When we spot a sensitivity indicator, it is often not enough for a conclusion. We must judge it.
This means examining its greater and lesser context.
The greater context is the overall statement as an answer to an allegation or "question" put to the subject, including, "What happened?"
The lesser context is the word, itself, found not only within a specific sentence, but judging it using the words immediately next to it, on either side. The syntax itself becomes important.
Then, we just its quality, strength, and appropriateness.
We must also define "deception" within a greater context.
Most deception (90% or more) is done via missing information. In order for it to be "deception indicated" the subject must intentionally (knowingly) omit information in order to conceal or change meaning.
When we consider that most deception is via missing information we recognize that not all deception is illicit.
"Mr. Churchill, Jane Doe of the BBC here, with this question: there are reports of a build up of your troops along the border of..." would be a question in which a truthful answer could cost lives.
Some examples include:
There are many fascinating and intriguing things that happen that police investigators simply cannot share or address in public. They often hold very strong opinions on issues but because they are public servants, they often must self-censor for the greater good. Although this can lead, psychologically, to frustration, it also builds a strong fraternal bond among them, which alleviates the natural frustration of not freely sharing information.
Medical professionals are under both law and licensing requirements to protect confidential information. People who's private medical records are known can be black-mailed, put up to scorn, and coerced. A medical professional' s language will sometimes show deception via missing information.
Why is this?
Answer: Because the subject (medical professional) is thinking about what he or she cannot say at this moment and will attempt to 'skip over' this portion of information. The concealment is deliberate. It is also appropriate. Those trained to recognize such also know when not to follow up on questions.
Medical professionals, social workers, counselors, therapists, and other such professions will all show appropriate signals of concealed information.
Sales professionals and Business Negotiators
The sales professional and business negotiator has information that he does not necessarily wish to share. It may be his company's bottom line of acceptance, which is likely to be seen in the language as he skips time, which is appropriate, but when one intends to commit fraud, the sensitivity level within the language often increases. This, too, is because the subject is thinking about what he wishes to 'put over' the other
Imagine if investigators told everything they knew to a suspect?
"What would surveillance video of the parking lot show you doing here?" I asked a subject knowing that the parking lot in question did not have video.
The question unnerved the previously confident thief who took a long pause to ask,
"how should I know?"
I said, "Because you were there. You just described it to me."
Subject: "Well, then, why ask me? I already told you what I was doing."
I asked, "Would any such video agree with your description precisely?"
After an even longer pause, and a few color words under her breath, she said,
I told her I understood and said I would "...prefer to hear the truth from you."
Negotiators must conceal information.
When the language of time being passed over is employed, we consider both the greater and lesser context but we also consider the intensity of the language.
Investigators: Sexual Assault
New analysts are often amazed how much information is given out when they learn to listen carefully. The subject is counting on the investigator to use normal, every day "dulled listening" rather than what he has been trained to listen for:
"So I can't barely remember what happened after that as it went so fast."
Here the subject wants to "move ahead" linguistically, but still felt the internal stress of lying:
He could not say "I don't remember", which is the most common lie used in court, under oath.
The simple word "barely" worked to 'excuse' him from the internal stress of lying.
Then we have "after that" as the passing over of time but it is coupled with "it went", which is passive voice. "It" did not do anything: he did. By using the passivity in language, he is divesting himself of personal responsibility during a period of time that is missing.
In the television broadcast, not only did the screen go 'blank' momentarily, but he had, emotionally, a very difficult time even allowing himself to be present during the black out.
This increased the intensity of the language which told us:
1. He remembers
2. He wants to skip over it
3. It was so bad, he wants to take himself out of it.
All of this in one sentence.