"...and I, I, I have not heard from them at all."
So went the statement where the woman claimed that her two drug contacts did not contact her for a scheduled transport.
In this short lesson, we examine the difference between:
"I have not heard from them" and "I, I, I have not heard from them at all" in her language.
By halting on the pronoun "I" we recognize that there is an increase in anxiety for the non-stuttering subject.
But what about the two additional words, "at all" in her statement? Lets remove anxiety and look at the reversal of the "Law of Economy" of words to see if more information is available for us.
We hear this phrase, "at all" regularly. Recently, I noted how often it came up in casual conversation as I listened to adults interacting with children. In relationship language, it is even more seen especially when one person is accused of some form of romantic disloyalty and uses it in a denial. The context is going to be very important.
"I have not heard from them" is shorter which means it not only took less effort, and it indicates sensitivity but it is a verbalized perception of a different reality from "I he not heard from them at all."
Question: is the subject who added "at all" lying?
In studying deception detection we carefully arrange our expectations according to the context.
"I haven't heard from her at all" said the husband to the wife about another woman where suspicion was evident.
Why didn't he just say "I haven't heard from her"?
"At all" is all inclusive rather than the singular "haven't" (or "have not.").
Why the need for emphasis?
Why the need to be all inclusive?
In Analysis: We get answers by asking questions.
Here is the key:
Examine the phrase "all inclusive" and you quickly realize that the word "all" is what we call a "dependent word." This means that the word only works when it is in consideration of at least one other thing.
If you have one student in a class room and you gave the student a lap top, you would not say, "I gave all the students laptops" even though, technically, it is true. Every student in the class did receive a lap top.
Dependent words are flagged both in context and within examination so that we can learn what else the subject might have been thinking.
Romance Gone Wrong: Relationship Language
"We only kissed" is an example in relationship language.
"Only" does not work in meaning unless the subject is thinking about something other than kissing. The listener needs to explore what else is on the subject's mind other than kissing. Perhaps the subject will take it even higher:
"We just kissed" is similar: it compares kissing to something else, but with a new dynamic: "just" is a dependent word of comparison. "We just kissed" means the subject is comparing kissing to something more than kissing. It other words, he talks about "kissing" but he is thinking about something else as he does.
In the drug case, "I have not heard from them at all" indicates a denial which is sensitive. In classification we would not say it is an "Unreliable Denial" but we would say it is "not reliable."
"Not reliable" indicates that more information is needed.
It may or may not be true.
Why did she say "I, I, I have not heard from them at all"?
What caused her to call in the need for reinforcement of her denial?
In this case, she was not lying. She was not contacted by the two drug traffickers. Anxiety aside, we have an important question to ask:
What was she thinking about when she used the words "at all"?
Here she had indeed expected contact from them. She was telling the truth, but she revealed to us an expectation of the means of contact.
The means of contact was plural, not singular. She did not expect them to show up at her door or meet someplace. She expected the contact to come in one of three ways, exposing how they had contacted her previously.
Sometimes they called her from unidentified numbers but sometimes they text'd her and once they had even emailed her. It developed over time as the relationship between them grew. As they went from suspicious to confident, so the boldness increased to traceable email. With confidence, they let their guard down.
She checked all three sources of contact and blurted out, "I, I, I have not heard from them at all!" while clutching her phone.
It was a multitude of means of contact that caused this unnecessary additional wording to enter her statement.
She did not pause and ask herself silently, "Which should I use? Should I tell this officer that I have not heard from them, or should I say I have not heard from them at all? Hmm. Which sounds better?"
No, she processed the information in less than a millisecond of time in the brain to reflect the reality of having checked her phone's 3 means of expected communication.
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