Friday, November 23, 2012

Unreliable Versus Deceptive

In Statement Analysis, as analysis is completed, readers sometimes want an immediate "is it a lie or is it the truth?" and the answer is not always this simplistic.

I think that not only do we want a quick fix answer, but Hollywood ("Lie To Me") and what I call, "The Casey Anthony Effect" contributes to an overly simplistic view of deception. In this short article, I hope to clarify these issues, and lead readers to a more mature understanding of the nature of lying, in particular, with regard to present crimes.

For instance, when Adam Baker called 911, the analysis showed him as a "guilty caller".

What does "guilty caller" mean?

Another example is Tiffany Hartley. Her interviews show deception, but perhaps not direct lying.

A criminal statement, given to investigators, can be 100% deceptive even while each and every sentence is 100% truthful. In fact, this is the norm.

Recently, we viewed the written testimony of someone who identified herself as an eyewitness in the Hartley case. Her posting, technically, would be deemed "unreliable" overall. What does this mean?

The sensitivity indicators means complexity. Sometimes sensitivity indicators show clear deception.

Q. Did you smoke pot while on duty?

A. Me? I never smoke pot.

This shows the obvious sensitivity reaction and it is not for CERTAIN that the subject smoked pot while on duty. The sensitivity is noted or red flagged, and in the interview, it is likely that the follow up questions will show that the subject smoked pot on duty, but it COULD mean that the subject took pills, or drank alcohol while on duty. This is why sensitivity indicators are to be used IN the interview/interrogation process.

However, in enough sensitivity indicators we can see deception unfolding. It may matter little if the subject was high or drunk, while on duty. This is where the "technical" truth must be viewed.

We saw this with President Clinton when asked if he smoked pot and he said he had never broken the laws of his country. (He admitted smoking pot in England). He denied having "sexual relations" with Monica; he did not deny having "sex". Later, Monica told Linda Tripp that Clinton once told her that since they never slept together (intercourse) they didn't have sexual "relations". This is useful for Statement Analysis. We must be careful to listen to the words chosen, not our interpretation.

Let's take a look at some of the particulars so that we can grow in knowledge:

1. Open Statement versus Interview

2. Rarity of defined lie

3. Truth found within deceptive statements

1. The Open Statement is where the subject controls the editing process and chooses words. This can take place when someone speaks even in response to the open ended "what happened?" question. But as the interview goes forward, we find that the subject will reflect language back to the interviewer. When "you know" enters the statement, note carefully that the subject has become acutely aware of the Interviewer. This slowing, like a stall to think, begins to show its "habit" at certain points.

In an open statement, the subject edits freely (we all edit, otherwise a story would never end!) and chooses to add what is most important to him.

This is where the "I didn't do it" come into play.

It is almost impossible; almost impossible, for a guilty person to tell us, in the open, freely spoken statement, to say "I didn't do it" plainly.

I cannot impress this more upon the reader.

In fact, we can see example after example of long statements of "denial" that do not include the simple "I didn't do it". Yet, if during a question and answer period, it is easier for the guilty to answer the question, "did you do it?" with "no, I didn't" as lying now utilizes the words from the Interviewer.

"I would never harm my husband" Tiffany Hartley said.

Note that this future tense denial is weak, and it is unreliable. It is also truthful.

We see this often in guilty cases.

"I would never steal!" is not the same as "I did not steal".

First person singular, past tense, establishes commitment.

Note also that in murders, especially of children, there is a minimization of the death by the guilty which is why the reduced "harm" is used rather than "killed".
In Tiffany's case, if she indeed had him killed, it can be said that her statement "I would never harm my husband" is technically truthful; future tense, given what has happened, she would not.

The same goes for theft and other issues after being caught. It is likely that, now with all the legal trouble, they won't, future tense, do it again. At least, if they were to say this sentence hooked up to a polygraph, it would test as truthful: they believe it.

We must keep in mind what is said freely by the subject, and what is said within a close question and answer period. This means that Tiffany Hartley's statements given in her interviews that began with "what happened" are the most important, as they represent her own words. As the interviews progressed, journalists often wrongly ask compound or long-winded questions; and the subject can now reflect back the Interviewer's language.

2. Rarity of a Defined Lie

If by "lie" we mean a reflection of reality that isn't true, we can work with "Zanny the Nanny took Caylee" properly. This is a lie because Zanny the Nanny does not exist in reality. Here, the rarity is found plainly: Casey is not so much being "deceptive" but is outright lying.

It is rare.

President Clinton didn't "lie"; and this form of "lie" is, indeed, rare.

President Clinton was misleading and he was deceptive, but because of the technical lying aspect, we must carefully examine the words.

Some people will just say, "he lied!" and I understand it. We swear to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" and anything else is called a "lie".

Not so for Statement Analysis which can take a liar's words and still learn what happened! How?

By understanding that many statements made by those who are accused can be both truthful AND withhold the critical piece of having "done it".

We must ask ourselves: Can the subject be truthful and still have done it?

3. Truth Found Within Deceptive Statements

By dismissing someone as a liar, we may lose a great number of facts within a case.

"he was face down, I went to see if he was ok". Someone told me that they wanted to ask Tiffany what "ok" means to her. The person likely meant it sarcastically, but in fact, it is an excellent question, as we seek to enter into her vocabulary.

The witness is unreliable. She apparently believes she is being helpful in condemning Mexican authorities and assimilating her faith with Tiffany's. By "unreliable" it means that should either prosecution or defense interview her, they would find enough holes in her account to dismiss her. She may not have deliberately wanted to deceive, but emotions caught up, and the helicopter became "frantic" in her mind; especially looking back and feeling so terribly sorry for Tiffany. The "we" is a violation of "First Person Singular, past tense" formula which has proven in decades of research to be unreliable and weak. This is why collateral interviews are done in investigations. Remember all the things the "waitress" told the news reporter while dining in Flordia in the Casey Anthony case? Collateral contacts showed what Statement Analysis showed: unreliable. The contacts did not cooberate what the reporter said she heard. The transparent "natural blonde" language is picked up in Statement Analysis (extra words are those in which the sentence still works without, are DOUBLY important to analysis; the word "natural" stood out like a sore thumb).

The witness out fishing with her husband was, in deed, out fishing with her husband; she is not "lying"; but what she saw/heard is through the lense of her "camera", ie, her emotions, sympathy, etc. This is something we all have and experience. If you take a woman who was tramautized, for instance, in domestic violence, and she hears someone raise his voice, she may report it as far worse than it actually was. Interesting enough, statement analysis will still get to the truth, even though she may believe this with her whole heart! The words our hearts chose are chosen in less than a microsecond and are what we focus our attention on. She is likely a very decent person who deeply resents the violence at the dangerous borders and feels intense sympathy for Tiffany Hartley. Yet, her statement is not reliable, and won't be used sucessfully by anyone in the future. Certainty in truth is expressed by First Person Singular Past Tense. We believe what we are told unless the words give us reason not to.

In fact, police did the right thing in actually driving Casey Anthony to Zanny's "apartment". Casey the rare liar, then is now seen as a fabricator of reality, and it becomes our baseline to work from.

We find many people say things like, "110% truthful!" or "700% truthful!" and it is meant for emphasis, but actually shows that in their internal dictionary, they have downgraded 100% to less than the full truth.

If someone says, "I didn't ask anyone to lie!" it is right to ask them, "did you tell anyone to lie?" because this is how deceptive people work; avoid outright lying.

One former politician was accused of having a homosexual affair and lost reelection. Years later, the same reporter who outed him interviewed him again at a Gay Rights meeting. He said, "you lied to me when I interviewed you 10 years ago!". The politician said, "no I didn't. You asked me if I had a problem with homosexuality and I told you I didn't." The headlines had read that he denied the homosexual affair.

"Politicians are all liars!". I disagree. Rare is the "liar" when viewed in Statement Analysis. Deceptive? Oh, yes, and then some, but not by lying directly. Rare is the "I was in Viet Nam in 1970" type of fabrication of reality. This type of liar is not only rare, but more dangerous than most will ever acknowledge.

However, with the exception of articles ("the" "a", etc) and pronouns ("my, mine, him, his, etc") each person has a subjective internal dictionary and the interviewer is to enter into that personal dictionary. It is proper to ask "What does "ok" mean to you?". Readers may be surprised if they begin to ask others, "What is sex?".

You may expect a plain response, but be prepared.

Take the word, "boy" for example.

What is the meaning of "boy" in the following statements?

"We need more weapons for our fighting boys over there!"

"Ok boys, you must learn to pass the puck too!"

The first may indicate males, 18-24 years of age; but the second may mean males ages 6-8 years of age.

This is why interviews must be skillfully conducted which is why the readership here is so frustrated in the Tiffany media interviews.

How can someone NOT ask a question when they hear:

"there were two others, but I didn't see them"??

It is frustrating.

Answers will come. In fact, I think we will eventually see Mexican prosecutors announce a murder indictment in the next few months. The Mexican law enforcement has had its share of ridicule in this case. Professionals read the cracks made against them and it may motivate them to get to the truth.

There is a reason why Tiffany Hartley has gone more than 2 months avoiding taking a law enforcement administered polygraph.

In her interviews, sensitivity indicators piled up, as well as direct indicators of deception.

When pronouns disappear, there is a reason.

"I went to the store. Picked up some video games. Left. I came home and the next thing I knew, police were here."
This statement was made by a young man accused of stealing video games from a store. Note what he said:

1. I went to the store. First person singular, past tense. He is committed to this and so shall we be. We can say that he went to the store.

2. Picked up some video games. Left

We cannot say he purchased video games because he has not told us so. Interesting that he used the words "picked up". But the missing pronouns keep us from saying that he purchased them, even though he claimed to have paid cash, later when questioned.

His statement is 100% true. It is also deceptive.

(He was guilty of theft).

The pronouns disappeared for good reason: he removed himself from the sensitive part of the statement.

We saw the same thing about two subjects:

The boats

The shooting

Then we saw Tiffany use the gender neutral "people" regarding the shooters.

She left out, in one interview, the "friendly, very friendly" waving.


It is difficult to keep track of what has been told, and what has been deliberately withheld.

Statement Analysis is hard work. It is best used with large samples and its greatest use is within the interview.

By looking at the words chosen, we get to the truth.

We carefully examine pronouns.

When is David Tiffany's "husband"?
When is he "David"?

We all use pronouns and proper names. Where we use them, in context, tells listeners a great deal about us.

It also reveals much about Tiffany.


John Mc Gowan said...

Great article Peter.


Peter if someone said, "they,he,she,sat me down and told me,xyz"


"They,he,she,stood and told me xyz"

Would the latter example show more stress given that they STOOD and TOLD,as apposed to,SAT AND TOLD,being that both examples use body positioning.


Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla

In Statement Analysis, as analysis is completed, readers sometimes want an immediate "is it a lie or is it the truth?" and the answer is not always this simplistic.

I believe we innately decipher communication and have the ability to immediately “sense” a lie. I suggest the analysis be completed once one is out of harms way.

John Mc Gowan said...

It reminds of when people say,there's something about him/her I don't like,and they can't put ther finger on it.

I think we pick up unconsciously words said and the way there phrased.

I think also we pick up on Micro Expressions(Ekman) and are unaware,which gives us a gut feeling that all is not good..

It's great to be able to put my finger on what it is that doesn't feel right.
Learning SA has doubled my awareness of potential deception .

Anonymous said...

Peter I know you're very busy but I sure wish you would do some analysis on the George Zimmerman case we have here in Florida. His father,brother and two friends are all liars in my humble opinion.

You do such great work and I for one appreciate it.

BTW did you know that Ryan Widmar's
friends have a blog which blames everyone except Ryan.

Thanks for all you do to explain things for us.
Tommy's Mom

Mainah said...

When I first found SA, just several months ago, I read "ask yourself what you would say as an innocent person". The problem was, initially, whenever I mentally put myself in the writer or speakers "shoes", I could not condemn them for anything they said. I made compelling excuses for them, because, after all, I was viewing myself as innocent while in their shoes.

I had to get out of the "shoes" (head) and learn the unbiased basic principles of SA: pronouns, tense, qualifiers, etc.

Now, I follow the basic principles before getting in their shoes (head) to imagine the words I would have choose. This is a part of SA I currently enjoy the most; pondering why someone would choose to say "set in stone" instead of "when it's for sure", etc., or; "that's a load of crap". What does crap mean: junk, shit, waste, nasty stuff. It certainly does not mean: lie(s), fiction, untruths. Yet they're seemingly synonymous for the liar. It's a weak way of sounding like you're denying an accusation, without acknowledging (owning) the accusation.

I can't wait to learn more!

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla
Tommy's Mom
November 23, 2012 2:44 PM
Is your last name Kelly?

Anonymous said...

Q. Did you smoke pot while on duty?

A. Me? I never smoke pot.


This is something I may have answered. I have never smoked or used any drugs (or cigarettes)in my 45 year old life, and I have never tasted alcohol.

So if I was ever asked such a question, I would have been surprised, and may well have answered: Me?! I never smoke!

So, I will say that all guilty of smoking pot will be answering the way (or something like it) you are showing here. But some (not all) innocent may also.

It's a case of "Every woman who gives birth has been pregnant, but not everyone who is pregnant gives birth"

And "All slaves were black, but not all blacks were slaves."

Anonymous said...

FINALLY someone talks about the subject of "everyone who lies might remove the pronoun, but not everyone who removes the pronoun lies"! how can proponents of statement analysis fail so miserably in stating that not everyone who uses "never" or omits a pronoun is lying?