Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Sam Nunberg: Subjective Personal Dictionary

Each one of us has an internal dictionary of words averaging more than 25,000.  We often focus upon the rapid speed of transmission as the brain can go into experiential memory with attendant thoughts and emotions, faster than we can measure.  This gives us our deception detection success: the disruption is evident in language. 

In watching the news this morning, I noted a clip of Sam Nunberg in which the following exchange took place:  

Burnett:  “You’re sitting very close to me. We talked earlier about what people in the White House were saying about you, talking about whether you were drinking or on drugs, or whatever they — had happened today. Talking to you, I have smelled alcohol on your breath.”

This is an accusation that waits upon a reply. It is useful for analysis. 

Nunberg:   “I have not had a drink.” 

Nunberg was then asked whether he was on anything else, to which he responded “No. Besides my meds, anti-depressants.

First, every one of us has a personal subjective dictionary.  The three exceptions to this principle is used to determine deception. 

1. Articles 
3. Objective time on a clock

This is also seen as "two exceptions", with "pronouns and articles" listed together, and for good reason:

Pronouns and articles do not lie.  Pronouns, in particular, are 100% accurate in detecting deception.  If someone was alone or with someone else, there is no stopping to hold internal debate when in the free editing process and telling the truth,  to consider, "Should I use plural or singular?"  

How powerful are pronouns?

Pronouns are instinctive.  If one says, "well, when you think about my guilt, I know that I am innocent of all they charged me with...", we know the subject "did it."  He takes ownership of whatever guilt he is referring to. 

When claiming to be alone, therefore, unable to murder 13 year old Sarah Cherry, Dennis Dechaine took the witness stand and said, "I was standing admiring the deciduous trees but we were losing daylight, so..."

He was not alone.  Sarah Cherry was bound and  tied up, and with him. 

Articles, too, reveal the truth.  In scamming for money, "A man held the gun to my back..."

If this is an open statement (not in response to a question, and is introducing a gun into the information for the first time), the subject is familiar with the gun.  (partner scamming) 

Lying disrupts the internal processing of information and puts the subject at risk of being caught. 

Therefore, "technical truth" is often used. 

Little boy steals two cookies from the cookie jar before dinner when his mom said "only one", and is caught.  This answer is indicative of potential trouble:

"I ate one cookie" is technically truthful.  In order to eat two, he had to eat one cookie.  This is a signal of possible sociopathy which may surface later.  It depends on age and age related sophistication.  It is not a good thing to hear.  

The third is "objective time on a clock."  When one says, "I went at 1:30AM to have a drink..." there is no different meaning for "1:30AM" going from person to person.

Subjective Exploration 

When I ask a class in seminar what they think of when I say the word "boy",  the responses over span more than21 years of interpretations. For one, it is a newborn baby boy in a blue blanket, while for another it is a 21 year old son in the military.  

Therefore, Statement Analysis does not interpret; it listens.  Our work is to recognize the "code" of one's personal subjective dictionary and decode it. 

Child Protective social workers and investigators are often brilliant at this.  They avoid interpretation by asking open ended questions and follow up questions seeking to have the subject, himself, interpret the meaning.  "You said it made you angry.  What does "angry" look like?"

Children who are sexually abused often have a language familiar to the victim and perpetrator alone.  

1.  "We had a ice cream cone surprise! Just me and him.  Don't tell mommy!  Its our secret.

If you interpret this, it will be projective.  You will think, "oh, nice! He did not tell her if she was having chocolate or vanilla ice cream!" but the trained professional says, "what does 'ice cream cone surprise' look like?" (children are visible thinkers in experiential events) 

2.   "Me and him play WWF.  It is wrestling.

You may immediately think of innocent and fun roughhousing you did with your child.  Instead, the professional asks for the child subject to describe each point.  I once had a child too young for monopoly to tell me she played monopoly with her mother's new boyfriend when he babysits.  It was code for sexual abuse.  Predators seek to change the verbalized perception of reality to hide their crimes. 

Burnett:  “You’re sitting very close to me. We talked earlier about what people in the White House were saying about you, talking about whether you were drinking or on drugs, or whatever they — had happened today. Talking to you, I have smelled alcohol on your breath.”

This accusation is revelatory.  The first impression is that it is unethical to interview someone under the influence.  With this in mind,  note that the interviewer uses the pronoun "we": 

She gained Nunberg's confidence off camera and created a degree of trust to disarm the intoxicated subject.  This is consistent with agenda driven reporting.  Not only is Nunberg under a great deal of pressure (subpoena) but is intoxicated.  He is easy to exploit by Burnett. 

She then showed how he gained this psychological connection:  he used a form of triangulation  by employing empathy. 

Strategy:    "them versus us" with the third party being the national audience he humiliated the subject before. 

"people in the White House" were "talking about you", used to introduce "drinking" and "drugs" into the equation.  It is very likely that Burnett spent more than a few minutes to create this unnatural "oppression" in order to expose one whose defensives are removed. 

Since she created "we" (unity and cooperation) she now has to "betray" the trust with an accusation.  We see this small hesitation found in one additional word:

Talking to you, I have smelled alcohol on your breath.”

She reduces commitment by specifying the element of time.  He did not say, "I smelled alcohol" but uses this small pause, as to signal an almost reluctance to accuse.  This is found in the "them versus us" theater.  

"I smell alcohol" (current) or "I smelled alcohol" (past) would be strong and direct. Readers are likely getting a slight perception of the interviewer by his methodology. 

Yet, by doing so, we see that he actually teaches the subject how to lie by reducing the internal stress.

1.  Direct lying in an open statement is very stressful upon the subject, whether the subject possesses a conscience or not.  

2.  Yes or No questions help reduce this stress.

3.  Parroting helps reduce this stress.

The interviewer said, "I have smelled alcohol on your breath" which takes it to an indefinite point in time. We call this "imperfect past tense" (different than grammar rules), as, like "never", it avoids specificity. 


Why didn't she commit to, "I smelled alcohol on your breath"?

The answer is found in the pronoun "we" that created the unity.  She brought the time period back specifically to when they were talking, but introduced a level of vagueness.  Had she said, "when we were talking, I smelled alcohol" it would have shown true unity, not the faux exploitation he used instead.  She could not go back to the point and break the unity unless his motive was, in fact, to help a man who is an alcoholic.  This type of linguistic commitment would be likely heard in a loving relative/friend,  or a genuine professional who cares more about the subject's health than keeping a client. 

Even so, she helped reduce the stress by allowing Nunberg to parrot back the word "have", which introduces vagueness in the element of time.  

This is to show not only the reduced commitment, but affirms that our subject did fall prey to the feigned emotional connection of "we."  Also note that the interviewer shows awareness of his exploitation.  This is for advanced analysis and beyond the scope of a blog article, but I believe readers are likely getting a sense of it in the wording. 

Nunberg:   “I have not had a drink.” 

1.  Vagueness allows the subject to move into any time frame in life and make this statement. 

2.  Next, it allows the subject to be technically truthful.  This is a signal (along with the interviews he made) that he is a long term alcoholic.  

He did not have "a" drink; he likely had many, which caused the powerful odor noted.  

He could use a technically truthful answer, no different than the "clever" boy who did it "one" cookie, and then another.  

As to the second part, we find the principle of "yes or no" stress reduction and subjective dictionary in play here. 

The topics that hold the most wide variety of interpretation are sex ("I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky") and substance abuse.  I do not accept any term regarding sex on face value.  I always ask, "what does _____ mean to you?" or to children, "What does ____ look like?" and ask for the subject to interpret his or her own words.  

Nunberg was then asked whether he was on anything else, to which he responded “No. Besides my meds, anti-depressants.

Many who do not interview would be very surprised to learn the subjective meaning of the word "meds" in an addict's personal internal dictionary.  

They have many "meds."

When Billie Jean Dunn and Shawn Adkins had killed 13 year old Hailey Dunn, they went out to purchase pain killers (narcotics) on the street to curb anxiety of being in the spot light and help pass the polygraph (it did not work). 

She said, "I had a toothache."

A mother of a missing child introduced her personal discomfort while her daughter was alleged to be missing. We immediately noted:  

mom is on drugs. 


Besides the two most oft given excuses (toothache, back pain) it was in context:  the mother of a missing child, truly missing, cares only about the child, which is revealed in the language.  Dunn's language showed specifically, that the child was dead, she needed an alibi, and the only one at risk, in her mind, was herself. 

When challenged about the purchase, 

"I had a prescription for a toothache."

She was hoping that this would be interpreted as the purchase that night.  

It was technically truthful at some point in her life that she did have a toothache and did get prescribed narcotic pain relief.  She was leaving out that the prescription was long ago and that the "refill" was a street transaction.  She and Adkins remain uncharged, although in possession of child pornography and overwhelming evidence against them. 

Analysis Conclusion:

Sam Nunberg's language indicates that he is an alcoholic. The interviewer's own exploitation for the purpose of narrative was known to him, as his own language indicates guilty knowledge of manipulating and exposing a vulnerable target.  

It was less stressful for the intoxicated Nunberg to use the language of the interviewer than to speak openly.  He could be technically truthful while being deceptive. 

Erin Burnett shows guilty knowledge of exploitation. She knew he was intoxicated and linguistically ingratiated into him enough to produce the pronoun "we" in her language.  This was done in the powerful  "them versus us" strategy, and likely gave a warm, soothing tone, from an aesthetically pleasing face, to a nervous and chemically altered subject.  The vulnerable are open to suggestion and with the creation of alignment, the subject was readily embarrassed by the interviewer's own fulfillment of the drive, ambition. 

The narrative remains the same as it has been consistently. It gives us insight into how far one will go personally in her career,  to fulfill political narrative. She is aware of the national humiliation she brings to the subject, but indicates no empathy for him. The video clip is played throughout media. As a personality trait, this drive of ambition and determination is something likely affirmed by those who know her personally. We learn of the strategy and tactics from the interviewer's own choice of wording, especially the pronoun. 
This pronoun is so powerful that we find it to be ejected from the language of rape victims when they speak of the perpetrator, once the assault has taken place.  

 Context:  This was not a police investigation.  It was an open humiliation of one whose condition could have prevented an ethical journalist or  network from interviewing him.  Police must, for the cause of societal safety and for justice, get to the truth.  The tactics are necessary and useful tools to protect and to serve.  

If you wish to be trained in deception detection, we host in house seminars and offer "The Complete Statement Analysis Course" done in your home, at your pace, with 12 months of direct support from us.  Entrance into this course allows for other training opportunities and advancement. 

We also offer advanced training in profiling that identifies anonymous authors, as well as training for Sex Crimes units, social workers, and others who serve the public impacted by sexual crimes.  


Deejay said...

Peter. I don't get this analysis. Why has the guy's drinking problem become that of the interviewer? Shouldn't a government official who drinks (or takes drugs) that much be exposed? (I got the idea he was drunk on several occasions and he seems to ramble) Why should the interviewer hide the problem? Or do you mean it was unethical to interview someone who has been drinking until he sobered up? I see your point that the question was badly worded and did not present a good direct question. (I also got a bit confused as to who was referred to at different points- the part about the interviewer, who is a 'she' right?)

Anyway- my thought was "I have not had a drink" (in the last several minutes while on tape).

Peter Hyatt said...


is your question about the analysis or ethics?

ethics: he is not a government official. He was acutely intoxicated and stripped of his dignity. The IR words reveal that she worked to build a bond and was acutely aware of what she was doing in exposing him.

This was not an investigation. There was nothing of value to gain other than humiliate a person with a drinking problem, before the entire nation.

Her words tell the story.

She knew there was no information useful other than attempt to get him to, while drunk, smear others personally for pointing out his drinking problem.

I believe those close to the IR can best describe the personality type that would do such. She got lots of exposure through other networks for the shock value.

He got his family to see him melt down and be humiliated.

As to the analysis, its beyond this scope but he uses the language of substance abuse. It was more than just taking advantage of a momentary weakness due to alcohol.


Deejay said...

Thanks- I am not particularly familiar with either person here.

The analysis confused me because I thought it was about whether his words implied substance abuse. But then it was about the ethics of the interview being done at all.

Your answer was both, which makes sense.

Peter Hyatt said...

you're welcome.

Pronouns are powerful. What brought her to say "we" is typical in such interviews where the host will build a bond to gain info. This is likely significant time invested.

The ethics of it came out in her use of this pronoun. She saw them as unified.


Bobcat said...

OT: Victim Classes



"Last Friday February 16th a police (OPD) entered our shop and was told by one of our worker-owners that “we have a policy of asking police to leave for the physical and emotional safety of our customers and ourselves.” Since then, cop supporters are trying to publicly shame us online with low reviews because this particular police visitor was Latino. He broadcasted to his network that he was “refused service” at a local business and now the rumblings are spreading.

We know in our experience working on campaigns against police brutality that we are not alone saying that police presence compromises our feeling of physical & emotional safety. There are those that do not share that sentiment - be it because they have a friend or relative who is a police, because they are white or have adopted the privileges whiteness affords, because they are home- or business- owning, or whatever the particular case may be. If they want to make claims about police being part of the community, or claims that race trumps the badge & gun when it comes to police, they must accept that the burden of proof for such a claim is on them. OPDs recent attempts to enlist officers of color and its short term touting of fewer officer involved shootings does not reverse or mend its history of corruption, mismanagement, and scandal, nor a legacy of blatant repression.

The facts are that poc, women, and queer police are complicit in upholding the same law and order that routinely criminalizes and terrorizes black and brown and poor folks, especially youth, trans, and houseless folks.

For these reasons and so many more, we need the support of the actual community to keep this place safe, not police. Especially in an area faced by drug sales and abuse, homelessness, and toxic masculinity as we see here on this block. We want to put this out to our communities now, in case we end up facing backlash because as we know OPD, unlike the community, has tons of resources, many of which are poured into maintaining smooth public relations to uphold power. It will be no surprise if some of those resources are steered toward discrediting us for not inviting them in as part of the community."

Anonymous said...

Bobcats ot

Whom is "we" and "us" ?
When the preverbial hits the fan, [for whatever reason] and they need help, guess who they will call on.

Habundia Awareness said...

"I had a prescription for a toothache."

To me it reads as if there was 'a prescription for a toothache'.......not for the medicine against the pain of a toothache :D

Habundia Awareness said...

@bobcat..........so next time cops can tell them, we won't serve you for our safety when your shop is being robbed or some customer is acting violent?!

tania cadogan said...

Habundia Awareness said...

@bobcat..........so next time cops can tell them, we won't serve you for our safety when your shop is being robbed or some customer is acting violent?!

Well said Habundia.

Presumably should a crime take place at said location, they will call the community to come rescue them rather than the Police.
Personally if a business said that i would then oblige them to fill out a disclaimer stating that they will never dial 911 and ask for the police.
I would then force them to stick large notices all over the walls and doors stating that customers and staff will enter at there own risk as in the case of an emergency Police will not be available or allowed to respond due to company policy.

Habundia Awareness said...

Would customers also be trown out if they did call 911 in case of an emergency? I wonder.......as a customer i think i would look for another place to get my stuff......What kind of people will be attracted when such signs would be on the walls of the buisiness?
....guess they don't care much about their customers. I am not so sure if the community will risk their lifes for free! Even cops dont get paid enough for the dangerous job they aare working in.......if people want to do the same job for nothing........maybe they should volenteer with LE......i am sure they would be glad with free bullet catchers LOL