Monday, October 1, 2018

Judge Kavanaugh Unreliable Denial

We begin with:

1. The accusation is deceptive. It does not come from experiential memory and it is deliberately designed to deceive for political purpose. 

2. The denial does not need to be "Reliable", nor does "Unreliable" indicate deception. This is basic Statement Analysis. 

3.  Judge Kavanaugh went well beyond the boundary and entered "moralizing." Does this mean he was deceptive?

Investigators who conduct interviews, know that many de facto innocent subjects will use the word "never" when there is no psychological engagement with the accusation. It may take a few questions to get them to issue a denial, but we do not conclude deception based upon the word "never." 

Investigators frequently experience this and are skilled at recognizing it and asking appropriate follow up questions. 

"I never shot anyone."

This is a true statement. 

Concluding "deception indicated" with the word "never" will continually lead to error. 

Sometimes a subject uses "never" because of a refusal to lie outright.  We have other indicators of deception that we compile together. Lance Armstrong "never" used PEDs.  Alone, this would not have been enough to conclude deception.  

Sometimes a subject uses "never" and did not "do it." 

                      By itself, it does not stand. 

When the subject avoids a specific allegation with the word "never", we need other indicators in addition to this, to conclude deception. 

 Context is key. The psychological engagement with an accusation should bring a subject directly to an event, and allow him or her to issue a reliable denial.  

An accusation based upon a decade will not do this.  


Anonymous said...

Thank you for clearing up the confusion.

Unknown said...


Thank you for all your analyses regarding Judge Kavanaugh and CBF. I still have a lot to learn about SA and your analyses are fascinating and helpful.

Below is a statement I just saw on the MSN homepage. I hope that you, and maybe some of your posters who are knowledgeable in SA, will take the time to do an analysis of the statement given by one of Judge Kavanaugh's classmates from Yale.

READ: Yale classmate's full statement on Kavanaugh

"Chad Ludington, a Yale classmate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, accused him on Sunday of being untruthful in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and making a "blatant mischaracterization" of his drinking while in college. Read his full statement below:"

"I have been contacted by numerous reporters about Brett Kavanaugh and have not wanted to say anything because I had nothing to contribute about what kind of Justice he would be. I knew Brett at Yale because I was a classmate and a varsity basketball player and Brett enjoyed socializing with athletes. Indeed, athletes formed the core of Brett's social circle.

In recent days I have become deeply troubled by what has been a blatant mischaracterization by Brett himself of his drinking at Yale. When I watched Brett and his wife being interviewed on Fox News on Monday, and when I watched Brett deliver his testimony under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, I cringed. For the fact is, at Yale, and I can speak to no other times, Brett was a frequent drinker, and a heavy drinker. I know, because, especially in our first two years of college, I often drank with him. On many occasions I heard Brett slur his words and saw him staggering from alcohol consumption, not all of which was beer. When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive. On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man's face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail.

I do not believe that the heavy drinking or even loutish behavior of an 18 or even 21 year old should condemn a person for the rest of his life. I would be a hypocrite to think so. However, I have direct and repeated knowledge about his drinking and his disposition while drunk. And I do believe that Brett's actions as a 53-year-old federal judge matter. If he lied about his past actions on national television, and more especially while speaking under oath in front of the United States Senate, I believe those lies should have consequences. It is truth that is at stake, and I believe that the ability to speak the truth, even when it does not reflect well upon oneself, is a paramount quality we seek in our nation's most powerful judges.

can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth.

I felt it was my civic duty to tell of my experience while drinking with Brett, and I offer this statement to the press. I have no desire to speak further publicly, and nothing more to say to the press at this time. I will however, take my information to the FBI."


MizzMarple said...

My apologies for not signing into my Google Account for the above. Thank you.


Cathy in Manchester UK said...

While this is not part of statement analysis, there are a few observations I have of her testimony. Christine Ford is a professor of psychology which to my understanding means she will have had to undergo extensive personal psychology sessions. Psychologists are expected to undertake many tens of hours of personal psychological work in order to function effectively. This work is considered vital in the prevention of counter-transference (and other important issues). In effect, psychologists are expected to deal with their own "baggage". And yet she claims she did not divulge this "assault" through any of her personal therapy sessions, or while undertaking marriage guidance counselling. This would be very uncommon if not unheard of for someone who has advanced to such a level in her field.
I also found her manner interesting; she was alternately ingratiating or giving a good impression of a rabbit caught in the headlights. When she heard sympathetic questioning, she was nothing less than ingratiating, but when the questioning was a little less friendly, she was almost a blubbering mess. When she gave her account of the supposed assault, she had lapsed into whiny querulousness (much like my five-year-old granddaughter when caught doing something she shouldn't) long before she arrived at any part of the narrative at which she would appropriately become upset.

Plus, some of the narrative appeared to have changed from her original statement. I felt as though she had been reading your blog Peter, and inserted more appropriate language relating to the alleged assault when she gave her testimony. It seemed more polished, and she had changed things like "he physically pushed me" to "he pushed me" and "I ran across to the bathroom and shut the door behind me" to "I ran to the bathroom and shut the door".
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape I find Christine Ford's actions less than convincing while being despicable.

Anonymous said...

Cathy in Manchester,

She is a research psychologist, not a clinical psychologist who treats patients, so «countertransference» and «baggage» is not a relevant factor. This is a huge difference in US and particularly in CA, where, unless one is a licensed clinical psychologist, one is not even allowed to refer to oneself as a «psychologist». Research/teaching track has no requirement for personal therapy. Even clinical psychology programs have largely done away with this requirement, much to the lament of experienced licensed mental health professionals who train and supervise future psychotherapists. Clinical psychotherapy interns always have a supervisor, and any issues such as «countertransference» when working with a patient are dealth with in supervision.

Bobcat said...

Great video, Peter.

OT: Anonymous "hate" has already been shared on Yahoo News and HuffPo

"THIS IS WHY THEY KNEEL! I’m very vocal and always will be! You think racism does not exist, IT DOES! This was left for MY BABY tonight at Applebee’s in Radcliff!
I wish!!! I would ever be present when someone disrespects my child! I don’t accept or tolerate disrespect! I’m furious but I know there’s a God in Heaven who sits high and looks low! Racial and social justice!
I kneel at the cross and stand for the pledge but racism is real! Take a look in the mirror. Are you strong enough to stand against it? I AM AND ALWAYS WILL BE!
My beautiful child, I got you! Always will! Hold your head HIGH and ALWAYS be proud of who you are!"

Tania Cadogan said...

can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth.

Spot the dropped pronoun if this is accurate

Mizzmarple said...

My mistake when I copied and pasted:

The sentence starts off with "I"

Thank you.

Anonymous said...


Shouldn't he have, at least, made a denial specific to HER though?

ie. I never sexually assaulted Christine Blasey

Maddie said...

His testimony has so many red flags. I’m conservative but I think politics is in play here. I don’t believe him.

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

Thank you Peter for the teaching video. I was confused on the "never" principle and applying it incorrectly. Lesson learned.

Laura said...

I just watched this & heard about the gang rape accusation.

The description of the gang rape thing allegedly going on at the parties reminds me very much of a scene described at the beginning of Toni Morrison's book "Love".

Toni Morrison is very revered by women's studies and black studies professors and this scene may have helped shape the accusation if it is, in fact, false.

I am not convinced of his guilt or innocence myself, but I just wanted to throw that info out there that it is almost exactly like a scene from the beginning of Toni Morrison's book "Love", which came out, i believe, about 15 years ago.

GeekRad said...

Thank you for the video and for clearing up "never" Peter!

Anonymous said...

I'm curious of your analysis on the following points. I realize I am pulling these quotes out of full context. My hope is that you'll take some time to watch and provide analysis of both Dr Ford's and Mr. Kavanaugh's testimony. Here are the specific items I found curious...

Kavanaugh: All the witnesses who were there say it didn't happen. (He didn't say "who were alleged to be there," or "who the accused claims were there."
Kavanaugh: But the core of why we're here is an allegation for which the four witnesses present say it didn't happen. (Same issue as above)
Kavanaugh: (written statement) I'm not questioning that Dr Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time. But I have never done this. To her or to anyone. That's not who I am. It is not who I was. I am innocent of this charge. (I'm curious about the use of the word "this" in his denial potentially showing closeness rather than using "that" which would show distance. He does later use "that" in a denial saying "But I have never done that to her or to anyone."). (Also, "innocent of this charge," potentially meaning he is not innocent of other charges).
Kavanaugh: (after being asked "Have you ever passed out from drinking?") I--passed out would be--no, but I've gone to sleep, but--but I've never blacked out. That's the--that's the--the allegation, and that's--that--that's wrong." (I typed it exactly as transcript shows. Thoughts on the stumbling over words?)
Kavanaugh: (After being asked, "Did you ever tell--did anyone ever tell you about something that happened in your presence that you didn't remember during a time that you had been drinking?"). No, the--the--we drank beer, and you know, so--so did, I think, the vast majority of--of people our age at the time. But in any event, we drank beer, and--and still do. So, whatever, you know. (The use of "you know" as well as not directly answering the question.)

I'll leave those few that were interesting to me. Any plans to do a complete analysis of Kavanaugh hearing?

Peter Hyatt said...

Article on projected guilt. It highlights how undiscernjng many are.

Laura said...


"I am innocent of the charge" does not speciffy what charge or even charge against whom?

I could be thinking about a charge made against any person that I read about in the paper this AM & say "I am innocent of the charge", and that would be true.

He doesnt say "I am innocent of THIS charge or "I am innocent of the charge being made against me".

Anonymous said...

Ford's ex-boyfriend of 6 years has come out with a sworn affidavit blowing her Senate testimony out of the water. Too name a few - she lied when she said she never helped anyone prepare for a polygraph - she helped FBI Agent McClain prepare for her FBI polygraph before she was hired as an FBI agent. They lived together in a cramped 500 square foot house for years with no anxiety, no need for a second front door. She never showed any signs of anxiety, post-traumatic stress, ever said she was assaulted. She committed fraud by using his credit card without his permission after they broke up. Her team still hasn't given the Senate the complete therapist notes, the polygraph test. The prosecutor who questioned her prepared a memo outlining how this isn't a he said - she said but a she said case with no one backing her up. Isn't it interesting that FBI Agent McClain is one of those signing a support letter. I think this house of cards is starting to fall and the damage she's done to this country and assault survivors has been catastrophic.

Anonymous said...

Public record:

Check his responses.

Anonymous said...

Body language also suggests deceptive:

Unknown said...

Great points, Cathy in Manchester UK. And yes: It could also be possible that she Googled herself the right way and gotten to this blog for pointers. Or someone coaching her did.

Anonymous said...

Another shoe drops. It came out this morning that Leland Kaiser (the friend that Ford said was with her at the house) told the FBI she was pressured by none other than Ford besty and FBI agent McClain to change her testimony and say she was there. This is the same FBI agent that Ford's ex said Ford helped pass the polygraph test. There'd better be an investigation into witness tampering by Ford's side when this is said and done.

Anonymous said...

The Mitchell Report

Statement Analysis Blog said...

She did a good job with common sense. Thank you


Jens Dahl said...

Hi Peter, thanks for the explanation. I get that the word 'never' itself doesn't make him deceptive, and I see that there are too many inconsistencies in Ford's various accounts, and yet...
Ik keep reading his statement and can't help but conclude that it's basically an 'Armstrong defense': 1) Deny the allegations with indignation 2) Attack the credibility of the accuser 3) Emphasize how often you were investigated without getting caught and 4) explain that even though this has all been very terrible for you, your familiy and for millions of (voters / cancer survivors) there is no way you will quit.
I mean, those are not things you want to hear in a statement, right?
Other things that worry me: a) the first time he addresses the allegation he doesn't simply deny it, but (after emphasizing the 36 years - distancing himself?) instead refers to his own previous statement that he 'denied the allegation immediately, categorically and unequivocally'. Why quote himself? And the emphasis is not on the denial but on the 3 adverbs. Immediately: was there any reason to delay his denial? Categorically (absolute, unqualified as per Merriam-Webster): was there a need to qualify the denial? Unequivocally (leaving no doubt, clear, unquestionable): was there any room for doubt or questions? Was anything unclear as to what had happened?
b) if the allegations are untrue, can they really destroy his good name? He puts a lot of focus on this. Should an innocent man care so much?
c) the 'normal guy' argument. He goes to such great lengths citing his calendar explaining all the very 'normal' things he's been doing in the weeks when the alleged event might have taken place, it's almost too much: working out with Tobin, going to the movies with Susan. Not only does that not say what happened on the night where he actually did go for 'skis' with Mark and PJ (two people mentioned by Ford), it feels like he's painting a picture of himself as the 'sun tanned crew cut all american male', as if that is somehow exculpatory.
I don't know. Maybe he didn't do this, maybe he doesn't remember if he did. But he gives the impression that he has something to hide.