Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Denials and Affirmation of Truth in Statement Analysis

The Reliable Denial is psychologically strong.  This is the entire point of it:  it is not the uttering of magic words. 

This, too often, is an error made by analysts which ends up discouraging the new analyst, and fueling criticism of the system.  

Although it is appealing to think that someone who says they did not do it allows for "instant knowledge", the complexity of human nature, as seen or evidenced in language (and behavior) tells us something to the contrary.

I have used the example of Governor Chris Christie but there is another popular one with the release of a book by Amanda Knox in which she wrote "I did not kill my friend, Meredith."  When it takes someone the better part of a decade to make such a claim, this should be considered part of an overall late-to-the-party denial.  Analysis of the statements made by Amanda Knox conclude that she did not necessarily inflict the fatal blow into the victim, but the language is clear:

She was present for the assault, was deceptive, and shows guilty knowledge of the crime.  

One of her statements, in particular, is of great value to study the language of sexual assaults. 

 With Governor Christie, I asked him about it when I heard him give a speech in Maine.  He was a marvelous speaker, fascinating and in command of the audience.  He did not change my conclusion, however. 

"I did not kill my daughter, Jonbenet."

Recall this from the lips of John Ramsey.  

Yet, consider what he said well before this, and that a statement analyst has specifically flagged his words, publicly in the media, for not only deception, but association with childhood sexual abuse.  After all the analysis, he not only gave the denial but used the proper social introduction.  

This, too, is late.  

The Reliable Denial does not have a need to defend itself.   This is not only true (and applicable) for reliable denials, but assertions as well. 

In filling out a job resume, most people make errors when it comes to dating of jobs, leaving them hesitant to not qualify their words.  This is "appropriate weakness."  Yet, when asked about  a specific, such as a job qualification, and the assertions made about one's own qualifications, they can boldly say, "it is true."  

In this is meant that it does not feel compelled to protect itself.  This "wall of protection" and "truth confirmation" are the topics of this article.

I.  The Psychology of the Reliable Denial

The strength, psychologically, of the truth, is the best defense.  The defense is so strong, that it may not even 'take the field.'

"Because I told the truth, that's why!" becomes a powerful attitude that the investigator/interviewer immediately senses.  This boldness is sensed within the words, just as plainly as the boldness of a liar, who is putting up his false muscles and flexing unnecessarily.  

The weakness of the liar is found in several ways:

1.  'Rhetorical' Questions
2.  Tangents
3.  Bearing the Burden of Proof

The deceptive one asks questions that are posed as "rhetorical", that is, questions of which no answer is anticipated but even this may possess an element of deception: 

The deceptive one is really asking questions.  

"Why would I steal the jewelry when my husband gives me plenty?"

Thus, the deceptive one has:

a.  shown weakness in her denial of theft
b.  posed a mystery for us to solve. 

There is an answer as to why someone with so much jewelry would still steal.  

The experienced interviewer always notes how interested the subject is in the answer.  It is, in a form, a fishing expedition to learn if the investigator has discovered the motive of the crime.  This has sometimes come across terribly foolish:

"Why would I molest a child?  I am a married man!"   Or even worse:

"Why would I molest her? I am a normal male!" 

Both are revelatory.  

II.  The Confirmation of Truth
"I told the truth" or "I am telling the truth,"

A.  This must be "aimed" at the statement, itself.
B.  It must not be altered.

It is said that "no man can lie twice", as coined by Avinaom Sapir (LSI) in which he quotes  a reference from the Babylonian Talmud.  The explanation is as such:

The subject affirms, for example, that he did not do it.  This is expressed in a manner that is psychologically strong; he cares not (or very little) for proof.  Although this is often the subject of Hollywood, in life it is not so.  The 'devil may care' dismissive attitude is strong:  the burden of proof is upon another, and not the accused.  Why?  Because he didn't do it.  This reveals a confidence that says "it is impossible to prove that which did not happen" and may psychologically "walk away" or distance himself from it.  This layer of protection is powerful and should not be underestimated.  Experienced interviewers sense it; inexperienced interviewers misinterpret it, and often take it as a personal insult.

The words "I" and "truth" must be heard while the subject is addressing his denial.  This is key. 

I have heard deceptive subjects 'finally' give a denial that appear reliable, though the delay itself makes it unreliable, only to answer the question as to why I should believe him say,

"I am telling...I told you, this is it..." breaking off from telling the truth. 

Recently, one deceptive one said,

"I am telling, because, I am telling you the honest truth."  

He just admitted that there is the "truth" and there is the "honest truth" about the crime of which he has been accused.  

Consider the 'wall of protection' that the reliable denial provides, linguistically, which needs no assistance.  

On rare occasion, a suspect who is intellectually challenged may not realize he needs to deny the allegation.  This is rare but it has happened. 

For the most part, the criminal mind considers itself clever and if you hear:

"Why would I steal the jewelry?"

"I would never steal the jewelry."

"I have all the jewelry I need!"

eventually, the guilty will say,

"I didn't steal the jewelry" but has just exemplified the principle boundary of the reliable denial: 

Adding to it, with the preface statements, means it is no longer reliable.  

Uttering a few 'magic words' will cause the new analyst, or the investigator who has only been trained in introductory statement analysis, to commit a grievous error. 

Should he clear the suspect, only to have the suspect confess to another investigator, he will be discouraged, and the science discredited. 

Our complete course, with the subsequent ongoing monthly training, will prepare the investigator to reach the level of proficiency. 

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10 comments:

kimisan03 said...

I want to enroll in this course soon! Thanks for this site, Peter!

Maybe said...

O.T.

What do you make of this?

https://kobi5.com/news/osf-actor-recounts-racist-incident-30270/

CJ said...

Peter,

The audio and court transcript of Amanda Knox's first meeting with her mom after the murder happened is now available online. It makes for interesting listening.

Here are a few of Amanda's denials to her mom:

A): they [Italian police] came back to me, and they were like we know you’re lying, we know you were at the house, we know you met someone and I was like that’s impossible, I didn’t do that."

A): I wasn’t there, I didn’t touch Meredith, like, I don't understand why they're saying that

A): I’ve been in her [Meredith's] room before, but I wasn’t in there when it happened that’s impossible, that’s bullshit, like, like, that's really impossible"

A): I know that I’m gonna eventually get out of here [prison] ‘cause I didn’t do anything."

A): But it was only because the police confused me. They were telling me that I was going away for 30 years because I wasn’t cooperating, and I was like I am cooperating. I didn’t do anything. I have nothing to be afraid of, and so I’m just waiting until they prove that I’m not doing it but I don’t think they’re gonna want…like for me, I feel that I’m gonna be here a long time, because the police want me to be the one who did it they want me ... and it’s like it’s bullshit. I didn’t do anything.

M): So you have no idea who did it.
A): I have no clue, no clue

A):I just tell them [prison psychologists] the truth, but honestly I just tell them exactly how I feel about everything, ‘cause I don’t wanna like hide anything, I’m trying to say what is true."

M): Yeah. Yeah. And they’re all saying, everybody said…
A): Amanda… I wouldn’t do this. I know. And I… I know I wouldn’t do this, which is why I’m not scared or anything ... I didn’t do anything they’re really choosing a really bad person to convict, because, like, I mean granted, they don’t know me, but like everyone that I know would be on my side, like, and that’s one of the things that the people that I hear have been telling me, they’ve been saying “yeah, we know that you have friends on the outside who believe you, at least you can trust in that”.

A):It’s unfair, you know? Like, it’s not my fault that this happened, I have no idea who did it."

A): ... and I don’t want the world to think that I am a bad person, and I mean, I just hope that when I get out of this, I’m gonna get an apology from the police, and… I’m going to, I don’t know, write a book about it ... all this bullshit. Although at the same time, like I can’t really say a lot of details, ‘cause I don’t know a lot of things that were going on, I wasn’t there… M): Well, no, but just your whole experience, you can’t really talk about the crime, but you can talk about your experience.
A): Yeah, It’s just crazy. Like how could they think that about me? I mean I know who I am. And like, the idea of like, the idea of it didn’t even cross my mind when I was there, so the idea that I would kill someone, or I would help someone kill someone is bullshit! Like, when they told me, when they read me the warrant for my arrest, they said “yes, this person had malicious intent, and uhmm… willingly help one person kill another… rape and kill another person. And I was like… What? Like, I… I understood Italian. The interpreter was saying to me, but I was like: “No, no, no…” I can’t understand what?” You know? And I was just like sitting there going Oh my God! But, it’s not true. So I mean, like… The police are saying horrible things about me. This prosecutor is saying horrible things about me. I’m being bitten by bugs, by the way, which is why…
M): What bugs?
A): They’re bugs.
M): Bed bugs. Oh my God.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6uGdPpkqEI

http://themurderofmeredithkercher.com/docupl/spublic/filelibrary3/docs/intercepts/2007-11-10-Intercept-RIT-1233-07-prison-Knox-family-transcript-by-Micheli-court-English.pdf

John mcgowan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CJ said...

OT: Amanda Knox, embedded confession?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6uGdPpkqEI

[33:35]
"all I know is better receive a public apology from the police after this is over, ‘cause it’s like ‘you guys fucked with me, and you fucked with my life”. Like I am… Like I’m gonna walk out of this a different person, just because like… I am not like innocent anymore… like I know that things can get fucked up, and people will think bad things about you, because of you guys… Thanks a lot!"

Hey Jude said...

Peter - Did she made an unreliable denial because she stole the ring? Can there be another reason why her denial might be unreliable? I got that she was defensive.

I am wondering if she ask the questions she asks because the reason she wears lots of jewellery is in order to not look like whatever she thinks a shoplifter typically would look like (not wealthy). I thought a reason she said she knew she didn't do it could be because she knew who did it, and that it was not her. It is, I think, a strong denial, but I get that does not make it reliable.

----

I have almost finished reading 'The Gift of Fear' - it is taking me so long as I have to keep breaking to chill with Candy Crush lest it turn me into a nervous wreck - it makes for chillingly good reading.

lynda said...

Hey Jude.."The Gift of Fear", I'm so glad you're reading it. It changes everything for a woman. Mr. DeBecker should get a medal for writing this book.

LisaB said...

It was Day 2 of a summertime family camping trip to a remote area in the mountains of Idaho and DeOrr Kunz, 26, wasn't sure how much longer he wanted to stay.

Kunz and Jessica Mitchell, 26, had taken their 2-year-old son, also named DeOrr, on a trip to Salmon-Challis National Forest July 10, 2015. They met up with Mitchell's grandfather Robert Walton and his fishing buddy Isaac Reinwand. It was going to be a long weekend.

"I hate camping." Kunz tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. "I was looking for any and every excuse to leave."


But in the hours that followed, Kunz would learn that he would have no choice but to stay.


After cooking up a breakfast of eggs, sausage and hash browns, the family of three took a trip to the nearby town's general store for supplies and snacks. Upon returning to camp, Kunz and Mitchell went looking for a place to fish. About 50 yards away from the campsite, Kunz spotted some minnows that he thought his son would love to see.

"I walked up the embankment and when I looked over, he wasn't in his chair and he wasn't with [Walton]," Kunz recalls. He quickly turned toward Mitchell and told her their son was gone.


Stunned from the news, Mitchell dropped her fishing pole, ran up the embankment and started screaming as the realization that her boy was missing began to hit her.


"I left everything where it was," says Mitchell, who explains she is still numb over his disappearance. "I just ran across the rocks, went up the embankment and went, 'What do you mean he's gone? What do you mean he's missing?'"

LisaB said...

It was Day 2 of a summertime family camping trip to a remote area in the mountains of Idaho and DeOrr Kunz, 26, wasn't sure how much longer he wanted to stay.

Kunz and Jessica Mitchell, 26, had taken their 2-year-old son, also named DeOrr, on a trip to Salmon-Challis National Forest July 10, 2015. They met up with Mitchell's grandfather Robert Walton and his fishing buddy Isaac Reinwand. It was going to be a long weekend.

"I hate camping." Kunz tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. "I was looking for any and every excuse to leave."


But in the hours that followed, Kunz would learn that he would have no choice but to stay.


After cooking up a breakfast of eggs, sausage and hash browns, the family of three took a trip to the nearby town's general store for supplies and snacks. Upon returning to camp, Kunz and Mitchell went looking for a place to fish. About 50 yards away from the campsite, Kunz spotted some minnows that he thought his son would love to see.

"I walked up the embankment and when I looked over, he wasn't in his chair and he wasn't with [Walton]," Kunz recalls. He quickly turned toward Mitchell and told her their son was gone.


Stunned from the news, Mitchell dropped her fishing pole, ran up the embankment and started screaming as the realization that her boy was missing began to hit her.


"I left everything where it was," says Mitchell, who explains she is still numb over his disappearance. "I just ran across the rocks, went up the embankment and went, 'What do you mean he's gone? What do you mean he's missing?'"

Hey Jude said...

Lynda - It was (is) a very good book, but my stomach was in knots as I read it - if I was a delicate snowflake I might find it triggering. somewhat :) I think, maybe because it is a quite old book, some of that wisdom has become uncredited currency - some of what he says sounds familiar. I have heard others say some similar things, and would think it quite likely they had read that book and absorbed his thinking, or got it from someone else who had - it's good stuff, he is a powerful writer. I had already begun addressing some of my most persistent fears as a consequence of reading here - the book will help too, once I've stopped being so scared of it - really, already it is. I agree he should get a medal. :)