Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dabbling in Lie Detection

Many experts, in spite of selling books, acknowledge  that dabbling in lie detection leads to a specific negative result:

Those without formal training will see deception where it does not exist.  

In various tests, as well as trainings (which have had both new investigators and seasoned veterans of investigations) I have found it to be so with the majority of any given class "seeing" deception where they should have seen the connection of experiential memory. There were two years of seminars held where a minimum of a 4 year college degree was required.  The results were the same.  

What causes this?

Formal training means expansion into the more difficult areas that are not easily explained in a book, or without question and answer present even though many fine books can anticipate questions.  None, however, answer them all, as human nature is simply too diverse.  

Volume --the more exposure to the wide variety found within statements, the broader the understanding. This must be then repeated often.  Even the best formal training will fail without application and rehearsal.  This is where patrol officers and human resource professionals have the advantage:  lots of on the fly interviewing.  

Combatting cynicism and person prejudice

 This is where investigators dig in their heels due to an emotional connection. I found that, experientially, female investigators struggled with favorite music or movie stars who lied, while males struggled with sports stars who lied.  Interestingly enough, in trainings, I have not found much prejudice in political statements, as it seemed rarely did anyone so admire a politician that they resisted training. 

 In the general public, however,  it is very high and comments show the underlining anger, even when attempting to stifle or masquerade  it, but I have not found this much in actual seminars.  The few times it showed itself, it was transparent and it led to "compete shutdown" of the attendee.  One was so acute, that she was unable to complete the course and did not receive certification which her company required.  She literally attempted to reverse principle to fit her agenda.  In a meeting with her superiors later, I expressed concerns about any accused who does not agree with her politically is not likely to be given a fair investigation (civil).  I refused to sign off, so they contacted my superior who had been present for a short time in the seminar.  She refused to overrule my refusal.  The attendee was a non practicing attorney and her repeated quotes of a law dictionary led one investigator to finally say, "Hey, we get it. You're an attorney.  Can we move on here?
She was very intelligent, but terribly frustrated in her career and this came out in the seminar each time she raised her hand. 

She projected that which was bothering her.   We all do it .  We all give ourselves away.  Yet, we must possess the self awareness that allows us to face it, and counter it. 

An investigator wrote:  

"The subject, recently divorced, was belligerent throughout the interview, while the accused met with me at her home, well maintained on the waterfront, and was willing to answer all questions posed to her..."

What did this tell you about the investigator?  Yes, she was going through a divorce and fumed at the destruction of her finances and hated the house she was stuck in.  

Extremely intelligent, she lacked self awareness and could not be trusted in an investigation.  She would find lies in low economic subjects and veracity in high economic subjects.  Training made her worse. 

Unless we have enough self awareness that can be verified through other professionals, we may do more damage than good, and we only discredit the science by our own sloppy handling. 

What's on the line?

When you are deciding if something is truthful or deceptive, what are the consequences of your opinion? 

Did you like leaving your name on your analysis?  

It is much easier to do so anonymously.  When even considering lie detection, we ask, What does the person "have on the line", so to speak?

This is often said about the polygraph practice: the liar is not nervous, as he or she is just practicing, therefore will not have the reaction. 

How would it impact your work if you had something on the line?

What if your opinion meant:

an arrest?

your reputation?

your company's reputation?

your department's reputation?

a legal decision?

What if you so believed in analysis, but your co workers did not?  This is something that is common.  One person in a department or company becomes absolutely hooked on analysis, utterly fascinated at its accuracy, only to be met by skepticism of others. 

For us, healthy scientific skepticism is our best friend.  

It helps us sharpen our work, avoid foolish guess work, and since our work impacts lives, it should withstand high scrutiny.  

In one training years ago, I went through a series of sentences, rather quickly, asking the class of about 25 attendees, "deceptive or reliable"? to rather mixed first. 

A pattern emerged. 

I switched over to only reliable sentences.  

An investigator, seated in the front row, raised her hand, and instead of allowing herself to be counted silently, as was what had been happening for a few minutes, she said, "deceptive!"

I pulled out another reliable sentence. 




It reached a point where the class laughed as she was the only one 'voting' that the sentence showed deception, and did so emphatically.

She clearly enjoyed her status as contrarian

I thought, "I feel sorry for the wrongfully accused that meets her."

Some in the class had all the requisite books you might expect and more than a few were familiar with my blog and were constantly seeing "deception" where no deception existed.  This is what some experts say:  

read a few books and you'll see liars everywhere even though less than 10% of deception is from outright lying.  

These are those who often find statistics where people "lie" 27 times every hour. 

When we have a written statement, we believe what one tells us unless they give us reason not to.

When a statement tests "unreliable" in its form, it is likely to contain truth. 

*Many deceptive statements are 100% truthful, word by word, and sentence by sentence. 

The reality is this:  even when a subject "did it", it is very likely that his statement has an abundance of reliable material, and that it is only that he has withheld the fact that he 'did it' in his statement or interview.  



Anonymous said...

Quoting article
"She literally attempted to reverse principle to fit her agenda. In a meeting with her superiors later, I expressed concerns about any accused who does not agree with her politically is not likely to be given a fair investigation (civil). "
This is bone-chilling after reading of the judge who jailed a traumatized DV victim just to show she's alpha dog.

Even worse is that not just her, but those responsible for ensuring she's qualified to gather accurate and objective information saw fit to simply mow over a highly trained expert's clear evidence of disturbing behavior and a lack of critical thinking abilty.
(We have to trust Peter she actually is intelligent; it doesn't show here.)

This all reads like hyperbole when proofing it, but words don't describe how ugly and destructive is someone like this.
We're supposed to not only treat others fairly and objectively, but look out for those who can't defend themselves, not prey on their vulnerabilty. That applies to intellect as well as physical strength.

It scares me to think of someone not especially bright or simply scared and overwhelmed by a situation, without alert loved ones close by, launching this one-dimensional idiot's wrath for no fair reason.

It scares me to think of someone like this having the power to cause someone losing custody of their children, possibly to the real abusive parent; wrongly going to prison; losing their professional license, career and reputation, etc.

Quoting artucle:
"What does the person 'have on the line,' so to speak?"

Known in politics and fact-checking as "follow the money."
Ironic that in analysis it is just as true and just as important, if not even more so, when no actual money is involved.

lynda said...

Peter or anyone

Is there any difference in people that have had several, or even one, brush with being the victim of a crime and their inability to analyze fairly? Does their past color their analysis? I also asked way back that how does SA consider repetitive noises that a person makes during a face-to-face. Repetitive Clearing of the throat or cough, nervous, or not nervou,s laughter or giggling, clucking of the tongue? Since they are sounds does this fall under SA? They are not really body language movements? What does everyone think?

Peter..this phenomenon reminds me of "interns disease" wherein once you start learning actual medicine, you begin to convince yourself you have symptoms of each and every one of the diseases you are studying

John Mc Gowan said...

OT Update:

How could a 2-year-old vanish without a trace?


Grandmother Trina Bates Clegg.

"Clegg said the disappearance has been heart-wrenching for her entire family, and criticisms on social media websites regarding the family’s conduct the day of the disappearance and during the investigation afterward have made it worse.

“Show me a book, like one of those Dummies books, on how we are supposed to handle something like this,”
Clegg said.

Maybe read this:

Behavioral and Statement Analysis of Missing Children Cases

Clegg said "the family has had to issue a cease-and-desist order to some online posters in attempt to stop them from posting comments about the case."

Neither of DeOrr’s parents would respond to the Journal’s request for an interview regarding the case. However, both Mitchell and Kunz Sr. took lie detector tests a few weeks after their boy disappeared. The Lemhi County Sheriff’s Office decided not to release or comment on the results of those tests.

Why won't they release the results

Did they fail?
Were they inconclusive?
If they passed, surely they would release the results, and then maybe some people will cease from pointing the finger at them.

Why hasn't Deorrs senior's 911 call been made public to?

The Sheriff’s Office also refused last week to comment to the Journal on whether DeOrr’s parents were being considered as suspects in the case.

Though the Lemhi County Sheriff’s Office has been tight-lipped about the case, Penner did say there was no evidence the boy was abducted when police first responded. This is why no Amber Alert was ever issued.

It didn’t fit the criteria for an Amber Alert,”Penner said. “There needs to be something that indicated he was abducted, and there hasn’t been anything to indicate that may have happened.”

Anonymous said...

lynda, hopefully a seasoned vet will address the mannerisms and tics, but this excellent article someone graciously found for me yesterday explains the potential effects of an interviewer's past and how to avoid them.


Its main point is that people who nearly always see deception where none exists, frequently are chronic liars themselves.
But keep reading (I was burning halfway through!) he also explains that being badly hurt by liars, especially early in life, can affect one's perception.

My abusive father frequently used wrong accusations of lying as an excuse to beat and kick out "confesssions" and as an adult it's obvious he had to have known what he accused in many incidents wasn't even possible.
I guess you could call that hurt by a liar in a roundabout way? My older brother is still a pathological liar in his 50s, and may have been anyway, but it sure made life worse growing up.

It is good to know my cynicism and issues with trust aren't insurmountable obstacles to objective, top-quality SA.

JMTO said...

Thanks John for the article.
I went and read the whole thing.

The comment that bothered me the most was this one -

“We will go up every weekend if we have to,” grandmother Trina Bates Clegg said.

I don't know why - but my first thought after reading that was "if my son was missing- I wouldn't HAVE to do anything- I would become a hermit and live on that mountain."

I know that parents that have children go missing can't do that- their lives have to somewhat go on for their other children, etc. but still.....

And did anyone notice that the Sheriff and Deputies refused to say if Jessica and Deorr were suspects, if they passed the polygraph....
They don't say it so we can't say it for them!

Also I can't get over how fixated Grandma Clegg is on the stupid rumors and innuendos- and that she is upset people are saying her father Is too old and in poor health to have bee watching the child.

Um, isn't that what Jessica does?
She is his caregiver?
You wouldn't leave a two year old to be babysat by someone who also needs elder sat?

So he is in good health and is of sound mind. Then he should do an interview.

Grandma Clegg is very defensive about Jessica- but she is WAY more defensive about GGP- and that makes me wonder. Why would you need to be so defensive?

Sus said...

It seems to me that yes, our views are based upon past experience. If we analyze only from our view, based upon our past experience, we can't do a complete analysis.

Thus, when we analyze, we must expand and look at the speaker's words through their view and their past experience. It doesn't matter what the past experience of the analyst if she/he is capable of leaving it behind during analysis.

Sorry, I have no answer about the noises. Sinus drainage?? Haha.

Sus said...

That article was good. Thanks, John. I agree. Tina Bates Clegg is defensive about and very protective of her father. Are you all aware that when ggp divorced her mother, he gave up custody of Trina and her brother? They were actually raised by a step-father. That's where the Bates name comes in. I don't know when they reconnected. Along with that fact and him supposedly meeting Reinwand at AA, I can put together a picture of Trina and her father's relationship. It's the classic "daughter protects father so he won't abandon me again."

That article also reinforced something I've been noticing...image is everything to Trina Bates Clegg. In her description on Facebook she says she is the best mother ever. (Paraphrasing) To be the best mother, her children have to be perfect. They can't lose custody, get arrested for drugs, live with ne'er-do-wells and their fathers (Kunz), lose children camping, or have others question their parenting. I think in that first interview it was all about pleasing Trina. I think she was worried about rumors and wanted them addressed. She has done Deorr Sr and Jessica a great disservice, not to mention her own grandson.

I could probably say more, but right now I'm stuck on Trina.

lynda said...

John..Thanks for posting link to article.

Who were all these "family members" searching frantically for 1 hour before they called police?" Grandpa? Lugging around his O2 tank..and the parents? An hour is a LONG time. 60 whole minutes..tick..tick..tick..I'm calling bullshit on that one. I think it is unexpected that most parents would wait a full hour before calling for help if their 2 year old was missing. That's crap. An hour is an eternity.
A four wheeler? Was this a stealth four wheeler? One that made absolutely NO noise? Please. I think Peter is correct..that hour lag time is when parents were arguing about calling 911, and if you're arguing, you're not searching.
The families lack of media interviews or facetime on network shows is not expected either. Theyve given 2 interviews in 4 months? I would let the school newspaper interview me if it would get the word out more.

Foodie...thanks for the input. I get what you're saying and the article was very interesting indeed.

Sus...the noises bug me. I feel like those are like Ummms...sooooo...uhhhhh...just fillers to have time to think and to break up the flow of the free edit stage. I mostly want to know because during transcription, would one note how many times a subject giggled? Cleared his throat? Coughed? Is there a pattern to it? Does it only happen when SA shows a subject is sensitive to a question? Is it even helpful?

Anonymous said...

Quoting Just My Thoughts Only:
(just couldn't resist! :^D )
"Also I can't get over how fixated Grandma Clegg is on the stupid rumors and innuendos..."
This, and the "if we have to" wtf-ery jumped out at me! Even before reading yours I was thinking exactly the same thing.
(that happens often with your posts).

My best friend is SuperMom, she hadn't heard or read much of little DeOrr's case. As we made dinner and watched the game, her shocked face looking over and, "Wait, that's the (mom-dad-grandma-etc.) who said that?!? to so many of these bizarre quotes from the Kunz think tank, it would've been funny if not for the situation.

Quoting JMTO:
"...and that she is upset people are saying her father Is too old and in poor health to have been watching the child."

Wait, haven't DeOrr and Jessica floated that one themselves a few times to see if it would excuse them from any accountability?
(I think they're advised/reminded each time it won't.)

The more I revisit their comments about winter coming, "last" search of the season, reality setting in that maybe an animal got him, etc., the more my gut feels they're getting sick of dealing with this and are laying groundwork to end it.

It isn't fading away nearly as fast as they anticipated, the cash hasn't even rolled in, I don't think?
Likely at DeOrr's direction they'll toss out a few feelers about a quiet winter and strategizing from home all the data collected during the physical searches. Nobody's confusing the guy with Einstein, after all.

They hope to drop out of sight "for the winter" and by spring we've all finally moved on to other stories.
But the sheriff's team will close in long before that. If they were done with this, they would want the public done, too, especially the frenzied social media it's still drawing!

They would be much more forthcoming with the polygraph results and anything clearing grieving, innocent parents, as well as the overload on support staff fending off the same questions all day every day.

They're just making sure it's airtight, not a single loophole or missed detail; they don't want to set free another Casey Anthony, two in this case.

Anonymous said...

Peter, how vast is the difference, if any, in the expected and unexpected with interviewing male rape victims?
Are they even more different, or more similar if the assault happens in childhood, before or after speech development?

Since they happen less frequently and are even less likely to be reported, are you as confident in the system's reliabilty with the volume of interviews you've all gathered?

Anonymous said...

Trina's defensiveness (and closeness) to her father is bewildering, considering he abandoned her (as mentioned on this blog), also considering she was originally adopted by Bob Walton.

It just makes no sense. If she wasn't raised by him, when did she become close to him?

Sus said...

She was adopted by Bates when Bob Walton and her mother divorced. Bob Walton gave up custody of her and her brother.

Are you saying she was first adopted by Walton? I'm not aware of that. But I wouldn't know.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that is what I am saying. She was adopted by Bob Walton and his wife, who went on to marry Bates.

Sus said...

Thanks for that info. I don't even get it. It's like he's being hidden.

The sheriff at first implied whatever ggp said was useless because of his physical and mental deteriation. Later, the sheriff quoted what ggp said as if he relied upon it. To top it off, ggp took a polygraph. How reliable was that?

And I can't help but think of Isaac Reinwand's words, "Have you talked to Grandpa?" Why no, Isaac. It seems no one is allowed to talk to him.

Unknown said...

OT: Lesbian couple arrested for kissing in public.

Possible fake hate?

"I really just want an example to be made, despite whatever happens..." "...I just think what he did was absolutely wrong, without a doubt."

Unknown said...

Here's the link I forgot to add. Duh.