Thursday, March 17, 2016

101: Anthropomorphic Language in Analysis


"Anthropomorphic Language in Statement Analysis"
                  by Peter Hyatt 


"I came in and just saw the pot sitting on the end table.  I don't know who's it really is!"

"I saw three motorcycles sitting in the parking lot. "

"You have to be able to trust that employee when the money is laid out there."  

"I seen the body lying on the bed, that's all."

Q.  What do  all four statements have in common?

A.  They each have inanimate objects described using body posture.  

This is anthropomorphic language in statement analysis and it often points to the guilty party.  It is something every analyst should learn well in writing, to the point where it is heard naturally during a live interview (discourse analysis) and can be an excellent tool as a short cut. 

Inanimate objects do not stand or sit on their own, nor do they lay down. 

Generally, someone (human) must cause this event to happen and the subject (speaker/writer) who distinctly uses anthropomorphic language, is giving linguistic indication of a close connection between self (subject) and the object.  It is, in a sense, to 'humanize' the object, often from the contact of the subject, himself.  

In statement analysis, we recognize that a connection may exist between the inanimate object and the subject (speaker or writer), prompting our investigation or interview in this direction. It is not definitive, but it has a statistical weight to it and should always be followed up.  It can be a great time saver and even a crime solver. 

"I came in and just saw the pot sitting on the end table. I don't know who's it really is!" 

Statistically, the subject is likely the person who placed the marijuana on the end table.  Just hearing (recognizing) anthropomorphic language will cause the trained analyst to have direction to follow.  In this case, the subject is telling the truth:

She did just enter the room and she did see the pot sitting on the end table.  She  does not know with certainty who it belongs to. 

Investigation Result:   The lack of certainty is that she did not know if her boyfriend had collected the money for it yet, or they were still owed. 

"I saw three motorcycles sitting in the parking lot" uses the human like description of motorcycles "sitting", which is:

Distinctly a human trait ascribed to a lifeless object. What does this mean, psychologically?

It is a human connection. 

A human connection. 

The motorcycle is not human. 

The subject, however, is. 

This is to make a human connection between the subject (speaker) and the motorcycles. The analysis drew the line between the subject and some form of human contact with at least one of the motorcycles:

she may have touched it;
she may have ridden on it;
she may know the driver. 

The analysis was clear, however:  the subject, no matter what she says, does have a connection with at least one of the motorcycles and the connection is distinctly human. 

Investigation Results:   Although she initially denied this, she eventually confessed to a relationship with one of the riders of the motorcycle.  Thus, the human connection is her and the driver.  


Importantly, she has assigned human body posture “laid out” to “money.”  When one uses body posture in language relating to an inanimate object, it is to ‘anthropomorphize” the object. This means, literally, to assign a human element to a non-human object.

Why is this done?


This is a signal, within Statement Analysis, of a ‘human connection’ to the object.

Employment

The third statement came as part of the employment process, in which concerns were raised throughout the application.  The applicant wrote:  

"You have to be able to trust that employee when the money is laid out there."  

This, along with many other sensitivity indicators within the job application,  gives us warning that the applicant may have an association with theft in prior employment.  In fact, he may have referenced a specific theft that he was part of.  

Suicide or Murder?

The fourth statement: 

"I seen the body lying on the bed, that's all."

This from a man who called police to report a suicide.  The call, itself, showed guilty knowledge, and he was eventually charged with murder.  What he says is truthful:  he saw what he said he saw.   How the body got there, however, shows a connection between him and an inanimate object (corpse) in a distinctly human position. 

He could have said the same thing many other ways such as "I found the body" or "I seen the body on the bed", and so on.  This is expected language particularly when coming upon a stranger. 

In this case, it was not a stranger, however, but an intimate.  This makes the "body" distinctly an "inanimate object" because innocent people, often in denial, say things such as, "I found my wife dead!" or "I seen my son dead!"  For this subject, the "wife" had 'graduated' to "body" too quickly for the investigator's comfort.  

This case stacked a passed polygraph against Statement Analysis.  (It is why examiners must have formal training in analysis and only use the subject's own wording.  When this is done, the polygraph is fool proof).  

"That's all" means:  'it is all I know so don't waste your time by asking me more information because I do not want to tell you more because it is going to implicate me...' 

                  The murder suspect is awaiting trial.  

*********************************************

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Successful completion of the course can lead to an invitation to live, ongoing confidential training held monthly, as well as our Advanced Statement Analysis Course including certification and credits from the University of Maine.  

17 comments:

lynda said...

Enlightening and interesting!

Bobcat said...

I wonder how Davey Blackburn described the Swisher Sweet package that was in his kitchen.

Kathead said...

When I read the quote about the pot just sitting on the table, I wondered what kind of cooking pot it was, not marijuana.

I've been looking online at new kitchen ware lately. I really want an old cast iron camping cook pot/dutch oven but those prices seem too high BEFORE shipping it added.

Anonymous said...

OK, so you just wrote a whole article about this topic even using an example with the word "sit". However, when Terry Elvis wrote of finding his daughter's car and he wrote "There, parked sideways SAT my daughter's abandoned car, alone in the darkness." (caps mine) why doesn't this rule apply to him also?

Anonymous said...

Lynda,

I wouldn't find this article too enlightening when you realize that this rule is only selectively applied with no seeming rhyme or reason.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the additional descriptors Terry gives the car like it being "abandoned" and "alone in the darkness", which certainly seem to further humanize the car, should even further direct the analyst to look carefully at this statement.

He could have described the car as empty.

He described it as "abandoned" he described it as "alone in the dark".

He described it as "sitting".

But, I digress, this article is about humanizing objects.

Anonymous said...

Patsy Ramsey said the note was "lying" on the stair, because she placed it there, not because she had touched it.
And I think that this is more accurate in most cases that there is a high chance that the speaker actually placed the object there, and obviously, feigning ignorance about how it got there, which we see with Patsy and which we also see in your example about the motorcycles (the woman knew how they got there).

foodiefoodnerd said...

Kathead, you might consider the Goodwill/Value Village stores that sell old stuff, or any garage and estate sales you come across in your travels. Most are only a few dollars, for a much heavier, better made product.
(well, that's the cast iron kind; for the little green friend, come up to Washington or Oregon... :^D)

I'm obsessively hunting down old skool Corningware®, the one with a certain cornflower blue design on its sides -- the only kind that can go from stovetop to oven for perfectly finished steaks and chops.

foodiefoodnerd said...

Quoting yet another random Anonymous:
"I wouldn't find this article too enlightening when you realize that this rule is only selectively applied with no seeming rhyme or reason."
~~~~

You have completely missed the most basic concept of Statement Analysis. Without using minimal common sense and the ability to think objectively you'll forever remain that confused and frustrated.

The elements of SA, from water references, to the liars' number of three, to dropped pronouns, are called sensitivity indicators - they guide the trained investigator where to focus the questions.

They are not absolutes, nor are there any absolutes in SA - it takes training, time and a lot of practice.

If a doctor told you that 7 out of every 10 people who present with your symptoms eventually need a heart transplant, and your name was randomly drawn before you arrived, would you obediently report for surgery?
Or maybe find a doctor who actually examines you and evaluates your history and physical condition?

Until you understand the concept of objective thinking, rather than expecting to mindlessly infer guilt based on some quickie checklist, SA will remain a confusing mystery, and continue to seem "applied with no rhyme or reason" in your mind.

However, if you're reasonably intelligent, can think objectively and are willing to put in time and effort, SA will not only get you to the truth no matter how skillful the liar; it will improve your critical thinking and learning abilty in other subjects.




foodiefoodnerd said...

Quoting Anon again:
"Patsy Ramsey said the note was 'lying' on the stair, because she placed it there, not because she had touched it."
~~~~

I can still hear her from an interview a few months after JonBenet's murder:
"You are headed down the wrong road, mister!"

She sounded so dishonest, angry and manipulative - part cornered animal, part entitled and not used to being questioned about anything.

Anonymous said...

"They are not absolutes, nor are there any absolutes in SA - it takes training, time and a lot of practice."

Pronouns and articles.

Articles do not change.

Pronouns are instinctive.

I would say these are "absolute"

foodiefoodnerd said...

You would, but I most definitely wouldn't.

I would consider the subject's primary language, level of education, history of brain trauma, presence of shock in recent victim, substance abuse, mental status, blood sugar, etc., etc.

Once again, blindly slapping up a checklist absent intelligent thinking and objective reasoning will fail you every time.

You either assume none of those myriad game-changing factors applies to your subjects, or none ever cross your mind; either way you've failed your subject, your boss, your patient instructors and yourself.

No wonder you can't see any rhyme or reason in how the basic elements apply to vastly different subjects!

Spend some time actually reading and studying Peter's extensive lessons in here - all absolutely free, so no more excuses!

He has so much to offer, but you really do have to be willing to think to see the rhyme and reason.

Anonymous said...

Foodiefoodnerd, You seem to be questioning my intelligence, yet there is nothing mindless about my applying this rule in an identical fashion as Peter has done in his examples as well as to Patsy Ramsey. There is no difference in how I applied the rule. In fact, both Patsy and Terry humanize the objects in past tense while recounting a found object. Both objects are pivotal clues in solving the cases. Both Terry and Patsy have paradoxical reactions upon finding the objects: Patsy (and John) claim they were "panicked" yet did not search the house. Terry claims he felt the abandoned car was nothing to worry about while stating he began frantically calling Heather's phone (which was turned off). You would need to indicate to me how applying this rule to Terry's statement is random or unintelligent.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathead, those pots are a pain to use and not worth the time and money. I had a large cast iron pot and one with ridges, a griddle? that I tried my best to take care of and "season" properly,but nothing ever stopped the food from sticking.
I know cast iron pots are loved by many cooks who swear by them, but I wouldn't waste my time or money on them again.

Lis said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"OK, so you just wrote a whole article about this topic even using an example with the word "sit". However, when Terry Elvis wrote of finding his daughter's car and he wrote "There, parked sideways SAT my daughter's abandoned car, alone in the darkness." (caps mine) why doesn't this rule apply to him also? "

From the article:

"Distinctly a human trait ascribed to a lifeless object. What does this mean, psychologically?
It is a human connection.
A human connection.
The motorcycle is not human.
The subject, however, is.
This is to make a human connection between the subject (speaker) and the [in this case, car]"

Do you not think that Terry Elvis felt a human connection to his daughter's car?
Wouldn't the human connection be the connection between him and his daughter?
Wouldn't that be natural?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lis,

If you notice in Peter's motorcycle example, the woman is connected to one of them through her boyfriend YET please dont forget she is also LYING about not having knowledge of how/when the motorcycles got there. This is important...her use of the word "sitting" is tied in with the relationship with the object as well as her deception about the object.
Peter is having an inner emotional struggle regarding this concept bc Peter has stated repeatedly that giving a physical posture to an object means there is a HIGH likelihood the speaker is the one who put the object where it was...Peter is trying to make sense of how this rule works...he believes in the rule but at the same time wants to dream up ways that the rule does not apply to Terry Elvis.
Peter's article also in theory negates his analysis of Patsy Ramsey saying the note was LYING on the stair bc Patsy thrn says she picks up the note and reads it...TOUCHING THE NOTE. When, in fact, Patsy did place the note there as Peter has pointed out many times.

Lis said...

Anon, I think you are misunderstanding this subject. I'd suggest going back and reading more carefully. The statements that are flagged as sensitive do not automatically mean "guilty" - there is no shortcut to a guilty verdict. Each statement has a meaning that must be traced back to its source and then all is weighed out together to come to a conclusion. There is much more to learn on this site and I invite you to dig in.