Suspicious By Nature
by Peter Hyatt
When I deal with an applicant in Statement Analysis training, it is often at the request of the subject's superior, particularly in business.
Statement Analysis training provides traction for any career in which communication discernment is beneficial. I often focus upon Human Resources because:
1. Many who rise within Human Resources are naturally talented
2. Human Resource interviewing has a larger impact upon the health of a company than most recognize.
3. Human Resources often are needed for internal investigations, complaints, disputes and even rights violations and suits. Expertise in interviewing can cause one to rise through the ranks, perhaps even into senior management of a company that recognizes excellence.
I also appeal to therapists, counselors, psychologists and social workers as the social services field is an incessant unpredictable land mine of change. In fact, surprise is the only constant, as a problem can arise without notice, due to the complexity of human nature.
Many professionals can find their careers moving ahead due to the ability to discern, directly from the training in analysis of words, if the applicant is predisposed to this particular field, and will apply lots and lots of practice.
I liken it to one who learns all the basic chords on the guitar; knowing where to place the fingers. This can be done in just a few weeks, or even days, yet it takes years of practice to reach proficiency. Not a "natural talent", I kept a journal of five years of my practice, taking video lessons from www.homespuntapes.com.
I love playing and can play for myself or family but as I look back on my practice diary, I averaged almost 10 hours per week, at one point, for two straight years and 1000 hour mark realized great gains in playing. After that point, I continued to work hard but found the gains realized were diminished. I am not a natural.
When Happy Traum heard a song I recorded, he said, "Don't quit your day job."
Imagine more than 1,000 hours dedicated to Mr. Traum's specific trainings and recommendations and hearing that?
I smile as it is true.
I will, however, play for children and grandchildren at Christmas and if I was at a restaurant and there was enough alcohol flowing, I could quietly pick the guitar in the background for up to 60 minutes and make people smile. Yet, when listening to the recordings, the imperfections rise to the surface as the gap between amateur and professional is vast. I am not a natural talent.
I love chess, but must work, repeatedly, (against my aging brain) to be mediocre. I am not a talent in chess, but enjoy playing.
Who is good at lie detection?
Once you dismiss the "Lie to Me" television series myths, you are left with, surprise, surprise, hard work and a decision whether or not once possesses talent...
In the "real" world, such as Human Resources, a professional cannot lean into some one's face and say, "Yep. There it is! You're lying, mate!" and retain his or her position. It's entertaining on television, but then again, some people think Chuck Norris single-handed defeating 1000 North Vietnamese soldiers entertaining, or think that the Zombie Apocalypse will provide business opportunities for food storage.
Professionals cannot rely upon nonsense as they know that peoples' lives are at stake. It is one thing to post anonymously, "I know she is lying! I know it!" and quite another thing for a professional to make a decision based upon analysis.
Accuracy is key.
Regarding "talent" in Statement Analysis, I present the work of Kaaryn Gough, who's work here at the Statement Analysis blog is well documented. She has not only the self discipline of staying within principle, but an amazing (and rare) imagination that allows her to "enter into" the statement, in a way in which John Douglas appeared to "enter into the mind" of serial killers. (Ever read Mind Hunter?) Her work in the Dylan Redwine case reveals her talent, as well as her commitment to excellence.
In conducting training seminars the past few years, I have been able to divide applicants into two categories initially, before getting into such other attributes such as:
and so on.
I first begin with:
Suspicious by nature or Trusting by nature, and work from there.
Suspicious by nature is the category in which training will not be useful or beneficial. This is not a moral judgement, for many good people are suspicious by nature due to early childhood trauma.
They struggle with the single most important principle in lie detection:
Presupposition of truth.
Avinoam Sapir, the grandfather of all Statement Analysis (no matter the brand label) calls it "total faith in the subject", that is, the words chosen should always be considered reliable and trustworthy, unless we are confronted with something quite unexpected.
This means that we approach a statement believing the subject is telling the truth and as he chooses his words in a micro-second, these words will guide us.
In larger trainings, I begin with a "pop quiz", verbally, with random statements and ask aloud for students to raise their hands if they believe the statement is deceptive.
I take careful note of the hands that continually go up at truthful statements.
This suspicious person will not be successful in Statement Analysis training and can, in fact, cause much difficulty with this new "weapon."
There is second, sub class of those who are "suspicious by nature" which I must address. This classification may or may not be born of childhood trauma, but perhaps by childhood neglect.
It is the liar.
The liar, for this purpose, is one who lies when there appears to be no reason to lie.
It is not the "polite liar" who likes to say "you look so slim!" while my belly strains the leather fibers in my belt.
It is not the "panic liar" who says, "I was at work at 9!" when, in fact, it was only 9:20AM, who later feels remorse over the lie.
This is the person of whom lying is a childhood pattern that is so ingrained, that he or she will lie even when there is no cause to lie, and expects to get away with the lie, no matter how transparent. This one lacks self awareness (or sometimes called, "emotional intelligence") and the humility necessary for self corrective learning.
We all project.
The greater the self awareness, the more readily acknowledged is the projection and the correction of such, which is why emotional intelligence is often prized above grade point average on a job interview.
In short, they believe everyone is lying, and everyone is guilty. They see guilt everywhere.
They believe that everyone is lying because of projection.
Statement Analysis is based upon the presupposition of truth.
We begin with the statement (written or oral) to guide us because it is true. Even when being deceptive, we find that most sentences are true. We have analyzed statements here that were 100% truthful, line upon line, without a single lie, yet we concluded:
This is because 90% plus of all deception comes from withholding information. (not from a quirky eyebrow, or a twitch of the lower facial muscles).
Lie Detection is hard work.
It takes solid training and then it takes many hours of practice each week.
Even after years of work, I still like to send a critical statement to another analyst for review. This coincides with Mr. Sapir's "40% Principle" in which the human brain, intelligence and emotions in play, follow through a statement for a conclusion, but if the same statement is put away for a "cooling off period" of time, in which, especially, there is an emotional disconnect (or simple forgetfulness), the same statement may yield up to 40% more information for the analyst!
This is a tough principle because often a professional is waiting for an answer from me, yet I have reviewed statements years later, agreed with my analysis, yet asked, "Why did I miss this??" in frustration.
It is, I believe, due to the emotional 'train ride' that a statement takes one on, and is why anonymous letter work takes extraordinary imagination organically linked with humility because, sometimes a simple word will make you change from:
young, uneducated female, to
middle aged, highly educated male, to...
Mr. Sapir says that it is not just that every sentence matters, or even that every word matters, but that even a single letter, or a single punctuation mark may contain information not readily seen.
One more sub-category is the street police officer who scores poorly on lie detection tests. This may be due to becoming slowly jaded, over time. I do not dismiss this category as "unteachable" until I am able to learn if the subject:
a. possesses good self awareness
b. was previously a trusting person
c. is honest by nature
The jaded, but truthful officer will learn, if application is given.
2. The Gullible
I smile when I hear someone say "Oh, I am so gullible. I think everyone is telling the truth."
As an instructor, this is my favorite applicant. This person will not struggle with presupposing truth. The only struggle this person may have (given the other factors are in place: humility, intellect, drive and ambition, and so forth) is with the Reliable Denial. It is, at times, hard to embrace that something this simple can be as accurate as it is. More on this another time.
The gullible one is self described, which is key. If one does not see his own gullibility, we have something entirely different to work with.
The one who has the intelligence of discernment, the emotional intelligence of self awareness, yet believes that everyone is telling the truth is telling you something very important:
He or she is a most honest person.
Human Resource professional: don't miss this.
The person who lies in the interview process is many times more likely to:
fall and file worker's comp,
lie about work hours,
cause disruption in morale,
steal anything from product (shrinkage) to clients (poaching).
There is nothing good to come from this problem-starter who joins your company.
The gullible must be self aware.
The non-aware gullible person is a danger.
Years ago, I met a young man, shook hands, and spoke to him, introducing myself, and simply asking him a few questions about his employment.
"How long have you been here?"
"Where did you work previously?
Seemingly innocuous questions of which I ask routinely, of employees I am introduced to. I know that they are nervous and the order in which they speak shows priority.
I walked away from him with the mental note of "drugs" in my mind, and reminded myself to call him in for an interview.
He was polite, intelligent and somewhat 'charming' (as that goes) and when I returned to the office, I spoke to the person who interviewed him. He was described as "charming" and knew all the right answers.
The next day I received a phone call stating that he was observed 'in town', pulling over, getting out of his car at what appeared to be random stops, going over to another car, leaning in, and then getting back in his car, off to his "next stop."
I called him and asked him, "Hey, where are you right now?" and he said, "in town,"
I said, "Have you made any stops?"
He answered, "Have I made any stops here? Well, I guess I stopped to get something for my client to eat."
Readers here know that when one answers a question with a question, the question, itself, is sensitive.
I instructed him to return to the office, and spoke to him for a few minutes.
I said to him that he appeared to have a "second job" that, as an older man to a younger man, I cautioned him that it would lead to no good. I told him that I would accept his resignation and leave things at that, unless he felt a need for further explanation on my part.
He said "Uh, no thank you."
How did I know, 24 hours prior, that he was involved in the drug trade?
In the 2 minutes that he and I spoke, introducing ourselves one to another, he mentioned "medicine" in a way that was not necessary.
The brain knows, as Kaaryn says.
When he saw me, he immediately thought of drugs and the clients we serve have medications that are desirable for re-sale, so extreme measures must be taken for safety. '
If you were dealing drugs on the side and your boss approached you, what would your guilty mind be thinking of?
The following day, I received letters from staff stating that they believed their co-worker was a drug dealer. One called me and said, "When he got back from meeting with you, he told me that I better lie about his stops. I was in the car with him and he didn't want you to know about his stops. He said he had to buy cigarettes at one stop, but I watched him go into the foyer, but not into the store. He handed a man something and the man handed him something but I could not tell what it was. "
I assured them that their co-worker was their former co-worker.
Imagine the damage that could be done to lives including the co-worker who, if there had been a stop and search, could have been arrested "in concert" with the drug dealer.
Statement Analysis provides traction to careers in ways you might not have considered.
The self aware, truthful person will often project this honesty upon others
This subject is a good candidate for lie detection.
The suspicious person, whether due to trauma, the job, or the lack of instruction in childhood against deception, is heavily challenged to learn Statement Analysis and can take its tools, and use them to harm the innocent, and can bring destruction upon lives and companies.
The habitual, or pathological liar will do harm.
Not everyone is meant to handle a very sharp razor. My 12 year old is learning to shave, but not with my straight razor.
We are responsible for the use of our tools. The same 12 year old plays hockey and is told, repeatedly, by his coaches: "you are responsible for your stick" and "accidental" whackings with a hockey stick are his responsibility.
Statement Analysis should not be used to needless hurt, ridicule or destroy the dignity of another. It should not be used to reveal embarrassing personal information, either.
Being caught in a lie, in an investigation, is humiliating, which is the result of lying, but it is in the personal realm that the words of Mr. Sapir still echo within me:
practice on your friends and you might find yourself without friends.
In public crimes, analysis reveals the truth. You have, however, seen some sensitivity indicators, from the innocent, ignored.
I have also written extensively on the majority of time, within the business world, in which no word should be spoken against the lie. You won't survive in business, for example, if you point out each time your supervisor is deceptive. This is where the self awareness comes into play. There are many fields in which confidentiality means "withholding information" and gaps in language are expected.
Embrace human frailties, especially as your skills grow. There is a sadness to "knowing" and it may make you feel "alone."
Yet, "there goes I, but for the Grace of God" should be remembered. We all make mistakes. Those who grow from them are the most successful.
Mercy and justice are not mutually exclusive.
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