Monday, February 16, 2015

The Psychology of a Reliable Denial

In teaching Statement Analysis in both police and corporate training, the notion of the "Reliable Denial" is not an easy sell.

The initial incredulity gives way to those amazing "aha!" moments as famous case after famous case is put on a large overhead projector for attendees to see for themselves.

Police may struggle more than human resource professionals, but medical professionals, however, (along with social services) grasp it readily, perhaps due to exposure to addiction.

Addiction, in the business world, is characterized by aggression, hostility and paranoia.  The money a CEO can pull in yields the power of purchase, and cocaine seems to be the landing point. When the addict goes to medical appointments, ripe in denial, the medical professional is on the front line of hearing all sorts of unreliable denials, as the brain does its best to protect itself from being exposed and the source interrupted.  Employees suffer under the unholy trinity of behavior, particularly the paranoia.  The confusion and irrational decision making process, or simply, the lies told, wreak havoc with not only the business, but the lives functioning within the business.

For these, the reliable denial's "aha" moment comes earlier than it does in law enforcement.

The reliability of such a denial is quite high, and if coupled with affirmation, comes as close to 100% as I can describe.  The reason for the stumbling of words here is the "no man can lie twice" rule where:

1.  The subject did it, but is able to give a reliable denial
2.  The subject addresses his lie directly with, "I told the truth."

I have not encountered this in my lifetime.
I have not heard from any analyst who has encountered this in his or her lifetime.
I have not received word from anyone, including casual readers, of this phenomena being broken.

Thus, my struggle with percentages.  For whatever reason:

1. The one who "did it" but is able to say "I didn't do it", being so very rare, is unable to
2.  Look upon his lie, and lie about it.

Something within the psyche of the liar wishes to avoid lying about his lie.

I know, I know, but go with the statistics.

Back to the reliable denial.

It seems ridiculous to believe, at least at first, that a man who killed someone would be hesitant to stand before a television camera and say, "I didn't kill her", but it is true.

As overly simplistic as it may seem, it makes perfect sense psychologically for the guilty to avoid issuing a reliable denial.

"I didn't kill her" would be a very strong denial.  We would need to ask, "Why should we believe you?" listening for the affirmation of the statement with, "Because I told the truth."

We cut off any 'retreat' possibilities, such as,

"If you didn't kill her, did the drugs kill her?" in overdose death cases.

We note that a Reliable Denial consists of:

1.  The pronoun "I"

This must be present.  "Didn't do it" or "didn't kill nobody" avoids using the pronoun "I", which is the one of the strongest and easiest words in the English language for a human to use.  It is one that the human has been using his entire life and needs no pre-thought.  It is instinctive.

Recently, a news story covered a murder case in which the police testified that a man had killed his girlfriend.  The suspect responded, in court, to the police officer with the following statement:

"Everything he said, basically, is a lie."

Let's look at it again:

"Everything he said, basically, is a lie"

1.  "Everything" is all inclusive.  The officer would have to have testified to the subject's name, for example, and date, and address, etc, which means that some things must be truthful, negating "everything" being a lie. When something is all inclusive, it can be readily tested.  This is why some will refer to a failed polygraph and say "I told the truth" as they consider the truthful answers to:

Is your name...?

Is today....?

but lied about "did you...?"

2.  "Everything" is similar to the word "never" in denials.

"never used PEDs" said Lance Armstrong, even as he was drugging.  The word "never" is often substituted by deceptive people, replacing the past tense verb, "didn't" (or "did not").
IF the phrase "never" is used after a reliable denial is issued, it is appropriate, but if it is only used as a substitute, it is not reliable.  In fact, it speaks to vagueness of time, rather than something specifically addressed.  This is critical, psychological, as the spreading out of time, eases the guilt, similar to how guilty parties feel less alone and responsible when they use the word "we", to 'share' guilt.

Psychologically, it is easy to issue a reliable denial.  It has emotional weight to it, due to the confidence behind it.  It puts the 'burden of proof', emotionally, upon someone else because the subject knows that the more it is investigated, the more it will be seen that he did not do it.

We sometimes look for angry responses from the innocent, especially as time passes.

"What would you say if I told you it appears that you are lying?" is met by:

"I would say you're not very good at your job", in many different ways.

When I have a reliable denial, I often ask this question and write the response.  It is helpful in future cases and training.

"It is not possible.  I told you the truth" is also commonly heard.

What else have innocent people told me?

"Get a new job,  You're an idiot. Impossible.  I didn't lie, I told you the truth.  Its your problem.  Keep digging; you'll see."...and much more.

3.  "basically" is a word used to differentiate among other thoughts.  It is to avoid saying, "everything he said is a lie", using the additional word, "basically" (which takes more effort for the brain, going against the 'law of economy' that states the shortest sentence is best.

"This is a lie" is not as strong as  "this is not true" , which is stronger.  By saying "basically", he is acknowledging that there are "basic" things within the testimony against him that are not "lies."

"Everything he said is basically a lie", therefore, not only is unreliable in the form of a denial, but acknowledges that there is truth within the accusations against him.

It is likely that some detail, perhaps small or insignificant, is not true, but the murder accusation, itself, is true.

Next up, I will answer the question posed to me about volunteering my services for attorneys who seek to overturn wrongful convictions...

17 comments:

Paul Flanagan said...

How about a Chris Kyle, Jesse Ventura analysis?

Peter Hyatt said...

Paul,

have a statement for analysis?

Peter

Anonymous said...

peter analyze this:


Jeff Foxworthy on Muslims:
1. If you refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to liquor,
You may be a Muslim.

2. If you own a $3,000 machine gun and a $5,000 rocket launcher, but you can't afford shoes,
You may be a Muslim.

3. If you have more wives than teeth,
You may be a Muslim.

4. If you wipe your butt with your bare hand but consider bacon to be unclean,
You may be a Muslim.

5. If you think vests come in two styles: Bullet-proof and suicide.
You may be a Muslim

6. If you can't think of anyone you haven't declared jihad against,
You may be a Muslim.

7. If you consider television dangerous but routinely carry explosives in your clothing,
You may be a Muslim.

8. If you were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than setting off roadside bombs,
You may be a Muslim.

9. If you have nothing against women and think every man should own at least four,
You may be a Muslim.

10. If you find this offensive and don't forward it,
You may be a Muslim.

tania cadogan said...

off topic

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has been ordered to pay $10m (£6.5m) by an arbitration panel in the US for lying about using performance-enhancing drugs.

Dallas-based SCA Promotions announced the 2-1 ruling on Monday, and filed a motion in state district court to have the award confirmed into judgement.

"According to the arbitrators' written ruling, the sanctions award punishes Armstrong for engaging in 'an unparalleled pageant of international perjury, fraud and conspiracy'," the firm said in a statement.

SCA paid Armstrong about $12m in bonuses during his career, when he won seven Tour de France titles.

He was stripped of his medals after admitting to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2013.


Lance Armstrong Fined $10m In Arbitration Ruling

A panel orders the shamed cyclist to repay bonuses he received from a Dallas-based promotions company during his career.

18:43, UK, Monday 16 February 2015
Lance Armstrong takes part in a special session regarding cancer in the developing world during the Clinton Global Initiative in New York

Armstrong received some $12m in bonuses from SCA during his career

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By Sky News US Team

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has been ordered to pay $10m (£6.5m) by an arbitration panel in the US for lying about using performance-enhancing drugs.

Dallas-based SCA Promotions announced the 2-1 ruling on Monday, and filed a motion in state district court to have the award confirmed into judgement.

"According to the arbitrators' written ruling, the sanctions award punishes Armstrong for engaging in 'an unparalleled pageant of international perjury, fraud and conspiracy'," the firm said in a statement.

Armstrong was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles

SCA paid Armstrong about $12m in bonuses during his career, when he won seven Tour de France titles.

He was stripped of his medals after admitting to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2013.

The high-profile admission prompted SCA to sue to get its money back.

"The $10m award, which must be paid directly to SCA Promotions, is believed to be the largest award of sanctions assessed against an individual in American judicial history," the company said.

SCA disputed the bonuses in arbitration in 2005, at which time Armstrong testified under oath that he did not use drugs. The company settled with Armstrong and paid him $7m in 2006.

"It is hard to describe how much harm Lance Armstrong's web of lies caused SCA but this is a good first start towards repairing that damage," the firm's president and founder Bob Hamman said on Monday.

Armstrong's attorney, Tim Herman, declined comment.

Armstrong also is being sued by the federal government and former teammate Floyd Landis in a whistleblower fraud action over his team's sponsorship contract with the US Postal Service.

That case is not set to go to trial before 2016.

The shamed cyclist recently made headlines after it was revealed his girlfriend took the blame after he hit two parked cars in Colorado.

http://news.sky.com/story/1428662/lance-armstrong-fined-10m-in-arbitration-ruling

Megan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GetThem said...

A good read and I can't wait to see the next topic regarding overturning convictions!

Peter Hyatt said...

thanks, Hobs!~

Anonymous said...

When I was sick last year, my father in law said "We don't want her to die." I wasn't even that sick and was definitely not going to die. He has never liked me.

Sus said...

OT Chris Kyle/Jesse Ventura
In his autobiography, Kyle did not call Ventura by name. He did, however, name him on a radio show. I have that transcribed and can put it on here. Probably tonight or tomorrow.

Seagull said...

Anonymous @ 3.28PM

Can you show me what principles of Statement Analysis you used to arrive at your conclusion?

I can't see it myself but am keen to learn.

Seagull said...

Anonymous @ 4.28PM my bad.

Sridhar Chandrasekaran said...

You have such an interesting blog. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your posts. All the best for your future blogging journey.

Sus said...

Chris Kyle on the "Opie and Anthony Show". There were two radio hosts and I had trouble catching all there comments. I may not have all of their words and I didnt differentiate between hosts. Sorry about the bad language.

Hosts: There's someone on line saying you were in a bar fight with Jesse. Is that true?
Chris: [laugh] Oh, my God. Shit.
H: Is that true?
C: Yes.
H: Oh shit. Oh, let's get into this. Do you mind talking about it?
C: Uh
H: I was going to ask you how you felt about it cause we, I don't know, how do you explain? There was a verbal altercation here. But he used to come on our show and it was alright. We, we didn't argue with a lot of stuff, he was okay. Thank you for your service. But then we had a moment where he walked off the show because we just killed him with knowledge. Yeah, we really did. What happened? In a bar? Yeah, what happened? You were in a bar and...
C: Uh huh [laugh] Uh, Jesus. Uh, we had just come back from our 06 deployment when we lost our guys. We were having a wake for the guy who got the Medal of Honor, Michael M...??, and he happened to be there. He was comin in for a graduatin buds class that he was going to speak to and he was upset with the war. He doesn't agree with it- which is fine. I - you don't have to agree with the war. I just get set there. I don't have to agree with politics. I signed up to serve the country. The country tells me what to do. Uh, uh, he was makin it known that he did not agree with it. I approached him and said, 'Hey, you know..."
H: That's not the place

Sus said...

Part 2
Chris: 'I appreciate it, but we are havin a wake.' It was the SEAL bar there in town. I said, 'We're havin a wake here, the family's here. I would appreciate it if you'd just kinda keep it down.' He told us that we were killin innocent people over there- men, women, children. That we're murderers and, and, you know, what? We can all have our differences. That's fine, but please, just don't upset the family. And then he said that , you know, we deserve to lose a few guys.
H: Holy shit. Jesse said that?
C: Yes.
H: What the fuck is wrong with him? So by the way, all you guys who out there that attacked me because I fuckin attacked him, he really is a douche. What happened when he said that to you. You slugged him?
C: I punched [from Sus...At this point Chris turns his head away from the hosts and I cannot hear if he completes the sentence with "him" as seems natural. I watched it numerous times and cannot hear a "him".
H: You got his ponytail?
C: Nah
H: You punched him. [laughter] Good. Bravo. [overtalk] Where'd you punch him?
C: In the face.
H: That's when you take a headshot.
C: But, uh, I mean Jesse Ventura's , uh, he's, he's an older guy.
H: Yeah, he's an older guy.
C: Of course, all the guys are going to start making fun of me. "So what geriatric [I can't make this out.]
H: So when you hit him, did he hit you back?
C: No, he went down. I don't think he was out. It defiantly took him off balance. He went down and...
H: The ref wasn't looking. They never are. Did his walker fall with him?
C: [laugh] Yeah, I think he fell out of his wheelchair. [laugh]
H: Wow. He went down. You hit a big dude. He's still Jesse the Body. I mean, he's an older guy, but he's a big strong dude. Did he ultimately get up and have to walk out of the place?
C: I don't know. I took off running cause the cops were already outside and as soon as I hit him I knew - a SEAL party, SEAL bar, cops are watching. They saw the whole thing happen so I took off running.
H: Oh yeah, so Jesse Ventura said to a SEAL at a bar where there's a wake for a SEAL, "You deserve to lose a few guys."
C: That's true.

Kris said...

I find this type of work fascinating. The problem is I have a haard time remembering the rules.. I am planning on taking the online couse soon. Any suggestions to helpme keep things in order?

Anonymous said...

Kris,

Lots and lots and lots of practice helps. I read Peter's blog almost every day and use SA in my profession. For better or worse, there is no cook book type instructions for doing SA, rather there are a few mechanical things that most people do followed by a bunch of different principles.

There are also some steps that Peter does not show on this blog such as the physical markup of a statement or identifying deceptive structure; however he does do an excellent job of talking the reader through the physical process.

Overall though, doing SA we'll takes an awful lot of practice so that the principles become natural. Be warned though, one day the switch will click and the dulled listening of your past will give way to actually hearing what people are saying. Peter has said it before and I will echo his words, with much knowledge comes much sadness. Once the switch flipped for me I began learning a lot of things I would have rather not known.

-Akula

tania cadogan said...

Overall though, doing SA we'll takes an awful lot of practice so that the principles become natural. Be warned though, one day the switch will click and the dulled listening of your past will give way to actually hearing what people are saying. Peter has said it before and I will echo his words, with much knowledge comes much sadness. Once the switch flipped for me I began learning a lot of things I would have rather not known.

-Akula


Exactly and well said Akula.

Once learned it cannot be unlearned.
I find i practice on the fly listening to tv ads, the news, reading stories in the media, even chatting to friends (with friends though i don't point out when they are fibbing unless it is a whopper or it is something important that shouldn't be lied about)
I love listening to people chat on the bus or even when taking a breather on a bench when out shopping with mom, it is amazing what i hear.
I find myself picking up on dropped pronouns changing of tenses, minimising and all sorts.
I am also an avid reader and i find myself mentally circling pronouns and the like.

The downside is i find myself tutting at books, grumbling at adverts and rolling my eyes at news reports.
I wouldn't unlearn SA for the world. :)