Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Association of Guilt with the Pronoun "We"

Lied to commit theft via exploitation 
People lie for a reason.  

They are often 'caught' in their lies by their use of pronouns.   

When someone is expected to use the pronoun "I", the use of another pronoun should simply raise the question, "Why?"

But note how we word our "why?" questions:  

Why does the subject use the pronoun "we" here?
Why does the subject avoid using the pronoun "I" here?

Some facts:

Pronouns are intuitive.  They are not 'pre thought.'  
The brain's result of repetition means near perfection - that is, after using the pronoun "I" millions of times, the human is efficient at its usage meaning:

if the pronoun is 'wrong', there is likely deception.  

In fact, the pronoun "I" is so powerfully efficient that when a non-stuttering subject stutters on "I", the psychology of being "in" this statement "personally" begins to tell a story all its own, leading us to ask, again,

"Why would the subject stutter here on the pronoun "I"?"

The pronoun "I" represents the person, himself.  He has been addressing others (communication) representing himself, since the earliest days of speech.  He protects self, he projects self, he interprets self, and interprets others based on self.  He identifies and defines self.  In other words,

the importance of the pronoun "I" cannot be overstated.  

"Just went to the store with my friends, mom.  That's all we did." 

Moms of teens recognize:  

my son did not say "I" in his response.  The analyst also heard the word "just", which is a dependent word, meaning, the subject is thinking of something other than going to the store.  Mom likely also heard the pronoun "we" enter the statement, and the analyst added the word "all", as unnecessary, with the suggestion of connecting the word "all" with the word "just" to learn:

What was my son comparing going to the store with? Followed by,

Was it a thought, or did they go elsewhere?  

She knows, however, the right question trail to stay on. Mom also recognizes that guilt does not like to be 'alone' with the pronoun "I."

She thinks to herself:  

"Why did my son want to first remove himself from the statement, and then why did my son need to include others in his statement?"

Guilt hates to be alone.  

Adults trained in childhood to take personal responsibility for their actions often reveal this in their statements.  The 'need for a crowd' enters the language of those who may not have been raised to take personal responsibility.  

Recovering addicts are very firm:  'my sobriety rests upon me truthfully taking personal responsibility for everything.'

"In Your Entire Life, Did You Ever Tell a Lie to Get Out of Trouble?"

Sample answers:

A.  "Yes.  When I was growing up, I learned..."

This is a good answer.  "Yes" is the only truthful answer. 
Next note after we have "Yes" (+), we have the pronoun "I" (+) and we have the identification with growing up as the time period (+).  This is where the most influential instruction takes place within humans.  

B.  "I would be lying if I said no, for everyone has lied."

This is a common response. 

First, there is no "yes" to the answer. 
Note secondly, besides the pronoun "I", we have the inclusion of "others" (-) in the answer.  This is an unnecessary invitation to join a crowd.  

Lying causes internal stress and it is reduced, most always, by lying by omission.  Lying by omission takes less effort. 

Yet the internal stress is not always a conscience, but could be the stress of being caught.  In an intuitive reaction the person who said, "didn't do it", will later justify the lie by saying, "I never said I did not do it!" because the pronoun "I" was omitted.  

Much is used to determine the appropriateness of "I" versus "we", especially context. 

Is the person alone?

Is the topic something personal and close to the subject?

Is the topic something so personal and close that it triggers natural instinct, such as survival, or parenting?

Is the topic invasive?  

The need for guilt to 'spread around' itself and 'hide in a crowd' is discerned in analysis and often leads to uncovering criminal conspiracy, even if it is only two individuals.  

Here is an ancient mandate given to  Jews from the book of Exodus.  Watch its progression as it perfectly follows human nature. 

 Exodus first laid out the history changing "Ten Commandments" but then went to a detailed application of such laws.  The Ten Commandments established  and identified the success Western civilization as it recognized human nature, and put immediate restrictions upon it.  

The understanding of human nature is essential for deception detection.  

It is, in effect, to seek an answer to the "Why?" question in deception detection.  

Note how it begins simply:  

You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.  You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.

Here it is broken down so that the progression may be followed:  

You shall not spread a false report. 

Today we have "fake news" that has taken propaganda and editorializing to an entirely new, and mostly uncharted (for the US) level.  

The first statement is straight forward, and addresses "you" (universal) only.  

The topic (context) is lying.  

It quickly moves to the plural.  "You" is now enjoined with another single individual:  

You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. 

To "join hands" is to make an agreement.  The second person in the statement is identified by his 'norm'; he is a "wicked man."

Then note the agreement is regarding perjury, identifying the cause:

You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.

The individual was already told not to be deceptive, but here, there is a 'pause' where the man prohibited is now told not not join with a "wicked man" (the character identified by norm or pattern). 

The question now is clear:  

Might this singular person (our subject) be one who does not spread a false report, but now possibly could due to the negative influence of another?  

The warning suggests that personal strength is weakened by the inappropriate presence of another.  Today its called "peer pressure" where kids do things they normally would not have had they remained distant from one who 'does' it.  

The Psychology of Mob Mentality 

This is a frightening topic.  If you have ever been even near a mob bent on destruction, it is a power that will literally feel contagious.  Even when a fight breaks out, there is a moment in time (evident even on video) where you wonder if the violence between two men will spread. 

As the crowd grows, so does the emboldened will to do violence.  People have reported having done things they never believed themselves capable of, simply due to the "mob mentality" that they often describe as "overtaken me", or "intoxicating, irresistible" and so on. 

We went from a singular prohibition, to the individual being influenced by another singular person to a crowd.  

The ancient text recognizes the powerful influence of being in a multitude:  

You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, 

The singular "you" has now "fallen in" and it is with "the many" which appeals to the human need to 'belong.'

The decline (fall) continues.  What he was once prohibited has now grown, exponentially.  

nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice,nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.

It makes it so much easier to justify when the 'strength' of the multitude or "the many" is present.  The individual feels helpless to resist and often falsely thinks, "I am alone" in a position of right. 

Here we often find the inappropriate use of the pronoun "we" when one should be speaking for himself.  

Dependent upon context and the analysis, it often points to guilt, or guilty knowledge, which the "one" wishes to reduce impact by being with others. 

It is easy to dismiss one due to narcissism, but reference point will often bring clarity.  

In the murder of one's wife and pre born child, in a home invasion, we have all of the elements of "up close and personal" in context. 

A wife belongs to one husband; not many.  
The child, it is presupposed, belongs to the one father, not many. 

Yet, continue the elevation of the context in a home invasion. 

The location of where we sleep is a place of great importance in the language: 

it is where we are most vulnerable and it is essential to survival that we sleep. 

A home invasion is intuitively personal.  

Liars lie because they have a reason to lie.  

A missing child is up close and personal and it is also under the category of human instinct.  

Lied to fulfil hatred of Christians and exploit money
Amanda Knox lied, not because she was "crazy" but because she had a need to lie.  She deliberately gave them the name of one she knew was innocent because of self preservation; to get herself out of trouble.  

Liars lie for a reason and their pronouns give themselves away.  Even personal hatred is often seen as a lesser priority when stacked against financial exploitation.  

"I have been assaulted." is what victims, fresh from the event, say.  It is personal.  It is up close.  It is who the person is:  it is "I" in the most basic of ways.   

"My wife has been violated.
My wife has been murdered.
My son has been murdered.
My home has been destroyed.
My life has been ruined.  
Will these monsters return for me and my son?
You must catch these killers before they get me, my son, or my neighbors, or anyone else..."

Would you expect someone to say,

"you've had your wife murdered" when it was his wife?

Baby Ayla was reported kidnapped by her father, Justin DiPietro, while he and others were staying at his mother's home.  The 'kidnapper' got in and out without waking a soul, nor leaving even trace DNA, and sought no contact with the family for ransom, nor did the father or grandmother attempt to negotiate for her return.  

What the father did do was fail his polygraph, however and his mother went on to say how "quiet" the house was that night; no partying, in fact, only to be found out:  she was not even in the home that night.  

"When someone is casing your house..." said Phoebe DiPietro, who could not linguistically claim that someone personally invaded her home and kidnapped her grandchild because she knew it was a lie. 

"You're waiting for the sheriff's office to call you."  

The use of "we" instead of "I" has an intuitive reason spoken by a person who knows how to use pronouns with 100% efficiency. 

The use of "you" instead of "I" or "me" has a reason, too, to employ distancing language. 

The internal stress of lying impacts sociopaths, too.  

Pronouns solve cases. 

Some estimate that as many as 80% of cold case files contain a "Confession By Pronoun" within them. 

Analysts are trained, very early on, to follow pronouns and then use  them in advanced work just as frequently.  

They are reliable and will guide us to truth.  

The need to share guilt, or hide in a crowd, is within human nature.  

Human nature does not change.  That which was identified thousands of years ago remain true today. 

Truth is not impacted by time.  

Language shifts, and we shift with it in our research.  We create new baselines for emails, texts and tweets, but wherever communication is presupposed; that is, the subject expects to be understood, we can detect deception.  

Peter Hyatt on "Crime Wire": The Murder of Amanda Blackburn

February 23, 2017, Peter Hyatt will be a guest on "Crime Wire" live broadcast, and will be taking your calls and questions at 9am to 1030AM EST.  

Amanda Blackburn was a victim of a sexual homicide in which arrests have been made. 

Questions, however, remain in one of the most bizarre 'solved' murder cases of recent years. 

Peter Hyatt will share analysis of the case, including deception detection techniques, and what this may mean for justice.  

Imagine Publicity Blog  :  broadcast of the show on Madeleine McCann 2016.  

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Determination of the Will


In the interview process, most all subjects want to tell us what happened. 


This is attributed not only to the difficulty of human nature in keeping silent.  The use of isolation can produce a complete psychological breakdown.  
Each one of us has an innate or created need to communicate.  It is here that trained listening will bring the greatest results. 

In guilty subjects, the will must determine "will I speak, or will I be silent?  If I speak, I will get caught, but if I don't speak..."

In analytical interviewing, the analyst often already knows what happened and in guilt, already knows that the subject did it.  

Therefore, the investigator can now learn and gauge where the subject's will is, regarding his personal need to justify his guilt.  (please review the article on Moral Narcissism and employment for further understanding this need that we all possess).  

                   Interview versus Interrogation 

The interview is different from the interrogation, even if held in the same session.  The interview begins with open ended legally sound, non-intrusive questions.  

The 'magic questions' are:

"What happened?"

followed by

"What happened, next?"

We listen. 

We analyze.  

We will soon get to "why?." 

Because the investigator took a statement before the interview, he knows to use the subject's own language rather than be deceived by subjective meaning.  Polygraph Examiners who do not contaminate tests and use strictly the subject's own language will reduce error and inconclusive results.  

The trained analyst/investigator  asks the subject to define terms in which the context does not.  However, when it comes to sexual assault, he does not project his own definition of any sexual term; he asks,

"what does _____ look like?" or

"what, actually is _______", no matter the term. 

Investigators who follow this rule (child protective social workers use it strictly) are almost aways surprised by what people mean by "sex" when the subject gives his explanation.  It is a wide open subjective field that can, at times, shock us.  

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky" would have produced a passed polygraph results if the question was asked according to President Clinton's definition.  If he was asked, "What is 'sexual relations'? first, and his definition now employed, he would not pass a polygraph.  He stated, later, that he "technically told the truth" because of his internal subjective definition of "sexual relations" is limited to "intercourse."  He admitted he intended to deceive by its employ. 

This training is invaluable to Sex Crimes investigators as they not only have legally sound interviewing, but learn the linguistic signals of sexual abuse, sexual assault and sexual homicide.  See the language of Amanda Knox analyzed here in the blog for a primer.  Although the language shows she did not inflict the fatal blow, she possessed guilty knowledge of the sexual homicide 'in concert' which is why she initially lied in her attempt to put an innocent man in prison.  We act according to the dynamic measurement of our will. She had a choice to make and was willing to send an innocent man to prison.  This was the exercise of her will, and she has her reason.   In this case, statement analysis and behavioral analysis were in agreement.  

In our Law Enforcement Seminars, the officer's previous training (Reid, etc) is employed yet enhanced to include strong principles of detecting deception and how to obtain the information discerning the subject's will in revealing it.  Advanced or private seminars go even further.   For specific training, visit our website and email us at hyattanalysis@gmail.com for details.  

                             Motive and Justification. 

Most guilty subjects will, at some point in the interview, (if the interviewer is listening) while in the free editing process, seek to justify his action.  This, too, is part of human nature.  Recall the recent "moral narcissism" in which we recognize that all humans have a need to feel "good" about themselves.  Those with unresolved guilt often produce an acute need, which is easily exploited by a politician.  This leads a subject to illogic and even self-abuse. (the victim defending the perpetrator in order to feel 'superior'...the embracing of enemies in the name of tolerance...etc). 

"I was giving her her bottle and she would not drink it..." 

In shaken baby syndrome, a moment of yielding to impulse can destroy lives.  Here, the guilt shows a need to justify the action by blaming the victim.  

This is also common in rape and murder cases. 

The perpetrator finds, even in subtle means, a way to justify the victim for being a victim.  Even while feigning innocence, the perpetrator will give himself away. 

"My mom had a gambling problem."  Nathan Carman.  This is a subtle complaint about his mother and now Carman, after the shooting death of his grandfather, and now the death of his mother, is the recipient of a reported 10 million dollars. 
filming 20/20 on Nathan Carman investigation 

"...Teenaged hormones..." Billie Jean Dunn

After the interview is completed, the investigator moves to the interrogation.  

The interrogation reverses the percentage of talking. 

In the interview, the subject does 80% (or more!) of the talking and we do the listening and analyzing.  

Now, the interrogation includes accusation of guilt.  The analysis has shown guilt, time, method and often even motive, but  guilty subjects have a powerful need to justify even the most barbaric of acts.  

The guilty subject has the same innate feeling of wanting to be seen as a "good" or "righteous" person as everyone else.  

Whether he wants to indict the victim or society in general (including humiliation), the subject had his reason and the subject possesses the desire to be heard and understood.

It is human nature to justify:  

The powerful or 'magical' question is no longer, "Tell me what happened" as before.  It is now:

                                      "Why did you do it?"

followed by, "I am not asking you if you did it.  I already know that.  You've told me repeatedly, so I want to know why.  Why did you do it?   Why?"

The following is a second entry from the 18th century theologian Jonathan Edwards on the will of man. 

Remember, there is no such thing as truly "free" will in our interviewees. 

If you offered me a "free choice" between Maine lobster and liver, my "will", that is, the crossed of my intellect and emotions, goes into play. 

I choose lobster. 

Yet, I have never tasted liver. 

I did, however, grow up with seeing kids making funny faces when told "now finish your liver, Johnny!" but I have no experience with the tasting of liver. 

My 'will' was dramatically impacted towards lobster even though I don't know what liver tastes like.  

In a technial sense I was free to choose liver but in a most practical sense, my will was never free and independent of outside forces.  

This is something new parents, sooner or later, know, as they attempt to establish a strong reference point for their children in choosing right from wrong.  Those who abdicate this responsibility so to keep their child "free" find the consequences later in life most distressing.    

Learn the will, and learn how, based upon the analysis of the written statement, (or for advanced analysts, on the discourse analysis on the fly during the interview) and assist the guilty subject in fulfilling his desire to not only unburden himself, but to justify himself.

       "The will is always determined by the strongest motive or by the mental view that has the greatest tendency to arouse volition."

             The Determination of the Will
                                                 by Jonathan Edwards

If the phrase, ‘determining the will’ is to be used with any meaning, it must be causing it to be the case that the act of the will, or the
choice, should be thus and not otherwise: and the will is said to be ‘determined’ when some event or influence causes its choice to be directed to and fixed upon a particular end.

As when we speak of the ‘determination of motion’, meaning causing the motion of the body to be in this direction rather than that. The determination of the will involves an effect, which must have a cause. If the will is determined, some- thing must determine it. This is part of what ‘determination’ means, even for those who say that The will determines itself. If it does, then it is both determiner and determined; it is a cause that acts and has an effect on itself, and is the object of its own influence and action.
With respect to the great question ‘What determines the will?’, there is no need now to go into a tedious study of all the various answers that have been given to it; nor do I need here to go into details of the disputes about that other ·related· question ‘Does the will always follow the last dictate of the understanding?’ All I need to say for my purposes is this: What determines the will is the motive that the mind views as the strongest. But perhaps I should explain my meaning a little.

By ‘motive’ I mean the whole of whatever it is—whether it’s one thing or many things acting together as one complex motive—that moves, excites, or invites the mind to ·perform an act of· volition. . . .
Whatever is a ‘motive’ (in this sense) ·for a person· must be something that that person’s understanding or perceiving faculty has in its view. Nothing can encourage or invite the mind to will or act in any way except to the extent that it is perceived or is somehow in the mind’s view; for what is out of the mind’s view can’t affect the mind at all. . . .

And I don’t think it can be denied that anything that is properly called a ‘motive’—anything that induces or arouses a perceiving willing agent to act in some specific way—has some tendency to move or arouse the will on the way to the effect. [Edwards writes ‘. . . tendency or advantage to move . . . ’ etc. He seems to mean that the motive (a) tends to etc. or (b) is especially well placed to etc. In future occurrences of this sort, the word ‘advantage’ will be allowed to stand.] Instances of such tendency or advantage can differ from one another in kind and in degree. A motive’s tendency to move the will is what I call its ‘strength’: the strongest motive is the one that appears most inviting, and is viewed by the person’s mind in such a way as to have the
greatest degree of tendency to arouse and induce the choice; a weaker motive is one that has a lesser degree of previous advantage or tendency to move the will—i.e. that appears less inviting to the mind in question. Using the phrase in this sense, I take it that the will is always determined by the strongest motive.
Something that exists in the view of a mind gets its strength, tendency, or advantage to move or excite the will from many features of:

the nature and circumstances of the thing that is viewed,
the nature and circumstances of the viewing mind, and
the intensity of the view, and its type.

It would perhaps be hard to make a complete list of these. But there can’t be any controversy about this general fact: if something x has the nature and influence of a motive to volition or choice for some thinking and willing agent, x is considered or viewed
·by that agent· as good; and how much tendency x has to get the soul to choose to pursue it is proportional to how good x appears to the soul. If you deny this, you’ll have to accept that x’s appearance tends to invite or persuade the soul to desire x through some means other than appearing desirable to x. [Edwards puts this in terms of getting the soul to ‘elect’ x through something other than appearing ‘eligible’.] It must be true in some sense that the will is always as the greatest apparent good is. But if you are to understand this correctly, there are two things you must get clear about.

(1) You must know what I mean by ‘good’—namely, the same as ‘agreeable’. To ‘appear good to the mind’, as I use the phrase, is to appear agreeable to the mind or to seem pleasing to it. If something x is considered as evil or disagreeable, it won’t appear inviting and desirable to the mind, tending to get it to want and choose x; it won’t even appear to the mind as ‘indifferent’ ·in the sense of being· neither agreeable nor disagreeable. If x is to draw the inclination and move the will, it must be seen as something that suits the mind. Thus, the thing that is viewed by the mind as having the greatest tendency to attract and engage it is the thing that suits the mind best and pleases it most—and is in that sense the greatest apparent good. To deny that what draws the will is the greatest apparent good is near enough to an outright contradiction.

 The word ‘good’ in this sense also covers the removal or avoiding of evil or of whatever is disagreeable and unpleasing. It is agreeable and pleasing to avoid what is disagreeable and unpleasing and to have uneasiness removed. This brings in what Locke thinks determines the will. He says that what determines the will is ‘uneasiness’, by which he must mean that when anyone performs a volition or act of preference, his end or aim is to avoid or remove that uneasiness; which is the same as choosing and seeking what is more easy and agreeable.
(2) When I say that. . . .volition has always for its object the thing that appears most agreeable, take careful note—to avoid confusion and needless objections—that I’m speaking of the direct and immediate object of the act of volition, and not some indirect and remote upshot of the act of will. Many acts of volition lead eventually to something different from the thing that is most immediately willed and chosen. For example, when a drunkard has his liquor before him and has to choose whether or not to drink it, the immediate possible upshots that his will is taking account of are his own acts in drinking or not drinking the liquor, and he will certainly choose according to what presents itself to his mind as over-all the more agreeable. . . .
But there are also more remote upshots of this act of volition, pairs of possible outcomes that are less directly settled by this present choice, such as:
the present pleasure the man expects by drinking, and the future misery that he thinks will be the consequence of his drinking.
He may think that this future misery, when it comes, will be more disagreeable and unpleasant than refraining from drinking now would be. But in approaching this present act of volition, he is not choosing between these two things—

·near-future discomfort? or remote-future misery·? The act of will we are talking about involves a different choice:

drink now? or not drink now?

If he wills to drink, then
drinking is the proper object of the act of his will; something makes drinking now appear more agreeable to him and to suit him better than not drinking now. If he chooses to refrain, then not drinking is the immediate object of his will and is more pleasing to him ·than drinking·. If in his choice he prefers a present pleasure to a future advantage that he thinks would be greater when it came, then a lesser present pleasure appears more agreeable to him than a greater advantage further off. If on the contrary a future advantage is preferred, then that appears most agreeable and suits him best. And so still the present volition is as the greatest apparent good at present is.

There are two ways of expressing the thesis I have been defending. There’s the one I have used:

(a) The will always is as the greatest apparent good, or
he will always
is as what appears most agreeable.

And there is the one I have chosen not to use:
(b) The will is always
determined by the greatest apparent good, or
The will is always
determined by what appears most agreeable.

I have used (a) because appearing most agreeable to the mind and being preferred by the mind seem to be scarcely distinct (·and if x is almost the same thing as y, it is better to say ‘x is as y’ than to say ‘x is determined by y’·).... I like to say that volition itself is always determined by whatever it is in or about the mind’s view of the object that causes it to appear most agreeable. I say ‘in or about the mind’s view of the object’ because the influences that make an object agreeable are not confined to what appears in the object as viewed, but also include how it is viewed and the state and circumstances of the viewing mind. To enumerate all those influences in detail would be a hard task, and might require a book to itself. My present purpose doesn’t require this, so I shall confine myself to some general points.

(1) When someone is considering whether to choose to  pursue some state of affairs S, how agreeable S appears to him to be will depend on various properties that S has and various relations that it enters into. 

Here are three examples:

(a) Features that S appears to have just in itself, making it beautiful and pleasant or ugly and unpleasant to the mind.

(b) The amount of pleasure or unpleasure that appears to come with S or to result from it. Such accompaniments and consequences are viewed as relational properties [Edwards calls them ‘circumstances’] of the object, and should therefore count as belonging to it—as it were parts of it.

(c) How far off in time the pleasure or unpleasure appears to be. The mind finds the temporal nearness of a pleasure to be agreeable, and finds a pleasure’s temporal remoteness to be disagreeable; so that if upshots S and S* appear to the mind to be exactly alike in how much pleasure they involve, and alike in every other respect except that S is temporally closer than S*, the mind will find S to be the more agreeable of the two, and so will choose it. The two upshots are equally agreeable considered in themselves, but not with their relational properties taken into account, because S has the additional agreeableness of the relational property of being temporally nearer.

(2) Another thing that helps to make it the case that upshot S, as viewed by a particular mind, is agreeable is how that mind views S. If S appears to be connected with future pleasure, its agreeableness will be affected not only by the amount of pleasure ·and the apparent temporal nearness of that pleasure·, but also facts about how that future pleasure is registered in the mind in question—especially by the following two.
(a) As well as the question of how far in the future the mind thinks the pleasure is, there is the question of how sure it is that there will be such pleasure. It is more agreeable to have a certain happiness than an uncertain one; and a  pleasure viewed as more probable is, other things being equal, more agreeable than one viewed as less probable.
(b) Agreeableness is also affected by the liveliness or the strength of the present idea or thought [Edwards writes ‘idea or apprehension’] of the future pleasure. When we are thinking about things past, present or future, our ideas of them vary greatly in their clarity, liveliness and strength. The ideas of sense-perceptible things that we get from immediate sensation are usually much livelier than the ones we have in mere imagination or in thinking about them in their absence. My idea of the sun when I look at it is more vivid than when I only think of it. Our idea of an apple’s taste is usually stronger when we eat it than when we only imagine it. And if we think about something at several different times, the ideas we have at those times may differ in strength and clarity. . . . Well, the strength of the idea or the sense that men have of future good or evil has a great influence on what volitions they perform. Suppose someone has to choose between two kinds of ·possible· future pleasure S and S* which he regards as equally pleasurable and equally probable; if he has a livelier present sense of S he is much more likely to pursue it than to pursue S*. Going after the pleasure of which he has a strong and lively sense is more agreeable to his mind now than going after the pleasure of which he has only a faint idea. His view of S is accompanied by the stronger appetite, the ·thought of· not having S is accompanied by the stronger uneasiness; and it is agreeable to his mind to have its appetite gratified and its uneasiness removed. Suppose now that someone has to choose from among several ·possible· future pleasures, which differ among themselves in respect of
how great he thinks each pleasure will be, how lively his idea is of each pleasure, and how probable he thinks each pleasure is;  with none of the candidates being at the top in each respect. In such a case, the over-all agreeableness that determines his volition will be in some way compounded out of the above three factors, because all three jointly settle how agreeable a given objective is now, and that is how volition will be determined.
How agreeable or disagreeable a possible object of choice is to someone’s mind depends in part on the person’s over-all state of mind. This includes
·very durable· features that are part of his basic nature,
·fairly durable· features caused in him by education, example, custom, etc., and
temporary features that constitute his mood at this moment.
·Because of the third of these·, one object may differ in how agreeable a given person finds it at different times. ·And then there are inter-personal differences·. Some men find it most agreeable to follow their reason; others to follow their appetites. To some men it is more agreeable to deny a vicious inclination than to gratify it; for others it’s the other way around. People differ in how disagreeable they find it to oppose something that they used to support. In these and many other respects, different things will be most agreeable to different people, and even to one person at different times.
[In the next paragraph Edwards says that perhaps those frame-of-mind features affect volition only through affecting how the person’s mind views the nature and relational properties of S, and/or how lively the person’s idea of S is; and if that is so, it is needless and even wrong to mention ‘frame of mind’ as something additional to the preceding two. Then:] Anyway, this much is certain: volition always pursues the greatest apparent good, in the way I have explained. The mind’s choice always picks on the one of  the available options that appears to be over-all the most agreeable and pleasing. I am saying this about the direct and immediate objects of the will, ·not the remote or indirect ones·. If the immediate objects of the will are a man’s own actions, then he wills the actions that appear most agreeable to him. If right now what is most agreeable to him, all things considered, is to walk, then he now wills to walk. [Other examples are given. Then:]
When men act voluntarily, doing what they please, then they do what suits them best or what is most agreeable to them.
There is scarcely a plainer and more universal dictate of the sense and experience of mankind than that. To say that someone
does what he pleases, i.e. does what pleases him, and yet
does not do what is agreeable to him amounts to saying that he
does what he pleases but does not act his pleasure
[Edwards’s exact phrase],
and that amounts to saying that

he does what he pleases and yet doesn’t do what he
The upshot of all this is that in some sense the will always follows the last dictate of the understanding. In what sense? Well, the ‘understanding’ must be taken in a broad sense as including the whole faculty of
perception or thought, not merely ·the part of it· that is called reason or judgment. Suppose we take ‘the dictate of the understanding’ to mean ‘whatever reason declares to be best, or most conducive to the person’s happiness, over the long haul’, it’s not true that the will always follows the last dictate of the understanding. [Edwards goes on to say that when we are considering how to act, the dictates of reason will be one ingredient in the mix  
 of relevant considerations; but it doesn’t always outweigh all the others.]

I hope that what I have said in this section somewhat illustrates and confirms the thesis that I advanced near the start of the section, namely that the will is always determined by the strongest motive or by the mental view that has the greatest tendency to arouse volition. Even if I haven’t had the good fortune to explain what the strength of motives consists in, that won’t overthrow the thesis itself, which is fairly evident just on the face of it. It will be centrally important in the rest of this book; and I hope that its truth will show up very clearly by the time I have finished what I have to say on the subject of human liberty.