Saturday, May 21, 2016

100% Wrong in Analysis

                    When 100% Wrong Is Good News

                                                                      by Peter Hyatt

"Peter's always wrong; that's what so right about him."  Heather Hyatt

What does it mean when a well trained, thoughtful and obviously talented analyst is 100% wrong in analyzing a statement?  What does it mean when 100% of the analysts tested were 100% wrong?

The statement in question was that of a murder case. 

The analysts tested all came to the same conclusion, picked out the same points and each and every one of them was...

100% wrong

This is good news. 

It is a signal that the analyst is ready for a new level in training and a brand new world of deeper, laser-like precision within their work, as well as a reminder that we almost never submit our work without peer review.  This is just the nature of solid analysis:  there is no room for arrogance.  As we sometimes say, "our first mistake could be our last", in that, a wrong conclusion can not only undermine our confidence, but the confidence others have. 

With science, when error is encountered, the beauty is that we are able to go back and find the source of the error.

I continue to review the world of "micro expression" and the failure of such training.  Yet, the research is fascinating and the use of slow motion video useful for future areas of exploration.  The claimed ability to see a micro expression and to immediately interpret it is not something evidenced in anyone, in spite of claims to the contrary.  A success rate of 70% is impressive, true enough, going 20 percentage points beyond the guess factor, but it is not something a career can be based upon.  

In the upcoming documentary on the case of Katelyn Markham, the documentarian asked me if I was willing to stake my career on the analysis. 

I said, "Yes."  

When researcher Paul Ekman said that he would no longer conclude deception in any interview he did not conduct, including close camera, slow motion interview review, this spoke  about the success of micro expression training.  He wrote that he, himself, would have to have conducted the interview; something he, and law enforcement around the country all know is not likely to happen.  This is an admission that the interviewer is influencing the facial responses of the subject.  It also says that he cannot trust the questions being asked, nor can he interpret just how the interviewer's presence and questions has impacted the subject.  This is to say:  the founder has no confidence in the system, outside of himself.  

Statement Analysis begins by asserting that the person speaking (or who has written) does not exist to us.  His background, personality, emotions, sarcasm, humor, intelligence, education, and so on, are not taken into account as we analyze the statement, itself.  The best example of this is this, as written in response to a criminal investigation:  

"I woke up and had coffee.  Heather left for work."

The analyst would conclude:  'Peter is not married.'  

This would be correct. It would be "100% correct." 

This would be correct for the analysis.  Outside influence says, "But he is married.  I have met Heather.  This is well known and we have his case file..."

The analyst properly resists this and says, "No, he is not married.  I am entering his verbalized perception of reality, and not reality itself.  He has no possession of her, via the missing pronoun "my", and he has no title for her, robbing her of her status as his wife.  He is telling us that in his mind, at this point, he is not married.  Refuse reality and enter into his verbalized perception of reality; two strokes removed from reality."

Advanced Analysis

In advanced work, we take the same statement, "I woke up and had coffee.  Heather left for work..." and complete the analysis as if the subject, "Peter" is 'dead' to us.  Then, we go in for round two. 

We are to 'resurrect' or 'bring the subject to life' through his words.  We now state that we admit knowledge that he is married, and must learn why he, in his shoes, does not wish to walk as a married man in this portion of his statement.  What is wrong with him?  What is wrong with Heather?  What is going on in his mind, about their relationship, at this point of the statement, early morning, while he had coffee?

The statement analysis profiling brings the subject to life. 

100% Wrong

I have many statements accumulated over the years of which I use for training, as well as the live, open and ongoing cases we face today.  

I have a special folder for advancing analysts. 

These are statements which I know they are going to be wrong.  

I purposely use them to teach various aspects of analysis, with the first one a standard statement in which 2 or more principles clash.  This is where the amateur and the professional part company. 

Yet, by the time advanced work has been entered into, the analyst has reached a point where he or she not only is reluctant to hand in a report without some peer review...

they crave and demand it.  

The humility is the conduit, open and free, for advanced learning and it is disarming and inspiring in and of itself, that others grow from it. 


The 100% failure rate is because the statement was severely contaminated. 

The subject was responding to specific questions asked of him, including (wrongly) accusations of guilt.  This is why he felt the need to explain himself. 

The analyst who was 100% wrong showed this result by being consistently wrong, point after point after point. 

This is the good news.  

Had this statement not been contaminated, the analyst would have been 100% correct. 

In this particular statement, those who are 100% wrong are now able to begin to understand how to discern contamination in a statement. 

There are signals within a statement that suggest contamination.  In this particular one, the signals were, themselves, consistent, so much so that with training, the same analysts who were 100% wrong, will be able to spot such strong contamination within 15 or 20 minutes of time!  

To go even further:

When we know a statement is contaminated, the maxim is to "set aside the analysis."

However, for those advanced in their work, some analysis can still be effectively (and ever so carefully) completed. Once the source and scope of the contamination is known, even within this realm, we still may glean much information from the subject. 

Thus far, no one tested has come back with less than 100% failure.  This, too, is expected and has been an encouragement.  It would have been alarming for one to come back and conclude no deception in the statement.  

Statement Analysis is a complicated science and one in which there is no substitute for the various elements of hard work, professional education and guidance, but even more so, there is actually no substitute for the passage of time.  

There are no short cuts. 

There will always be those who will "see" a nose twitch and think they instantly know, "she cheated on her husband" or "he embezzled funds from his employer", and, at times, as the broken clock goes, accuracy may be realized.  

It is also appealing to our personalities to believe we are especially gifted in an area where no one else (or few) may be.  This is the lure of 'psychics' who impose themselves upon police, hoping to grab a gullible but eager investigator's ear, while most content themselves with either being social media heroes or vultures preying upon the hyper vulnerable families of missing loved ones.  

The personality trait, however, remains the same:  a need for recognition that goes beyond most others. 

The "100% Wrong" in analysis is good news, in deed.  It means the analyst has recognized the principles and properly applied them.  Had there been no contamination, they would have been correct.  Although most are told, before hand, if contamination has taken place, every so often, there is no warning and being able to spot it in the statement is of great protective value to our science. 

100% wrong is good news.  

Training Opportunities 

For those who aspire to become proficient in analysis, we offer the following home courses, besides in house seminars: 

1.  Statement Analysis Course.  This is not a "101" or introductory course, but a complete course in the principles and applications of Statement Analysis.  It is best completed slowly with all tests and the final examination submitted.  The tuition is reasonable and includes 12 months of ongoing support.  The 101 courses are of value, however, and many of them are quite affordable, but they should be considered introductory only, lest simple error occur. 

Successful completion of this course permits access to:

2.  Online monthly guided training.  

This is where the "iron sharpens iron" and success is realized from the very start. 

The tuition is less than piano or guitar lessons and is once per month, for 6 hours.  It is accredited for CEUs through the University of Maine and is confidential.  Actual live cases are worked on and it can be attended by lap top, iPhone, iPad, and so on, with quiet observation or actual participation.  Discount given for 12 month commitment and with any sessions missed, the analyst simply makes up the lost time on the next session.  The work is often deep, quite rewarding, and the new analysts learn quickly how supportive the professionals are.  Currently there are different times scheduled and we are setting up specific levels of training for the needs of the analysts.  Participants include law enforcement, psychology experts, medical professionals  business professionals, human resources, therapists, and so on. 

3.  Advanced Statement Analysis

This is a lengthy course, 400 pages long, and moves from advanced techniques to anonymous author identification, contamination and profiling.  Successful completion includes a final thesis which must be approved by three professional veteran analysts. 

Those who complete this course, as well as two years of ongoing training, are given the highest level of certification.  They are professionals and can take their skill and resume anywhere.  

Given the volume, intensity and time involved, it is an equivalent of a Master's Degree, as Statement Analysis is the only course of study, with no semester breaks.  

We do not allow any untrained into this course, for obvious reasons of protecting them and the science.  Yet, we also do not allow for professionals to be discouraged due to finance and permit for interest free monthly payments in all courses. 

All courses and seminars come with 12 months of support, which includes report writing, interviewing and, if necessary, legal testifying as to our conclusion in a case.  Statement Analysis is not considered "expert testimony" in certification as of yet, but testimony is often required as to why a subject has not been believed.  Testimony includes not only general and easy to follow explanations, but with some precedent cited.  We have experienced success in such, and this may explain to some in the first  course why some of their written responses must be able to be understood by a 12 year old.  They must know and understand enough to explain, in simple terms, to an untrained jury, a supervisor, or to fellow analysts.  This is a great help in preparation for applying their work. 

Hyatt Analysis Services


Nic said...

"Peter's always wrong; that's what so right about him." Heather Hyatt

This is not the first time you have posted Heather's quote. When I see it I try to analyze it but it's a twister. Then I think someday when I'm not trying so hard and I have more analysis under my belt, I'll get it. Someday is not today. :0)

Unknown said...

I happen to be a fan of body language, facial expression, paralanguage, gestures, tone and pitch of voice and statement analysis. I am very curious about all forms of communication - be it verbal or nonverbal. However, I'm a professional artist, graphic designer, stylist and Photographer, so I study body language, facial expression, gestures and statements for a very different reason than a professional deception analyst. I create art and try to connect with the viewer on an emotional level, the better I know and understand subtle facial expressions and body language, the greater impact my art will have. I have found the study of nonverbal communication has improved my work.

However, as a hobbyist in deception detection, I know nonverbal communication can tell you only so much - it might show someone is anxious or even deceptive but it cannot tell you what about or why. Peter is 100% correct when he says anyone who tells you they can spot a cheater or a thief just by a couple of micro expressions and gestures - is either a con artist or badly misinformed. There are so many variables at play in any given situation and these elements can be very fluid and changeable. A subject may be ill, or upset by something that has nothing to do with a the situation they are being interviewed or analyzed for. Human beings lie. It's part of our social fabric and there will always be people who search for the truth. I have great admiration for those with the dedication to keep learning, finding new techniques and pushing themselves further for the good of others and for truth and justice.

lynda said...

Great post Robin! ITA

LisaB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LisaB said...

I am still trying to sort out the Isabel Celis case. The police releasing the wrong footage from the church cameras was a botch, the "spokesperson" was a bit sketchy, and the whole thing just WEIRD.

Statement Analysis Blog said...


I am going to cover, again, the Isabel Celis case.


John Mc Gowan said...

"Verbalized perception of reality"


is it possible you could do an article on this topic?.


LisaB said...

Peter, thanks. I see that the parents complained that the police were concentrating on them and not finding Isa. Unlike DeOrr praising police for a lack of results. The parents still use present-tense as if they believe she is alive.

LisaB said...

Peter, thanks. I see that the parents complained that the police were concentrating on them and not finding Isa. Unlike DeOrr praising police for a lack of results. The parents still use present-tense as if they believe she is alive.


I love coming to this blog. I never leave without more insight into statement analysis. I also enjoy when I pick up on some of the key words Peter has highlighted, in my real life. I've become much more aware of using words in general. We use our language without really thinking about it. The words fly out so quickly and when I see or read someone who is all of a sudden stuttering or pausing to find the word, and they did not do this previously, it's a flag.

I never would have picked up on that before coming to this blog. :)

Anonymous said...

testing to see if this works