Friday, January 27, 2017
"Doors" in Statement Analysis
I am always concerned that the underpinnings of reality within analysis are not understood.
We must memorize, yes, but without narrative instruction, the level of learning remains low. The example I sometimes use is this:
Memorize this without writing it down:
"The queen died, and then, the king died."
Next, become engrossed in 2 days of intensive deception detection training and at the end of day two, "tell me who died first..."
Few ever get it right.
It was only 8 words. How about the same theme but:
"The king loved and adored his queen, who was his constant companion through and through. Loyal and beautiful, his life was completed by her. When she died, the king's heart could not abide the depths of this loss, and he, too, died shortly thereafter."
It is 44 words.
No one will mistake which one died first here.
The reason for its elevation in memory is the accompaniment of emotion. This increases the hormonal response of the brain, strengthening impact.
We use this is detecting deception routinely.
A bag of Grammie's jewelry stolen after her death, while family was grieving. It had to be someone in the family.
Who done it?
Denial: "I didn't steal it. I never even saw her green jewelry bag!"
What began with a denial "I didn't steal it" used the pronoun "I" and the past tense verb "didn't" and addressed the accusation of "stealing."
Unfortunately, "stealing" is in the eye of the beholder, as it is "morally charged language to be avoided" because many thieves do not consider what they have done to be "stealing" but that they were "owed" or even "reimbursed" for something else. We do not use the word "steal" here, nor in the polygraph.
"I didn't steal it. I never even saw her green jewelry bag!"
Had she said, "I didn't take the jewelry bag", it would have been a strong denial. Even if she added, "I've never even seen it" , taken together, would still be strong.
However, she included the color unnecessarily. This is a sensory description that is unnecessary and points to personal contact of some kind.
But to simply memorize "search for colors" is not enough. The analyst/investigator must understand why the color of an item must be highlighted.
This goes the same for many of our principles: The reason 'why' is important.
"Knock, knock, knocking' on Heaven's Door..."
"Doors" In Deception Detection
To simply highlight "doors" within a statement, without proper understanding of both principle and context, is to make serious error. To simply underline by rote without understanding will impede success.
When someone says "I knocked on the door..." it is, as stated, something we believe.
"I heard a knock on the door and answered it..." is another.
In any statement, this is not unusual, nor concerning. Many of us commonly use the expression, "well, when one door closes, God may open another for you" when speaking of opportunity and optimism.
"Go through this door of understanding" and "the key to this door lies..." are also common, normative usage.
Context is vital.
What we look for is the 'opening' or 'unnecessary' use of "door" by a subject and ask, "Why? Why does this person feel it necessary to use this here?"
We do not conclude sexual abuse; we explore for it when the door opening, in particular, is unnecessary information.
An adult traumatized by childhood sexual abuse may have a linguistic association with a door opening, and may not even realize how it makes its way into language decades later.
"Lights" within a statement, are also subject to our number one question:
Why the need to include light here? This is where it is unnecessary information.
"I turned off the light and went to sleep."
Few people sleep with the light on and few people feel the need to tell us that they turned off the light before going to sleep. Subsequent interviews have revealed failed sexual activity in this context. Similar with unnecessarily turning on lights in regard to some form of sexual contact or activity; appropriate or inappropriate.
The example given by John Ramsey is one such that warrants exploration. It includes not only "doors" but "light."
"I opened the door, turned on the light, and there she was"
With several distinct elements of language that warrant further analysis and exploration into the subject's own childhood history and adult activity.
He did not say, "I found Jonbenet in the basement" or anything similar.
He unnecessarily gave us the opening of a door.
He unnecessarily gave us the turning on of a light.
He used passivity (passive voice) regarding the location of the body; often a signal that the subject is concealing information on responsibility for placement.
The adult traumatized in childhood by sexual abuse (an assault on the very image of the child's Creator; even pre speech and even when no physical pain is inflicted) may produce a sensory response from memory of the sound of a door slowly being opened, and not even realize that this is why it crept into his or her language.
It is not "proof" of anything, by itself.
Yet, when it is part of an overall context where this element may be critical (sexual homicides, sexual assaults, false accusations, etc), it should be explored by the interviewer. This includes both criminal and in the helping profession (such as a clinician).
In some statements, it can reveal motive for a crime.
Unresolved childhood sexual abuse takes an exacting toll upon the victim.
I have yet to interview, analyze, or receive from another, a child abuser who was not a victim in childhood. Although most victims do not go on to offend, offenders were likely victimized themselves, as sexual attraction to a child is unnatural and has acute consequences.
Those in Sex Crimes Units, child abuse investigators, therapists, and other professionals benefit from specific study into the statement analysis of sexual abuse.
Specific questions may be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org