapped how?
“I felt trapped…”—not “we were trapped”. There was no “we” at this point.
Peter: Now notice that the emotions are now"horror and fear" and are in the logical or "perfect" part of the story. This appears to be artificial placement of emotions. Not only does he express the emotions but to be "filled" with them.
I would also want to know if "stumps" is his normal language.
Mark: We would want to clarify why his bedroom door being locked made him feel trapped. The door locks from the inside which means he could unlock it and get out of the room. Maybe he felt that someone else would not be able to enter the room and provide him with help.
"I fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to phone the police. She did not respond and I moved backwards out of the bathroom, keeping my eyes on the bathroom entrance. Everything was pitch dark in the bedroom and I was still too scared to switch on a light. Reeva was not responding. When I reached the bed, I realised that Reeva was not in bed. That is when it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva who was in the toilet. I returned to the bathroom calling her name. I tried to open the toilet door but it was locked. I rushed back into the bedroom and opened the sliding door exiting onto the balcony and screamed for help.
Kaaryn: Again, change of language from “screamed” to “shouted”. The subject first uses “screamed” when describing how he communicated with the “him/them” in the bathroom and in his communication to Reeva for her to call the police for the first time. However, after he fired shots at the toilet door, his language changed to “shouted” in his communication to Reeva for her to call the police. Why the change? What had changed for him in his experience with Reeva? He had fired shots at the toilet door.
One should note—“screamed” indicates an extreme emotional state and a very loud projection of voice, whereas “shouted” does not necessarily include an emotional state. One can shout simply because of distance or an impediment, such as a door, being between the two. The projection of voice is not as great as a scream.
Also note he included that “She did not respond.” after his second command to Reeva to call the police. One should wonder why he did not say that she had not responded the first time when he had “screamed” at her to call the police. Since he does not say it, we can not assume it happened. Therefore, we can only assume Reeva did not respond when the subject “shouted” to Reeva.
Change of language from “shouted” to “screamed”. Again, the language changed at this point of the story. However, given the events within the story, the change can be explained, making it “justified”. The word “screamed” indicates a highly emotional audio response. Generally, screaming is connected with extreme emotions such as fear, anger, joy. With all three emotions, it’s possible to “scream”
Peter: He has the wherewithal to scream to Reya to phone the police. What does he do when it comes to his own actions? He does not call police but calls someone else to do it for him.
Again, please notice how he feels the need to explain why: here, he explains why he did not turn on the light. This means he anticipated being asked, "Why didn't you turn on the light?" before even being asked. This is very sensitive and is given the color blue as the highest level of sensitivity (SCAN)
Note "dawned on me" sounds like story telling language instead of adrenaline fueled 'fight or flight' activity. To "dawn on me" would be to slowly realize. This sounds very awkward here for good reason: it is split second reaction and instead of honestly reporting it as such, he is story telling with descriptive language and pressing reasons why something happened (or did not happen) instead of reporting the facts.
Mark: Earlier he said that he told Reeva to "phone the police." Now he is telling her again to phone the police. How does he know Reeva did not call the police the first time? He tells us that Reeva "did not respond." Earlier when he told her to call the police he made no mention of her not responding.
Even though he has fired several shots, even though the intruders now know he has a gun, even though Reeva is not responding, he is still "too scared" to turn on the light.