Monday, September 7, 2015

The Passage of Time in Analysis : "Immediately"

The Passage of Time in Analysis 
by Peter Hyatt 

The passage of time in analysis is seen as a measurement or indicator of experiential memory in play, or a memory that proceeds from another source.  

The skill of the analyst is not tested in memorization, though this is an important element, but in application and context.

The following are two statements in which the word "immediately" are used, with the second statement having the word repeated.

1. "He was walking backwards and hit his head falling.  I checked on him and immediately called 911 as he was unconscious."

2.  "I took the appropriate steps and immediately alerted the board.  As his behavior was obvious, I knew that immediate knowledge was necessary."

In these statements, the first was indicated for deception, while the second was deemed "reliable."  What is the difference?

Context was key.

"He was walking backwards and hit his head falling.  I checked on him and immediately called 911 as he was unconscious."

Should mere memorization be employed, both statements appear troublesome regarding the element of timing.

In this statement, the subject has some interesting points:

1.  "He was walking" is to show an element of time passing.  He does not commit to "He walked backwards" instead opting for "was walking" which is an 'incomplete activity', which should draw our attention on its own.  When enough of these written statements is done, the investigator will begin to 'hear' this subtle verb change, on the fly.

We are forever asking questions, seeking to understand what influences language.  The more questions we ask and obtain answers to the more we learn.

Question:  To whom might we address questions of language to frequently, so that we might engage in higher learning?

Answer:  To oneself.

Unless you suffer from mental illness, or acute unresolved psychological disturbances, you will greatly benefit from continually listening to your own wording, asking yourself as to the reason for choosing your words in the manner which you did, and exploring with your spouse (or most common recipient of your words) the cause and result of your choice.

"I think it was an accident."

On New Year's, 2015, then police chief William McCollum, having taken a loaded, open-safety firearm to bed with him, shot his wife, Maggie, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.  He was convicted of a misdemeanor offense, resigned his position, and served no incarceration.  The prosecutor did what he could with the evidence he had.

The 911 call showed deception as to bringing the gun to bed, as well as extreme distancing language from his victim:  he did not once utter her name.

This was his third or fourth marriage (depending upon reports) and his second marriage (or common-law union) with Margaret, his ex wife. He was an expert in firearm safety.  The victim's co workers were reported to have warned her not to move back with him as she allegedly shared with them a fear of him being domestically violent, or threatening, to her, previously.

She was asked about the shooting and was quoted as saying, "I think it was an accident."

This is to express doubt with the word "think", allowing for someone else to think contrary, or even for the subject, herself, to change her mind.  This is called a "weak assertion."

Being a "weak assertion" is only deemed appropriate or inappropriate depending upon context.  Should I have a need to express uncertainty and say, "I think I locked my keys in the car", due to my lack of conviction, the weakness of the assertion is appropriately viewed.

I asked my wife Heather what she would say in the circumstances of McCollum's victim.  She said she would say, "It was an accident."

I posed this same question to others, both males and females, and found a correlation between quality of relationships and strong assertions.  In fact, I had only one female report the word "think", and she has since separated from her husband.

The key to understanding the weak versus strong assertion is context.  Both males and females who perceived themselves to be in good relationships did not feel the need to weaken the assertion with "think."

When this statement, "I think it was an accident" is viewed next to the transcript of the 911 call, even without the testimony of friends, only the complete lack of social introduction in the call, the weak assertion is fitting or appropriately used as social introductions in Statement Analysis give us insight into the verbalized perception of the quality of the relationship.  Context guides us towards a conclusion.

That the above statement dealt with an unconscious victim the word "immediately" is unnecessary.

1.  It is an element of time
2.  It seeks to shorten the length of time
3.  It comes after a lengthening of time ("was walking")

Hence, time, as an element, is of vital importance to the subject.

There is yet another hint of something amiss in his statement.  Note that time is not only a sensitive topic to the subject, but memory works in time when we are truthful.

When Casey Anthony was asked why her car smelled like a dead body had been in it she said,

"Dead squirrels crawled up into the engine."

In Statement Analysis we do not 'interpret' but listen.  Memory, when it is experiential, works in time, specifically:  chronological time.

If you were to interpret Casey's words, you would become a partner of hers in deception.  The statement she made did not come from experiential memory, which is why it is out of order.  Squirrels that are dead, cannot climb.

Remember:  the average person has about 25,000 words within their vocabulary and when asked "What happened?" must go into this vast library, choose the words to use, the tenses, and the syntax, all in less than a micro-second of time.  This speed of transmission gives us our extreme accuracy rates.

Note the chronology (passage of time) in this account, besides the verb tenses used.

"He was walking backwards and hit his head falling.  I checked on him and immediately called 911 and he was unconscious."

"He walked backwards, fell, hit his head and was unconscious."

In the subject's statement, his head was hit before the fall.

The conclusion of the matter:  this subject was lying and had assaulted the victim, and further endangered his life by delaying his call to 911, in attempt to revive him, and to clean up the crime scene, which had included other evidence of ongoing assaults.  The victim survived from emergency surgery and is impacted acutely.

The subject gave this statement shortly after the call, prior to being interviewed.  It was an uncontaminated statement.

II.  The reliable statement:

2.  "I took the appropriate steps and immediately alerted the board.  As his behavior was obvious, I knew that immediate knowledge was necessary."

In the second "immediate" statement, we have the words repeated, making them sensitive.

The subject is recalling something from years ago, in which he had been accused of "covering up" a co-worker's crime and when these accusations failed, his accusers changed tactics and accused him of delay.  His "steps" were challenged, each one along the way, as if he was a partner in crime.  He was not.  By "obvious", he referred to forgery which was not sophisticated.  The allegations and strain that resulted from the doubts that followed him, wore upon him. Therefore, the sensitivity is not only noted, but it is explained.

We ask questions to ascertain why something might be sensitive.  The first questions we ask are to context, to see if the answers may be found within the statement.  Often they are.

The actions he took were questioned because those above him sought a scapegoat and did not anticipate the subject to be so unwilling to take the blame that was the fault of others.  When he refused to divert negative attention from his superiors on their requests, they attacked.  This is often the pattern of the deceptive; once challenged, they become on the offensive.

The allegations against him, in total, all eventually proved to be false, but it is the sensitivity, even after years, of the delay, which caused him the most grief and enter into his language.  As I wrote about the allegations, I added, "eventually" to my sentence, as I thought of how much time this took for him to battle through it, even though legal charges were not filed, his name was what he fought for.

Ask yourself why you used certain words.

You will likely learn a great deal, including your own deception which may cause you some emotional distress; a good signal of ethics.

It is in this exploration of self, you may find "the expected" as a marvelous research tool, helping you to better understand "the unexpected" in language.


Foolsfeedonfolly said...

I thought the first statement was suspicious, but for different reasons. I have a lot to learn! Not because hitting his head came before falling, but because the victim went from walking backwards to falling with no explanation. Many people have walked backwards and never fell. It was unexpected. When I re-read it a second time, it read as "hit his head falling". I flagged it as incomplete/withholding information because we're not told how he hit his head (what he hit it on).
I also found the wording odd with "I checked on him...". If you see someone hit their head and fall or fall and hit their head, most people would check him. Checking on someone is an activity done casually, with little sense of alarm or immediate harm/danger (i.e. checking on a sleeping toddler, a friend with a minor illness, an aging parent/grandparent). Yet the subject tells us this after he's aware the person has hit his head and fallen. There's a time gap between the person falling and the subject getting around to "checking on him". Then he needs to tell us he immediately called 911. He follows that with the need to explain why he called 911 ("he was unconscious"). The subject has a need to persuade us that he was concerned for the person, but notice where the most pressing information the end (unconscious).
I found it interesting (odd?) that the person (i.e. victim) was silent throughout the entire statement.

John Mc Gowan said...
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John Mc Gowan said...
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John Mc Gowan said...


Doug Richard, Ex Dragons' Den Star And David Cameron Adviser Denies Child Sex Attacks

A former Dragons’ Den star has vehemently denied allegations he committed child sex attacks.

Doug Richard, who acted as an adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, is accused of three counts of sexual activity with a child and one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The offences took place in January and relate to one victim, a girl who was aged 13, at the time, it is alleged.

Richard, 57, denied the allegations in a short statement issued after the charges were confirmed, the Press Association reports.

The US-born businessman said: "I absolutely deny the charges against me and will contest this matter in court."

Caroline Hughes, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "We have carefully considered the evidence gathered by City of London Police in relation to Douglas Richard, 57, who was arrested on 5 January this year.

"Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Douglas Richard to be charged with three counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

"The alleged offences occurred on 2 January 2015 and relate to one victim aged 13 at the time.

"The decision to prosecute has been taken in accordance with the code for crown prosecutors."

Richard, of Islington, north London, will appear at City of London Magistrates' Court on 5 October.

The millionaire, who appeared on BBC's Dragons' Den in the first two series, reportedly travelled with the Prime Minister on an official government trip to Africa and advised on policy.

His association with Mr Cameron goes back to at least 2008, when the then opposition leader invited the technology entrepreneur to write a report about small business in Britain.

He founded a business loans initiative called School For Startups, alongside the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

John Mc Gowan said...

The US-born businessman said: "I absolutely deny the charges against me and will contest this matter in court."

"absolutely deny"

Is not to say he didn't do it.

"the charges"

Passive language. What charges?

"and will"

Dropped pronoun, lacking commitment. "Will" he contest it?


Is close.

Jessica Blans said...

I wonder how much damage is done by people who have a little bit of information about statement analysis, but not enough.

If I were to publicize my armchair analyses, I'd be pretty dangerous. I though the first was truthful and the second was deceptive. The first seemed to be concise and to-the-point, much as I might do if explaining how one of my younger siblings fell down. Stuff happens so often to kids that the "why " or the "how" isn't so important as the meat "toddler fell, sister calls 911 because unconscious". I know it doesn't say this is about a young kid, it's simply what I imagined when I read it. And the second one I thought was deceptive because of the repetition, which seemed to be "the lady doth protest too much."

So, I'll keep reading and learning, but I definitely won't be calling up law enforcement and offering my expertise anytime soon.

Jessica Blans

Statement Analysis Blog said...


I deliberately put the difficult challenge out there to caution jumping to convulsion.

in the statement, "immediate" is sensitive, and the sensitivity would be noted by the analyst, and even questioned if a time gap existed.

The analysis would have ended there with:

"Immediate" shows sensitivity, with the Investigator needing to learn if there was a delay in time.

The interview, itself, would have shown the passage of time, and the questioning, but the original analysis, if kept to and not gone beyond, would have been correct.

I appreciate your caution, but do continue to ask questions. Sometimes context is obvious, such as a 911 call dated and stamped, rather than a statement without a date.

In both, "time" is important, and sensitivity is present. The reason why the sensitivity is needed to be known.

In both, interviewers would have been well prepared to learn why "immediate" is sensitive.


lgjproduct said...

Where I am from, in rural WV, it is common to hear someone say "he broke his arm falling down" or "she scraped her knee swinging". It is understood that the word while has been omitted from the sentence.

Anonymous said...

I hear that, too. I'd think the difference would be what they were relaying. If answering "How did she break her arm?" I'd expect sentences like you relay. If telling what happened, I'd expect the verb "fell," and I'd expect it before "hit head."

Fig Bar Inspector said...

Thank You Peter for sharing your insights here. I have noticed that my style of writing has changed since coming back over the last two years trying to grasp all the concepts that make Statement Analysis a valuable interviewing tool. I was in retail sales for almost 30 years and a manager too. I know that SA would have been helpful and made me a more sensitive to what people reveal about themselves. I want to become more familiar with all the principles of SA and apply it in a professional capacity.

I am more conscious of words like try and think and I have tried to be more committed to what I think and say. I enjoy sharing and discussing things with others. That means communicating with others. I spend a great deal of time writing and expressing my thoughts especially on facebook. Thank you for making my writing and thinking more intentional and more committed to what I am expressing to others

Anonymous said...

Ha...! Where I grew up in Alabama you could expect to hear all kinds of jumbled up expressions of this happened and that happened before finally figuring out that the poor victim had cracked his head open during some strange sequence of events that did not happen exactly as it was presented. Honestly, I'm sure they still don't know east from west or how to get there... True story. LOL.... ABB

ima.grandma said...


Jessica Mitchell and DeOrr Kunz Sr. issued the following statement to Thursday:

“Please keep your eyes out for our precious baby boy. We miss him so much and just want him home where he belongs. If you have our son, please don’t hurt him just bring him home to us. We love you so much Lil Man. Thank you to everyone for your loving words and kindness.”

Jessica Blans said...

I want to thank you, Peter, for your encouragement to me in this thread. I plan to keep reading, studying, and asking questions!

Jessica Blans