Thursday, October 1, 2015
Sensory Description in Analysis of Sex Assault Cases
"There was the smell of tobacco on his breath."
"He was very hairy and rough, rough hands."
Studies in Lie Detection have shown that when someone uses "sensory" description in language, it is a signal of memory. Some will, therefore, use it as an indication that one is telling the truth about a report of a sexual assault.
Not so fast.
Although sensory perception is linked to memory it fails to answer the question:
Is the memory experiential memory?
Is it memory that one experienced, or is it a memory from a movie, or a book, or memory from what someone told the subject?
In other words, it may have come from memory, but did it come from the victim's own life experience?
If this question is answered, whether or not it is experiential memory, what about the next?
"If this did happen to the victim, did it happen now, or is she referring to something 20 years ago?
Sensory description, alone, will not answer this question.
Perseveration in Lie Detection
Perseveration is commonly seen in the language of adults with autism, or adults with various forms of developmental delays, including adult mental retardation.
However, it is not exclusive to adults with various intellectual issues, it is also, at times, the very "trigger" of post trauma stress from a childhood assault.
Compounding this is if the adult victim of sexual abuse was assaulted prior to speech development leaving the victim utterly unable to describe what happened.
Lie Detection, in advanced study, can and will successfully show:
Did this really happen?
Did this happen now?
Why is this important?
to whom is this important?
1. Criminal investigators--if it happened, was it an assault or was it consensual?
2. Corporate or Human Resources investigators: Do we have a law suit on our hands?
3. Psychologists, Counselors, child abuse investigators, mental health professionals. What was the victim's self-protective capacities, and how may we help her defend herself?
When advanced analysis is done, we will learn:
Did this happen?
If so, did it happen now, or years ago?
Was it consensual, or was it a crime?
This advanced analysis is not "101 analysis" nor does it come easily, nor quickly, but takes patient, consistent, and applied work within training.
The results are truth; truth that is best confirmed in the confession; obtained because the training led the Interviewer's questions, understood the psychology of the subject, and knew which strategy was reflected in the analysis, itself.
The language of adult victims of childhood sexual abuse has a code all its own. Without detailed and specific training, it is very likely that actual victims will be viewed as deceptive, and predators will go free to seek their next prey.
The same lack of training, even with those with much experience, will falsely accuse, as well as miss the indicators of perseveration, or may confuse patterns that victims often reveal.
Our methods get admissions and confessions, which only reveal how powerfully accurate Lie Detection is when principle is adhered to.
As those in study know, I stand upon this. I stand upon the failed polygraph, yes, but even more so: the confession will show that the language had already revealed the truth.
Lie Detection is not easy work, but its rewards are great.