Sunday, November 1, 2015

Understanding Analysis Conclusions

"Dabbling in Lie Detection" did not prove to be a popular article if page views is any indication.

It did, however, confirm itself, in the short sample statement quiz where readers found deception where none was present and not only misapplied principle, but even 'invented' some new ones. 

Formal Training

I should have described Formal Training as more than just  introductory to include a breadth of principles, with strong challenges, and the requisite follow up that is  necessary.  

Recently, I referenced the television show, "Lie To Me" which caused a few negative responses.  In spite of its success, and with regard to the books sales from Dr. Ekman:  

There is no micro-expression training that has proven useful in detecting deception. 

Ekman, himself reveals this with his own words and actions.  He will not declare "truth or deception" on any statement, transcript, or even a video of an interview that he does not conduct, which is ironic given his research on micro expressions through the use of video, pause and slow motion.  

It is the very essence of his system so having the video and transcript of an interview, with  pause, slow motion,  and ability to zoom in on the face, should fulfill all that he has written and trained others for yet it is not so.   

I have mentioned what it means to have your company or your department judging analysis based upon your work, and in both business and in criminal investigation, that which is "on the line" can include:

A subject being arrested. 
A subject losing his or her job. 
False accusation and subsequent law suit. 
Hiring of thieves.  

The list of potential consequences is lengthy.  It is one thing to have an opinion expressed anonymously on line, and quite another when your conclusion is going to impact lives, departments and companies, as well as your own reputation which is on the line.  

For Ekman, it is actually his own claim is that his training is fruitless. 

The claim of Statement Analysis is that through study and application, the same basic results should be obtained from an analyst in California, the same as in New York, and everywhere in between.  The difference in analysis should not be in "truth or deception" but in the ability to glean content, profile, and build an interview strategy.  Depth increases with time and experience, but the initial element of coming to a conclusions of "truth or deception" should  be made. 

Let's look at the sample statement and touch upon principle.  We do not need to go deeply into the sample.  There are things you must know:  

1.  Most deception (more than 90%)  is via withheld information meaning that a deceptive statement can be 100% truthful sentence by sentence so that even if "he did it", the subject may still guide us to the truth as to how he did it, and the facts of the case (content).

2.  With this in mind, to catch a liar, the liar must force us to conclude deception.

Our presupposition is always the same:

The subject didn't do it, and is 100% truthful.

This is not a moral or ethical stance, but one in which we set up a place for the subject to convince us that his is lying.  We must be so prepared for him to be truthful, that we must find ourselves confronted by that which is either missing and should have been there, or by words used that are so very unexpected, that we are 'forced' to think differently than what we started with. 

The subject must talk you into changing your opinion.  The subject must prove to you he is deceptive.  

3.  Regarding consequence:  You cannot be wrong.  Being wrong is dangerous and can result in a cascade of trouble.  If you do not know, "inconclusive" is better than being wrong.  You cannot (if you are good at this) bear the thought that your work caused someone to lose his job, or be falsely arrested.  This must tear you up inside.  

** If you need a powerful microscope to pick up the tiniest of all points within a statement to conclude deception, you are not looking at deception. 

"...well it was like this.  We went to his parents' house for dinner and he had a six pack by himself so I drove instead.  While we were on our way to the mall, he told me to stop at the Bloom to buy more beer but I told him no he had enough but this only got him angry more.  He punched me on the side of my head.  I tried to steer the car but I almost lost control.  I told him that he was mental and unless he gets help I was done.  He put his gun to my head and told me if I did not stop talking he would shoot me.  I said we are driving so you die too.  He said try me and he didn't care.  I said we could talk it through and he told me he hated me and that he wasn't fooling around and to shut up..."

1.  He punched me on the side of my head.   This is an example of a reliable sentence.  Use, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky" as your reminder.  This sentence, alone, can be a constant guide. 

With in it we have a standard for truth and lots of lessons:

1.  The Pronoun "I"

"I" It began with the pronoun "I", which is a good beginning, as the subject is wiling to put himself, psychologically, into the sentence.  By itself, it is not enough, but it is a good start. 

2.  The Past Tense Verb

"did not" or "didn't" is a good, past tense reference.  Reid suggests that "didn't" is stronger, since it is casual, but this is not supported by the research:  both work just as well.  "Didn't" may have an element of relaxation, and "did not" may have more emphasis to it (the subject may feel he or she is not being believed) but statistically, they are identical.  Both are reliable and no differentiation should be made. 

3.  Sex

"Sexual relations" includes the topic of sex which for the analyst means:

a.  You must, each and every time, get the subject's own definition of any and every reference to sex.  The subjective dictionary of the topic of sex is very wide.  If you interpret what any term means you risk being wrong.  You may be certain in some term or another, but experience will teach you that no topic has wider variance 

b.  Sex has a language all its own, and sexual abuse victims can experience such severe post trauma that the language can change.  Disassociation, itself, can mirror passivity in language so much so, that without instruction, deception could be falsely indicated. 

c.  Perseveration can be heard not only in the language of mentally retarded victims, or adults with autism, but also of those who may not have developmental disability, but may struggle to separate what took place in childhood, with what took place as claimed.  This means that the analyst must not only decide if the sexual activity was consensual or an assault, but decide:  did it happen here and now, as claimed, or did it happen years ago?  William Kennedy Smith case is a good example of this.  

In our seminars and studies, an entire chapter, alone, is dedicated to the language of women who were sexually abused in childhood.  

d.  Child abuse victims.  Grooming perpetrators will regularly change language to confuse investigators and keep a special "code" between himself and his victims.  "Ice cream cones" and "popsicles" and other seemingly innocuous terms may be a child's way of describing sex because this is what she was taught by the perp.  

In this case, we know that President Clinton had coached Monica Lewinsky telling her that "sexual relations" is only "intercourse" (in his subjective dictionary) and if true, he would have passed his polygraph. 

Every polygrapher should memorize this sentence. 

4.  "with" is found between people, indicating distance.  The subject, Clinton, was distancing himself from Monica Lewinsky.  Whenever "we" is found between people, look for distance.  

5.  "that" is another word of distancing, and in this sentence, it is the second signal that Clinton wanted to gain psychological distance from Lewinsky. 

6.  "woman" is a gender specific term.  He did not use "person" or "lady" but "woman."  It is interesting to note how many times he used the word "person" when speaking of Hillary, his wife, instead of "woman."  This word can be used to establish pattern from subjects who speak a lot.  

7.  "Ms. Lewinsky":  the pronoun "I" and "Ms. Lewinsky" could not be further apart and this actual distance represents the powerful psychological distance between them, according to Clinton.  We also note that "Ms. Lewinsky" is not "my intern, Monica Lewinsky", or anything similar, which relates to our teaching on social introductions. 

As you can see, this one sentence is very useful for instruction and should be memorized (which cannot be terribly challenging) and used as a sample for "reliability."

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky

Pronouns:  good
Verb tense:  past tense.  Good.
Additional language:  none
Qualifiers:   none 
Reliability noted. 

There is nothing in this sentence to suggest deception.  We must, therefore, be convinced that deception is present and there is nothing here to convince us. 

 He punched me on the side of my head. 

Pronouns: good.
Verb tense:  past tense. 
Additional language:   none
Qualifiers:   none 
Reliability noted. 

It is short and passes the reliability test.  

There is nothing within this sentence that suggests deception.  We must be "talked into" deception and "talked out of" reliability.  

"...well it was like this.  We went to his parents' house for dinner and he had a six pack by himself so I drove instead.  While we were on our way to the mall, he told me to stop at the Bloom to buy more beer but I told him no he had enough but this only got him angry more.  He punched me on the side of my head.  I tried to steer the car but I almost lost control.  

"tried" attempted and failed.  This failure almost led to almost a loss of control.  

Next, think of the communicative language. 

"Said" is conversational or mildly informative while "Told" can be stronger, argumentative, authoritative, etc.  During tension or commands, "told" should be used. 

The communicative language should be past tense.  

I told him that he was mental and unless he gets help I was done.  

This is a threat to break up unless he gets help.  "Told", therefore, is appropriately used. Deception means that the person has a need to convince us and may not be working from experiential memory which sometimes shows itself in inappropriate communicative language.  

He put his gun to my head 

"He puts" would be present tense.  "He put" is past tense.  That no gun is introduced suggests that having a gun is probably common, culturally, perhaps a hunting family.  Is there anything here that talks out out of belief?

and told me if I did not stop talking he would shoot me. 

"Told" here is appropriate for the tension of the exchange.  

I saw some flag "talking" as not fitting, but I thought, "Hmm, one of them may be verbose, or "quite a chatty cathy" --this also suggested something else to me:  this may not be the first time he has done this, and she is not really afraid of him.  Make certain to consider this as we progress: 

 I said we are driving so you die too. 

"we" has entered the language after the assault.  This tells me that she does not want to break up in spite of what has happened.  There is still unity in her language. I will see if this continues.  

Also, she talked about death.  As an investigator or a mental health professional (including social worker) we need to explore her history, including possibly growing up with domestic violence,  acutely low self esteem (the real thing, not the nonsense you hear of today, but actually one who sees herself in such a terribly low view, that she is willing to accept brutal treatment).  She may have depression issues and if so, I need to explore for possible reaction to SSRI and possible substance abuse, self medication, etc.  Remember:  lots of alcohol and she had to drive here.  They've done this before. 

(I just wrote that you do not need to go deeply but...)

 He said try me and he didn't care.  I said we could talk it through 

Here we have a change from "told" to "said", and the signal is softer language.  
"Try me" tells us that she did not believe the threat. That he "said" it, and not "told" her it, matches "not caring" which could be despair, depression, resignation, rather than rage and one out of control.  

"I said", confirms the softer tone of this, which is what produced:

"we" here, as being appropriately placed. 

She still sees them as "we", that is, possible for staying together. She did not fear him which is confirmed by the need to say "try me."  This portion is not so much argumentative but things have quieted down at this point.  The language is consistent. 

"try me" might have even been in a whisper or lowered voice.  

She "said" (softer) that "we" (unity) could "talk it through" but this is about to be met with dramatic change:

and he told me

Now "told" returns and this means something harsher should be here if this is true (consistent).  So since they had a moment of quieter talk, what came out of his mouth that caused the change from "said" to "told"?

 he hated me 

That'll do it.  That'll change language.  "hate" is harsh with ugly finality to it.  

He is not kidding, and he is resolved.  By needing to reminder her that he was not kidding tells us that he sensed that she was not afraid and not taking him seriously enough for him;

and that he wasn't fooling around and to shut up..."

It gets ugly....stop talking has been met with hatred with the elevated "shut up" as things got worse.  

There is nothing within the statement to even suggest deception.  

Rape is a unique topic. 

When the word "we" enters after the rape, it is a signal that no rape took place. 

Rape is a unique form of criminal assault, with life long consequences to the victim, who does not see herself "unified" with the rapist.  We do not apply this principle of the pronoun "we" to any other topic.  

Rape is both violent and sexual.  It targets a woman where her womanhood exists, in her most vulnerable, tender portion of her body, with unwanted intrusion and violence.  There is no getting "closer" than this.  There is no more "up close and personal" than this:  it is to, quite literally "enter" the woman's body and to enter her being in the most intrusive, unwanted and violent way.  Little wonder that victims often report never feeling completely safe again. 

I have written much about sexual abuse and its impact on language, but cover it in depth in training; far more than short blog entries. 

In short, the "we" that entered this statement after the assault and gun show us that the subject did not want the relationship to end and did not fear for her life, in such case where the "fight or flight" hormone surges, impacting her language.  An argument might be made that she was suicidal, and this would be possible (part of the language) but we know she was not afraid, hinted by her wording, but confirmed in his wording. 

There was nothing here to indicate  deception.  

Formal training followed by specific application, with work being checked, question and answer, and  a strong commitment to practice is prescribed for learning lie detection.  

The system of analysis employed here developed over many decades of research in the United States, Germany, Israel as well as other nations.  Polygraph results have been compared to written statements, just as I was able to compare my written interview with psychological evaluations, in the hundreds, which allowed for verification, just as polygraphs can as well.

For information on formal training please go to HYATT ANALYSIS
discounts for hosting departments and tuition payment plans for individuals.


Bad Mommy said...

Way OT:

I have some social anxiety, PTSD, and panic attacks. Additionally, I have asthma, and take HRT for menopause.

My health plan has a way to order prescriptions online. I attempted to use this service, and was advised that ALL my medications required physician approval.

Two months ago, in early September, my primary care doctor sent me a letter telling me he had left the practice and I'd be assigned a new 'PCP' (Primary Care Physician) in the next few months.

I became very ill shortly after and wasctold that, while a new PCP had been assigned, she was easing into things and was not taking in my previous doctor's patient load all at once, but that I was scheduled to be added to her active list before the end of the year. I was offered an appointment wit a different internal medicine specialist. Now, my health plan hasa $0 copay when you see your PCP and a $15 copay for seeing another doctor. I had to pay the copay, as I am not currently assigned to a PCP. That doesn't seen reasonable, since changing doctors was not my choice, norcwaa the fact that the new doctor to whom I had been transferred was not seeing all her new patients immediately, but would be phasing them in over several months, effectively leaving me without a PCP.

I knew I was coming down with what would become a pulmonary infection, and (because I have chronic Lyme disease which impacts immunity, and asthma) that seeing a doctor was not optional.

The doctor that saw me disagreed with my assessment, recommended OTC medication. I feared that demanding a prescription would be interpreted as "drug seeking behavior" and was feeling too sick to feel luke opening that xan of worms.

Within hours, the congestion had already moved into my chest, as I had anticipated. I am old enough to know "how" I get sick, WRT how my symptoms will progress, and tried to convey this to the doctor who saw me. I was sick for the next mont, missing a week from work.

Anyway, I still have not been able to see my new PCP.

When I joined this health plan (having selected a different employer-subsidized plan than in years past) I knew I would need to select one of their "Behavioral Health" doctors for help managing anxiety and panic attacks, and thst this meant severing my relationships with prior health care and mental health care providers.

I had confidence the new plan would be a good choice for me and my family, and that this change would allow my daughter to see a specialist our prior plan didn't cover, which played a big part in my decision-making process.

I made an appointment with a mental (behavioral) health professional and met her once. She told me that she was leaving the health plan, and that they should have someone to replace her in a few months. She wrote prescriptions, including something I had never taken in the past (without explaining WHY she was adding it. She advised me to fill them at once, as her prescriptions would not be able to be filled without special approval once she left.

Ultimately, she was replaced. I met with that doctor, and while she renewed the prescriptions I had been taking when I changed plans, reducing the dosage on my anxiety medicine and eliminating the latest addition. She prescribed a different medication instead. Again, I was not told why I was being asked to take it, or why it was preferable to the medication prescribed by the prior doctor.


Katprin t said...

I was going to post my belief that this was a truthful statement but I was intimidated by the folks who see deception at every turn. I thought maybe my analysis was influenced by my violent first husband who tried to murder me (yay, Garden Grove, CA police for preventing this!) I think it is important to note that "sensitivity" (in this example, the alcohol and why the woman ended up driving the man's car) may be different from "deception."

Fun fact: I was raised as a sheltered Mormon girl who married the first guy I was sexually attracted to. The first time I realized that my first husband had a problem with drugs/alcohol was when he got drunk at a friend's wedding reception, fought with me over who would drive home, physically damaged our car, got in the car, vomited on me/the driver's area of the car, and passed out. It has been 20 years and I still remember with great clarity.

Currently, I have PTSD as a result of traumatic situations involving my ex. I am fortunate to have a loving, supportive husband but undoubtedly there are situations I describe in a sensitive manner even though I am speaking the absolute truth.

Shannon In CA said...

My reaction also was that it was truthful, but everyone kept saying they saw some deception so I thought I had to be wrong. It just didn't raise any red flags for me.

klv said...

Thank you, Peter!!

klv said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Mc Gowan said...

Thanks for the result, Peter

As my old School Teacher used to say "must do better" :)

Bad Mommy said...

No clue where part 2 went.

elf said...

For once I wasn't to far off :) I kinda thought the use of the word 'we' after the assault was part of the domestic violence aspect though. Like how a woman in an abusive relationship will try to take responsibility for being abused (i.e. :he wouldn't have had to hit me if I had his dinner ready on time).

Statement Analysis Blog said...

elf! Good post!

i appreciate the humility of some of the comments, including John's remarks.

Press on!

Some will catch a touch of offense, and this will impede, or even end, learning. Others will be inspired to dig deeper. Those childhood lessons, over even little league, or dance class lessons, can make or break us.


if people only knew the internal or private suffering that each and everyone of us experiences, we might be more compassionate.


Sus said...

Thank you, Peter. I thought it was true, but was stuck for awhile on why she used "he said" directly after. Thanks for explaining it. The change to "he told" is what finally sealed it for me. I kept thinking without that last statement, the incident probably wouldn't be reported. He dashed all hope of change with his anger.

Unknown said...

I had hoped I would have been closer, but I always consider failure to be a better teacher than success

Statement Analysis Blog said...


if you can look at that, along with my insults about Lie to Me and want to learn still, you're in a good position to press on!


Statement Analysis Blog said...

Shannon Duane said...
My reaction also was that it was truthful, but everyone kept saying they saw some deception so I thought I had to be wrong. It just didn't raise any red flags for me.

November 1, 2015 at 11:32 PM Delete

Learn to be wrong, Shannon.

This was a valuable lesson for me that I have shared before but will do again.
In a room of 20 investigators, probably with the average of 10 to 20 years experience, I was asked to stop my instruction and analyze a 2 minute 911 call. It was a closed case. Caller passed his polygraph. I initially declined to but the captain prevailed. I respect authority.

I did it over the next few hours, out loud, with them, knowing that "we must be wrong to get it right." I said, "at any point, you will feel "he is lying" and then "he is truthful" and you must be willing to be wrong, out loud, if you are going to get it right."

I concluded that the caller was deceptive, was the killer, and gave the motive ($) and a profile of him referencing his history and wrote a report a few days later.
The profile was confirmed by collateral contacts, including his history, and he was arrested a day later. The seasoned detective was there to arrest him and to hear him fail to issue a RD. He may seek a plea, but if not, I will testify.

What is interesting, perhaps, to readers, is what happened at my conclusion. They withheld the case files until after I gave my convulsion and was asked "how certain" was I. I said that I stake my career on it.

The confidence is in the system, which is why scientific scrutiny is helpful. There was a UK study which said that the SCAN system did not provide enough of a high result to justify its costs.

I carefully reviewed the study and sure enough. the errors were evidenced and could have been easily rectified. Specifically, where the suspect issued an unreliable denial, it was seen as "reliable" because it had all three elements of a RD within it.

What was missing?

The denials deemed reliable had 4 elements to them.

I teach the following:

"I did not steal the f***ing iPad."

This is not a RD. She did not steal a "f***ing iPad", she stole an iPad.

This subtle change would have drastically brought up the grading of the SCAN analysts. Also, the study came after investigators completed the course.


The post seminar practice AND CONTINUED training is essential. There is just way too much to learn in a few weeks, or in a 2 day seminar. ALL the basics are there, but so much more is needed.

The SCAN system is the basis for all today, no matter who claims credit for what. Reid, and all the others, all owe a debt to SCAN, and even where things have been built stronger, they still rest upon SCAN's shoulders.

We have the at home course, and then 12 months of support. Those who complete the course are eligible to join in monthly training which cost less than guitar lessons and is invaluable. It sharpens in a marvelous way.


Shannon In CA said...

I don't mind admitting when I'm wrong, luckily. I love statement analysis and I wish I'd come across it a long time ago. If I still worked, I'd probably be trying to convince my job to bring you in for training. I did civil litigation but I still think analysis of depositions and affidavits, etc, would be super helpful. I'm on disability now though, and I don't intend to ever go back to being a full time attorney. I'd love to just analyze statements but I think it would be hard to convince law firms they need a consultant for something like that. Attorneys can be so arrogant. I see the value in it...I just wish I could use it professionally. I intend to start writing books...mostly young adult books but I love legal mysteries, too, so I'm hoping I can use what I'm learning here that way.

I think I'm tentative to make conclusions right now because I'm learning only from this blog and I feel like I need to either do a lot more study of your prior blog posts or get some real training...but I think the reading will have to be it for now. So even though you do a great job, I don't feel solid enough for myself to make conclusions. But I think maybe my instincts are getting better so I should try to be more conclusive and less a passive reader. Luckily I can be wrong right now since it doesn't affect anyone's life. So yes, I agree with your point about being wrong.

Juliet said...

I left my comment on the original post because it's further away than this one. :) Also, it was in response to comments by foodie and Peter. It's no fun being wrong, and for all the wrong reasons. :-/

Unknown said...


It means a lot for you to say that. I have to remember to avoid going by the "tone" or the "feel" of a statement, using my instincts as a guide. It was a sobering reality for my instincts to be off course, and moreso the fact that, had I been the investigator, I could very well have let a culprit go free.

That's not a good thought to have.

Unknown said...


It means a lot for you to say that. I have to remember to avoid going by the "tone" or the "feel" of a statement, using my instincts as a guide. It was a sobering reality for my instincts to be off course, and moreso the fact that, had I been the investigator, I could very well have let a culprit go free.

That's not a good thought to have.

Anonymous said...


Lexington mayor strongly denies ties to KKK after name surfaces on list from hacker group

"This allegation is false, insulting and ridiculous," Gray said in a written statement. "I have never had any relationship of any kind with the KKK. I am opposed to everything it stands for. I have no idea where this information came from, but wherever it came from, it is wrong."

Posted by Paul

lynda said...

Well..I thought it was truthful but I read WAY to much into the other stuff..looking for deception. I'm thinking because I have not become "non-involved" or have let my own personal opinions sway me which is not good. Impartiality is the only way you can be doing SA and I am NOT there. Like John says..must do better.
The explanation about "told" and "said" is a great lesson and much appreciated Peter!

Anonymous said...

''if I didn't stop talking'' There's no other way to phrase this in direct or indirect speech.

''I will hit you if you don't stop talking'' he said, becomes ''He said he would hit me if I didn't stop talking''

'Talking' here does not note a progressive tense but merely a verb form.

Some verbs 'stop' 'start' love' 'like' 'enjoy' 'hate' etc and phrases are followed by 'ing' forms where two verbs are used.

Other verbs 'want' 'hope' 'need' are followed by the infinitive.

'if I didn't stop talking' is in past simple.

Statement Aalysis doesn't trump basic grammar rules. You lose credibility whe it's clear you don't know how English functions.

Who's = Who is the ' demonstrating that something is missing Q''Who's Sandra?''

whose = belonging to someone A''The girl whose parents live in Italy...''