Friday, July 17, 2015
"Honestly" in Statement Analysis
A quick read would conclude, "the person said,'honestly', so it means he is lying."
This is incorrect.
To use the phrase, "honestly" indicates a change of sorts, for the subject. It is associated with deception, but the deception itself cannot be gleaned from this single indicator.
Here are some examples,
"Honestly, you don't need this medication any longer" said a doctor to elderly female patient.
What did this signify?
It may be that the doctor, due to laws of confidentiality, as well as the incessant flow of patients who self-diagnose, causing him to carefully watch his words, is attempting to reach his patient, perhaps in a world of placebo and confidentiality.
In fact, professionals who practice confidentiality (including medical, social services, and even law enforcement) regular are deceptive via withholding information. It is not an unethical deception, but a practical one: they routinely withhold information from people, including information that they are thinking about at the time of the statement which may give linguistic indication of such.
The word "honestly" shows that the subject is not always honest. This can be a professional deception, as in a case where a young prosecutor goes home, thinking about a case that weighs heavily upon him, with a burden to unload, knowing he cannot talk about it. Perhaps even more pressure is upon a therapist who has a bizarre case, or even a celebrity, who has confided a dark secret. The therapist, like all humans, has a need to talk, but cannot. If she is talking to family, while thinking about what the celebrity told her, she may be willfully attempting to avoid disclosing what is on her mind:
it may likely show up in her language.
"Honestly" is also the language of 'polite deception' in society, as "Honestly, your hair style looks nice" from a normally reserved or quiet person who is breaking his habit of non-commenting.
"Honestly" is also frequently found in the language of criminals and in a police statement, it is often an indicator that the subject has not been honest up to this point in the statement.
Rather than conclude "deception", it is more a "take note!" warning to the reader/analyst.
In a police statement, the setting (context) is an accusation. This is important to remember in the "expected versus unexpected."
In all figures of speech, as well as habits, we ask:
"What has caused this to arise here?" followed by "What caused it not to arise elsewhere?"
"You know" is a good example.
Does the person say it every sentence? Doubtful.
We note what topic causes it to present itself in the language, as well as all the other assertions that did not cause it to be used. "You know" is a signal that, at this point in the statement where it has arisen, the subject is acutely aware of the Interviewer's presence at this point. In public speaking, substitute "the Interviewer" for "the audience" and the same principle applies.
What topic was part of the sentence that caused this awareness to increase? Why this topic, and not other topics?
Then we begin our series of internal rhetorical questions of "why?"quietly, or in our note taking, with the intention of re-visiting the specific wording that produced "you know" in the subject's language.
Therefore, we note "you know" everywhere in a statement.
When you hear "honestly", it may be:
a. The person has been less than honest or "forthcoming" prior to this;
b. The person is being honest at this point, wanting to be believed;
c. The person is now deceptive, calling up a strengthening word to buttress the weakness of deception;
d. The person has an association with deception
e. The person has a professional association with deception, such as professionals (Try asking a HR professional personal informant about a fellow employee and you'll hear this word because the professional withholds personal information from others routinely)
f. The person has an association with social deception
g. The person is a criminal
h. The person is a sales person who routinely is deceptive
The many variables all require due diligence and not a rush to judgement in deception indication.