Monday, September 4, 2017

Body Language and Micro Expression Training

Investigations likened to strategy and tactics of chess...
           "From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."

This ancient statement, from 20 centuries ago, echoes true today, as truth is unimpeded by time or culture.  The entire world can decry its source, demand its retraction, and declare it to mean something else, change the wording, etc,  yet it is of no consequence to truth.  

Truth doesn't care for our feelings, opinions, rantings, acceptance, denial, or anything else. 

There is an "abundance" of information in the "heart" of man; with estimates indicating the average adult has, in the least, 20,000 words in the brain, impacted by emotion.  ("heart" being the seat of the intellect and the emotions).  When someone tells us what happened, no one can tell us everything that happened:  they must go into this dictionary and tell us only the most relevant (priority) information, choose specific words, place the words next to one another, verb tenses, pronouns, etc: 

all in less than a millisecond of time. 

This is some serious processing and it is specifically how statement analysis can, and most always does, run at 100% accuracy. 

Statement Analysis is the proven method to successfully discern deception.  It goes beyond the polygraph and voice stress analysis; it yields content of the crime, and exposes the criminal behind it. 

Its training begins simply enough, and moves into more complex areas with time.  The expected result in deception detection is 100% accuracy.  Training is done in law enforcement and private seminars, as well as in the home.  Certification comes from competency and application.  

Body Language Analysis Training 

Body Language Analysis is something, like statement analysis, that we all practice.  When someone says, "we went to the store", you intuitively expect that the subject was not alone when you heard the word "we." We all, in this sense, use analysis of statements in communication.  Formal training means we do it correctly. 

In the same sense, we all use body language analysis and training can assist in improving accuracy.  

When it is subjugated beneath the wording of the subject, it can be of great advantage.  When it is elevated to the point of declaring deception, it fails terribly and the professional becomes discouraged.  It is like a roll of the dice that is fascinating for the public, but not for the law enforcement professional of whom a decision of consequence will be made. 

No competent professional is going to conclude anything from a twitch of the leg. 

Having said this, learning body language analysis in its basic forms, and keeping it subordinated to the language, can help keep us safe (simply training someone to follow God given instinct here can improve safety) but can also serve us very well during the interview. 

Combat veterans are often good at body language analysis and improve with training. 

Police officers, including those in relatively safe areas, can be kept safe with its training.  Remember, in safer locales, the officers have a lowered expectation of violence; which can make impact of violence even worse.  

The detailed training is not something that professionals can use, especially with the rise of psychotropic medications, including with children.  

The general training, however, is useful in the interview and interrogation process, just as it is useful in self defense and safety.  

For investigations,  it, too, must be subordinated to the words chosen:  nothing shows the truth like words.  

                             Microexpression Training 

I am a fan of Paul Ekman's research; his books are fascinating and recommended reading.  He did meticulous and lengthy research. 

 Once his work went Hollywood, training in "micro expression recognition" became  popular and a new crop of "experts" saw themselves in the fictional television characters.  Some enrolled in training while others claimed to be the lottery winner of humanity; naturally gifted, just like the entertained they enjoyed on TV.  

To date, Micro-expression training  has not yielded any applicable success.  By "applicable" success, I specify:  used in consequence, or actual investigations.  

It is one thing to say "see that? It passed by too quickly for you to see it but I saw it.  It  proves that  Trump is a narcissist, misogynist, white supremacist, national socialist, xenophobe, islamophobe and liar who intends on killing us all..." to a receptively eager audience. 

It is another thing to investigate and claim results where the consequences are lives, liberty, trials... and professional reputations and careers.  

Law enforcement and professional investigators do not have the luxury of fiction nor entertainment.  

As the television  popularity grew,  so did the training, but  Dr. Ekman eventually responded by sending out an email stating he would no longer tell whether someone is truthful or deceptive unless he, himself, conducts the interview, he showed just how much a failure this training has been.  To send him the video (even in high definition) to ask, "is the subject truthful or deceptive?" will not be permitted. 

This self protective stance is in stark contrast to the principles of statement analysis:

The same statement should yield the same conclusion whether it is done in New York, Los Angeles, Moscow or Cairo; all by different analysts, following the same training methodology.  

Since Dr. Ekman is not likely to travel from police department to police department conducting interviews, he effectively washed his hands of the impact of training:  he has no confidence in anyone trained to know if truth or deception is indicated.  

For those unfamiliar, his work is fascinating and I believe, in spite of the false claims made of trainers, it can be useful to studious investigators.  The work is based upon human nature's facial reactions, which can go by so quickly, that using video tape and slowing down the tape greatly, the truth of an emotion will leak out.  

There are some, especially combat veterans, who are fairly good at this, and there is also the element of human nature that can recognize a quick expression, especially when dangerous, instinctively.  

The training, using fast moving faces, is fascinating, but has not yielded success. The training does not work.  There are those with heightened situational awareness (most from military experience) may read the expression well, but to date, no training has emerged to teach this to others.   Working with police around the country, none have reported any success from the training, and that it is quickly dropped as a waste of resources and dismissed as a fad.  

Not so fast. 

We have high resolution video cameras, even on our smart phones. When an interview is recorded, we may transcribe and:

1.  Analyze the transcripts to know if the subject is truthful or if he is lying;

2.  Examine, in slow-stop motion, of the high resolution video, the body language and the micro-expressions of the subject, which may yield valuable information for 

a.  The investigators' strategy
b.  The investigation's own strategy and tactics 
c.  The investigators' safety 
d.  The exploration of the emotion (s) displayed in context
e.  The correlation of the emotion to the specific words used

In short, with most confessions (admissions) obtained in the follow up interview, where time allows for such review, especially if a department can allocate one or two experts for training, the video and transcripts can be useful. 

Human nature does not change.  

Humans are the only created begins where sophisticated language is used, and deception employed regularly to gain advantage one over another.  

Assault Investigation

Statement Analysis training can and does produce 100% accuracy in detecting deception, but it is only the beginning. 

Here we learn that the one who denied the assault is deceptive.  

The deeper analysis will yield content in which we now learn:

a.  when the assault took place
b.  where the assault took place
c.  how the assault took place
d.  why the assault took place.  

This content analysis routinely runs at 80% to 100% accuracy in small detail.  This is where the evidence collection and comparison comes in. 

Yet, statement analysis is not done yet in its proficiency.  

The words the subject chose, done at the rapid pace of processing, tells us about the subject, himself.  

His personality traits come forward. 
His motive and priorities reveal themselves. 
His background and experiences also reveal themselves to us. 

We use his own wording in the interview and interrogation process ("Analytical Interviewing") which means:  

comfort from familiarity, 

which yields our confession.  

This is something so powerful that  an anonymous author writing a threatening letter will reveal himself in his statement.  

We reveal ourselves in our words.  

Well trained professionals get to the truth, as found in the words, and can buttress their work with body language and facial analysis. 

The language guides us.  

The principles are consistent, and can are taught and learned.  Any reasonably intelligent and healthy person can learn at a high level.  When investigators obtain results through their training, they receive accolades, promotions, and best of all:

satisfaction of an inner drive to protect, serve and obtain justice that is priceless. 

For formal training and excellence in analysis, in hosting a training seminar or individual training: 

Hyatt Analysis Services

Next up:  handwriting analysis?


Malene said...

I read an interview from 2012 with one of the most prominent (in the media, at least) "body language experts" here in Denmark. The interviewer asks: “Can you mention a famous person who is hard to read?”
He said the following:
”Considering the harsh allegations agains Lance Armstrong, I think he is very difficult to read”
Apparently, the hashness of the allegations affects one's ability to conclude if the subject is truthful or deceptive. It begs the question: "Why are you teaching this to lawyers, then?"

Statement Analysis Blog said...

What is especially interesting about Malene's comment is that Lance Armstrong has been used in "Statement Analysis 101" to highlight what a reliable denial looks like, and what it doesn't.

This goes back to his first denials of PEDs when he came back from cancer.

Regarding "the harshness of the accusations", consider the psychological wall of truth.

When someone has no intellectual/emotional connection to an accusation, it is a void of physiological response. This is why they often pass polygraphs (using their own words) as truthful:

They have no real connection to the allegations. They are not "harsh" to the truthful and de facto innocent.

Even when measuring the defensive posture, year after year, does not change the analysis outcome.

Lance Armstrong's language analyzed indicates a weak asserter, a habitual liar and one with low human empathy.

Lance Armstrong's body language reveals a very confident habitual liar, with very low human empathy.

Intersting post. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

What is does it mean in SA if someone refers to their girlfriend as "the girlfriend" or "the GF"?
For example "Me and the girlfriend went to a movie."
"Me and the GF went to the store."

habundia said...

To me it doesnt sound like "their" girlfriend, maybe someone elses girlfriend.....not theirs.....never heard anyone call their girlfriend 'the girlfriend', but thats just my opinion, not sure its SA.....seems like they are not close at all