Tuesday, January 30, 2018

To "Agree" In Statement Analysis

"What does it mean when someone says...?" is a common question analysts face. 

From broken hearted requests for alleviation of emotional pain, to a criminal investigation, people seek answers within language, often guided by hope more than reality. 

Some receive the answer they sought; some do not. 

When freely speaking the brain processes at a speed so fast that we are able to identify that "no pre thought" was evident. The person does not need to pause and ask herself, "Should I say "I" or "we" here?"

In even simpler terms, the editing process that we all use is said to be "free" when the subject is using his or her own language. This is why "What happened?" and "What happened, next?" are the two most powerful investigatory questions. 

In asking, or in the imperative, "Tell me what happened", we allow the subject to choose where to begin his statement, what information to include, what information to leave out, what verb tenses to use, and where to place each word, next to another, to make sense. 

It is here that it is very rare that one will tell an objective lie. This is why we say, "90% or more of lying comes from the withholding information.  This percentage changes dramatically the more an Interviewer speaks.  As we speak, we not only give the subject specific words to use, but if we are not careful, we teach the subject how to lie. 

Polygraph Examiners can be their own worst enemy in this sense.  This is why the polygraph exam must use the subject's own words.  It is his own words where the psychological connection exists. 

Agree or Disagree?

"I was walking with him when I agreed to go for a ride." 

1.  Deception Detection
2.  Content Analysis 
3.  Profile 

This is a very short sentence and the yield will be measured. 

"I was walking with him when I agreed to go for a ride." 

1Deception Detection. 

There is nothing in this sentence to indicate deception. Someone who "sees" deception in this sentence is seeing that which is not there.  When the analyst is self disciplined, he or she will not guess, project, or manipulate a sentence to fit anything.  The analyst "submits" to the language. 

2.  Content Analysis 

"I was walking with him when I agreed to go for a ride." 

As we break down the content, we note several things:

a.  The subject (speaker/writer) separates herself from "him" with an important word: 


When the word "with" is found between the subject and another person, it is a signal of distancing language. 

What causes it?

What caused the subject to avoid saying, "We were walking..."? 

Analysis Consciousness 

This is an interesting phenomena that seems to impact those who give themselves to study of deception detection and in depth training. Over time, they begin to question their own choice of language until it reaches a saturation point:  they're listening with very high skill and almost analyzing while they are sleeping. 

They first catch themselves using a specific word, and asking self, "Why did I use that word?"

Over time, the answers match the principles learned and employed. It is often comical and an exciting period of growth for the analyst. 

"I was walking with him" shows distance, while walking, with the male in the statement. 

It could have been emotionally, intellectual or even geographical distance. 

*He was walking too fast for me and was ahead of me (geographical)
*He was talking about his job and I did not understand (intellectual) 
*I don't know how I really feel about him (emotional)

1.  "Heather and I were watching a movie."  It was an okay movie. 

2.  "I was watching a movie with Heather."    It was an okay move, but she missed quite a bit of it.    She was texting a friend during it and I like when we comment back and forth on the dialog. 

The second sentence shows the cause of distance.  I did not stop to think, "Hmm, which way should I word it?"  I just blurted it out.  This is where Statement Analysis gets its advantage. 

"I was walking with him when I agreed to go for a ride." 

What might  a very subtle change of wording here indicate?

"I was walking with him and agreed to go for a ride." 

Did you notice the change?

"...and agreed to go..." instead of "when I agreed to go..."

Elements in Language 

We ask, "What is the element present in a sentence?"

Here, in the actual quote, the woman said,

""I was walking with him when I agreed to go for a ride." 

The element of the sentence is "Time."

The subject is thinking about the timing of what happened, as part of the overall answer to "what happened?"

She not only distanced herself to him, but in looking back, she is thinking of the timing of the events.  It is a signal that she is in experiential memory and very likely telling the truth. 

In a sense, the language does not lie.  If she were to lie about this event, we'd still get to the truth of what happened. 

What caused her to distance herself from him?


She is thinking of the timing and the choices she made, along with way.

She "agreed" to go for a ride with him.  

Content Analysis now seeks to learn what produced her to use the word "agree" here?

Look at time as an element: 

We live in time. 
We look back in time. 
We look forward for hope, anticipation, or even dread, fear or anxiety. 

She could have said: 

I went for a ride with him.  

It is not, however, the ride she is thinking about.  

She is going back into her memory of what she experienced, and as she is answering, "What happened?" she is thinking how she and the man disagreed about going for a ride.  

She had an instinctive sense of fear and did not yield to it.  She let him keep talking until he prevailed.  

In conversation, you might say, "Agreed" to an assertion.  It did not follow an argument or disagreement.  It could be, however, as you look within at your own choice, that you may have anticipated not agreeing, or with the subject, have disagreed in the past. Or it could be that you anticipate others not agreeing. In other words:

It entered your language for a reason.

In our sample, she looked back at the moment in time where she could have, and should have, walked away. She had the opportunity and her instinct told her, "Don't do it."  

For her, she is engaged right at the point in time just prior to getting into the car where she was assaulted.  

She "agreed" to get into the car and although there was not an argument, there was no true agreement.  It began politely enough, and he was pleasant, polite, but also very strong in persuasion.  She had, in her mind, opportunities to rebuff him while they were walking and talking.  She looks back and in her mind, she is not in the car being assaulted, she is in the moments before that, when she had her legs beneath her, much safer, both physically and psychologically, with the distance her language recreated.  

She had that moment of fear, instinctively, that she looks back on and regrets not yielding to.  Her statement shows she was not thinking about what happened in the car where she was assaulted. 

She was thinking of the timing and the opportunity she had, while he was still polite, to not get into his car. 

It was, in this sense, that fear was a gift she did not avail herself of. 

3.  Psycho-Linguistic Profile

The profile needs more information, but even in what we have, we see an intelligent female who distanced herself from an assailant, who is not likely to so quickly "agree" and dismiss her intuition for safety.  

From an investigator's perspective, it is very tempting to try to bring the victim to talk about the assault that took place in the car.  However, more information of greater depth and usefulness is obtained by skilled listening to what is most important to her. 

To use "agree" here, with the pronoun "I", rather than dropping it, its a very small indicator from which we may consider: 

She is not only intelligent, but she is one who takes personal responsibility for her actions.  This is a strong personality trait. She did not say, "he sexually assaulted me in the car."  She said, "I agreed..." 

This does not negate the criminal action of the perpetrator.  It does, however, suggest to us that she is not likely to let her guard down again.  It is intellect and personal responsibility being engaged.  

Then, once established, questions are formulated to help facilitate the flow of information.  She will tell the investigator what happened, but let her talk and let her guide you to truth. 

Her words recreate her perception of what happened. 

It is legally sound, reliable and worthy of court testimony.  

From it, we can learn if she is truthful or not, what happened, and about her, as a person.  We use the profile to do far more than identify anonymous authors or strategize our interviews.  Trained therapists can know exactly what issues to address to help process the trauma. 

For Training in Statement Analysis, visit Hyatt Analysis Services 


ItsJezMe said...

Very interesting article. Thanks Mr. Hyatt

Anonymous said...

"Walking" also is an incomplete activity. If she had continued walking, she may have avoided trauma. Her walk was interrupted by the ride.

Zulu said...

Thanks for this analysis, Peter. It's really good. Your blog makes me to noticie and contemplate my own language choices, as well as that of others. I now hear a clang in my head when I read things like this:

– "Micah was unable to describe the crime scene accurately. He got some pretty important information wrong, such as the location of her body. He said I had helped him commit the murder, though the prosecution feels confident I was nowhere near the crime scene when it happened."

Especially those last 15 words.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

An incomplete activity IN statement analysis is one in which the subject tells us it is “incomplete.”

It is not the activity, but the subject’s perception of it.

“I began walking “ would be an example of incomplete activity in SA.

It’s not reality that we measure but the subject’s perception of reality as expressed in language.


Anonymous said...


Sorry I am 6 weeks late to the game on this, but looks like Pastor Davey got remarried just before Christmas...


ima.grandma said...

Speaking of "agree":
God Bless America and President Donald Trump.

Bobcat said...

Thanks for your elaboration on incomplete activity Peter.

Anonymous said...

OT: A 911 call in which a man has shot two of his siblings.


ima.grandma said...

Off topic


The Rays on Tuesday severed ties with team physician Michael Reilly following allegations of sexual abuse.

Reilly was accused of inappropriate behavior and sexual abuse eight to 10 years ago in a video posted by a Florida woman on YouTube on Jan. 17.

"We have very recently become aware of a video accusing Dr. Reilly of sexually abusing a former employee of his medical practice," John Higgins, Rays senior vice president of administration and general counsel, said in a statement, via the Tampa Bay Times . "We have ended our contractual relationship with him, and we have also alerted the St. Petersburg Police Department and Major League Baseball of this situation."

The video, titled "The Importance Of Sharing My Story Of Sexual Abuse,"  is over 10 minutes long and details how Reilly touched the woman inappropriately and tried to kiss her while she was a teenager working in his St. Petersburg, Fla., office. The woman added that the abuse lasted over a period of about three years.

"I know he's done this to other people," the woman said in the video. "I've debated making a video for years. I finally thought if I have to put my face out there, if it's going to save another person from being sexually abused from this person, then so be it."

Reilly, 67, was initially suspended by the team last week after the video surfaced. He has denied the allegations but admitted to having a consensual relationship when the woman was an adult.

A spokeswoman for the St. Petersburg Police Department confirmed to the Times that an investigation is ongoing.

Reilly has been affiliated with the Rays for 20 seasons and previously served as a team doctor for the Tampa Bay Lightning from 1992-2002.

Note: the link to the video is included on this page


Prominent St. Petersburg doctor Michael Reilly in a statement Tuesday denied allegations of sexual abuse that led to his firing as team physician of the Tampa Bay Rays. He resigned a similar post at St. Petersburg Catholic High School.

The Rays took action after viewing a video posted on YouTube by a St. Petersburg woman that alleged Reilly touched her inappropriately and tried to kiss her while she was a teenager working in his St. Petersburg office.

Reilly denied the allegations of sexual abuse but admitted to what he called a consensual relationship when the woman was an adult, in a statement issued by his lawyer. Reilly also said he was "deeply troubled" by the allegations, considered the tarnishing of his reputation "disturbing" and was consulting with counsel.

Reilly, in the statement forwarded by attorney Cathleen Bell Bremmer, said:

"I recently watched the YouTube video. While I am deeply troubled by the allegations made, I am sympathetic to the pain she has expressed.

"I deny her allegations of sexual abuse. We did, however, have a consensual relationship when she was an adult, which I regret.

"I've dedicated my life to medicine and making our community a better place to live, so having my reputation tarnished in this manner is disturbing.

"The video has already had serious repercussions for me and my family. As a result, I am consulting with legal counsel, and I am not in a position to say anything further at this time.

"In the meantime I ask that you allow my family and me our privacy as the process plays out.''

Anonymous said...

"when I agreed to go for a ride." Yes, but with whom?

ima.grandma said...

I was able to finally get the video to come up. I'm surprised "this" video alone resulted in the firing. Her words don't justify a sexual assault claim; grooming, yes! Her story is incomplete, at best. She didn't speak to a consensual sexual liaison occurring as an adult. Unless damning evidence follows, I don't expect a credible legal charge to stick against the doctor. I'm not discounting her feelings of creepiness or uncomfortable with his invasion of personal space. Society and humans must live within boundaries.

I'm supportive of speaking out against harm, neglect and abuse. Don't stay silent! tell someone! but good grief! This is becoming a social justice frenzy and media parade complete with floats for the agenda and drama queens to ride upon.

John Mc Gowan said...


Would the principle of body posture come into paly?

Anonymous said...


Share this article
Robert Wagner is named a person of interest in death of his late actress wife Natalie Wood 36 years after she mysteriously drowned

Anonymous said...


LATEST: Investigators tell #48Hours Robert Wagner is now a "person of interest" in Natalie Wood's death.

This is what we know about her last night alive: http://cbsn.ws/2DSbCOt

John Mc Gowan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ima.grandma said...

Robert Wagner has been a person of interest 'in one way or the other' since the day Natalie's body was found floating in the water. I was heartbroken when I found out she was dead. "Splendor in the Grass" was my favorite movie as a young girl. My friends and I would walk about the drive-in lot during intermission, giggling and whispering about Bud and Deanie's love story.

I read the FBI has DNA. I hope the truth comes out. I've always blamed Robert Wagner for taking her away. I had posters of Natalie, ripped out of teenie-bob magazines, taped to my bedroom wall. I thought she was so beautiful.

Lilstr said...

I've always wondered what Christopher Walken has seen or knows. He does not strike me as the early-to-go-to-bed type.

He gave a curt quote to People magazine about Wood’s death in 1986: “I don’t know what happened,” Walken said. “She slipped and fell in the water. I was in bed then. It was a terrible thing. Look, we’re in a conversation I won’t have. It’s a f***ing bore.”

In light of SA, now I see that the statement: "she slipped and fell in the water" comes before "I was in bed". So how could he have seen her slip?

ima.grandma said...

Christopher Walken:  Now 74, the Oscar-winning character actor (The Deer Hunter, 1978) was co-starring with Wood in a film and was a guest of the Wagners on the yacht that night. Known as a quirky character at best, Walken has said almost nothing in public about what happened.

But in 1997, he offered a plausible theory in an interview with Playboy: Half asleep, Wood, who Walken says couldn't swim, went to move a dinghy bouncing against the side of the boat and slipped on a ski ramp partially in the water. She hit her head, fell into the water and floated away. 

The link to the Playboy interview is contained in this interesting article:

Lilstr said...

And a contadicting quote from Walken in 1997:

“What happened that night only she knows, because she was alone,” Walken said. “She had gone to bed before us, and her room was at the back. A dinghy was bouncing against the side of the boat, and I think she went out to move it. There was a ski ramp that was partially in the water. It was slippery — I had walked on it myself. She had told me she couldn’t swim; in fact, they had to cut a swimming scene from [Brainstorm]. She was probably half asleep, and she was wearing a coat.”

Walken suspected that Wood also might have hit her head before falling into the water.


ima.grandma said...

Walken doesn't mention Wagner.

“She had gone to bed before us, and her room was at the back."

Us: who is us? There were others aboard the yacht, but who specifically is us?
Her room, not their room? Where is Wagner?

Lilstr said...

Thank you for the article imagrandma. I don't know how accurate the transcription from the Yahoo article is, but if it is, the story is completely different.

Either Walken had gone to bed and didn't hear nor see anything (1987 version); in which case he's in no position to say what happened to her.

Or Walken and Wagner (us) were up and Wood had retired early (1997 version).

But this second d version does not seem plausible to me. Would someone with a dark-water phobia venture outside at night to push a dingy. Wouldn't she have asked the two men who are awake something like: "Hey, guys, can someone please go move the dingy so it's not banging so loudly?"

Lilstr said...

True, he says "us" but does not specify who that is. I had always assumed the "us" was Wagner and Walken.

In this article, it mentions that Wood, Wagner, Walken and the captain Dennis Davern were the 4 occupants that night.


Ladela said...

Or Wood could have asked the captain/skipper to tie up the dingy. I've read many times that she was deathly afraid of the water from a very young age.

ima.grandma said...

In 2011, in an interview with the Today show, Davern said he lied to police at first. "I made mistakes by not telling the honest truth in the (initial) police report," Davern said then. When asked if Wagner had more of a responsibility in the case, Davern said, "Yes, I would say so, yes." But he refused to elaborate. 

Even earlier, in a 1992 interview with Geraldo Rivera's Now It Can Be Told, he implied that he knew how Wood got into the water. And in a long Vanity Fair piece in 2000, Davern is quoted as saying that Wood and Wagner fought in their cabin before the actress disappeared.

ima.grandma said...

I pushed the button too quick, I'm still working on impulse control:)
Davern is quoted as saying that Wood and Wagner fought in "their" cabin before the actress disappeared.
I was thinking (guessing) Walken meant us as himself and Davern. I pictured Daven heard Natalie and Robert fighting and figured he needed to get the hell out of there. Davern then seeking the company of the good natured Walken and my guess, a good party buddy to wind the night down.

ima.grandma said...

Note to self: Impulse control and objectivity decreases once a topic touches emotion or sensitive memory, but WTH...


In November 2011, the investigation was reopened after Dennis Davern, the yacht's captain that fateful night, came forward to publicly admit that he had lied to investigators and did not disclose that Wagner and Wood had gotten into an explosive argument just before her disappearance. According to Davern, Wagner had smashed a wine bottle on a coffee table, prompting Walken to retreat to his room; the couple's argument continued and Davern said that when he attempted to intervene, Wagner ordered him to leave. Not long after, Wood was suddenly gone – but according to Davern, her husband didn't seem too concerned.

"We didn't take any steps to see if we could locate her," Davern told NBC News' David Gregory in 2011. "I think it was a matter of, 'We're not going to look too hard, we're not going to turn on the searchlight, we're not going to notify anybody right now.'" Asked outright if he thought Wagner was responsible for Wood's death, Davern replied, "Yes, I would say so. Yes."

Anonymous said...

Why does anyone listen to this drivel? It’s been wrong so often. Davey Blackburn comes to mind. L

Lilstr said...

Looking for quotes from Wagner himself, I found an article quoting his memoir written in 2008 titled “Pieces of My Heart” where he recalled the time when he argued with Walken over his wife’s career.

“Nobody knows. There are only two possibilities: either she was trying to get away from the argument, or she was trying to tie the dinghy. But the bottom line is that nobody knows exactly what happened,” Wagner wrote.

He expressed regret for Wood’s death, writing he would have done something.

“Did I blame myself?” he wrote. “If I had been there, I could have done something. But I wasn’t there. I didn’t see her. The door was closed; I thought she was below decks. I didn’t hear anything. But ultimately, a man is responsible for his loved one, and she was my loved one.”

This contradicts Daverns' recollection of that evening, admitting to not being forthcoming in 1981.
He said he had lied to police during the initial investigation and confirmed Wood and Wagner had an argument that evening.

Davern said in 2011 that Wagner shouted at Walken: “Do you want to f*** my wife” before smashing a bottle of wine and then later yelled “get off my f***ing boat”.


Lilstr said...

Ill try SA on this quote:
“Did I blame myself?” he wrote. “If I had been there, I could have done something. But I wasn’t there. I didn’t see her. The door was closed; I thought she was below decks. I didn’t hear anything. But ultimately, a man is responsible for his loved one, and she was my loved one.”

"Did I blame myself?" Seems posed as a rhetorical question, he does not answer it.
"If I had been there, I would have done something" could imply that he was techincally inside the boat when she drowned. He does not say what he would have done. He does not say, I would have saved her, I would have pulled her out of the water etc.
"I didn't see her' is in the negative, he doesn't say what he saw. It could also be true that it was pitch black outside.
"I didn't hear anything" same here he stated what he did not hear in the negative.
"I thought she was below deck" could technically be true, the water level is below the level of the deck. If he's talking about below deck, this would imply that he himself is on deck.
"The door was closed" he does not say which door, he does not say "her door" was closed. It's probably true that at least one door on the boat was closed. Why mention this at all?
"But ultimately, a man is responsible for his loved one, and she was my loved one.” Could this be a semi-veiled admission of guilt?

Anonymous said...

Lilstr said

"Did I blame myself?" Seems posed as a rhetorical question, he does not answer it."

If he is not answering a question (do you blame yourself) and isn't repeating the language of others, it maybe an embeded admission.

ima.grandma said...

“If I had been there, I "could have" done something. But I wasn’t there."

"could have" vs "would have"

could have (done something) - 
:used for saying that something was possible in the past, even though it did not happen
:phrase expresses something that maybe would have happened in the past if the situation had been a little bit different. It's a way to imagine something different happening in the past.
:used when you realize that there was a better way to do something, after you did it.

would have (done something) - 
:used for talking about what was going to happen in the past
:used for showing what someone expected, intended, promised, etc. when they were thinking or talking about the future
:used for talking about something that was going to happen after a particular point in the past
:used for talking about the possible results of a situation that is unlikely to happen or that did not happen

My opinion> Christopher Walken holds a lot in the vault.

Anonymous said...


George Zimmerman 911 Tapes Released

ima.grandma said...

FYI anonymous^

ima.grandma said...

Memorandum released

General P. Malaise said...

Blogger Lilstr said...
Ill try SA on this quote:
“Did I blame myself?” he wrote

given that he uses past tense is leaking to the point of embedded confession. he should have said "do" not "did" unless he "did" it.

C5H11ONO said...

For a smart man, it appears Comey lost his cool. I find it interesting that this tweet reveals to me that he knew exactly what what was in this highly confidential document. This memo was not around when he was. He knew what was going down. This tweet reveals how a liar needs to divert attention. The good news is that he is rattled.

On a side note, Peter, I believe this is the first ever case where statement analysis was applied. I believe the defendant is a murderer, but in this case, the matter was about hiring a hit man to kill his wife not about confessing to murder. He was acquitted of these charges too. Sadly he is a murderer, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

The details relayed to the reader in the book "Gift of Fear" relates that even a trained therapist can be duped by a cunning predator. (can be gleaned in the preview)
She describes knowing she had too many groceries to carry before embarking up the stairwell. A bag spits open and cans begin to stream downward towards the predator following her. He convinces her he is going to the same floor and collects the goods and he swiftly catches up.

She led him to her exact apt. door. Then told him to put the goods down. He convinced her to let him carry them inside and to feel safe she should leave the door open. She did. Bad move.

He had murdered before by knife. He held a gun to her head during the rape.

He closed the window prior to leaving. She knew she'd be killed.

What she didn't know was how long he'd been following her even prior to getting her groceries out of the car.

Lilstr said...

Good point!

Get over it fox hunters said...


ima.grandma said...

Indecision! The video shows only a flickering glimpse of family interaction. It certainly isn't enough to base a conclusion. My primary gut instinct says: no, it isn't grooming.

Ladela said...

I agree Ima, we need way more context to analyze.

The kid was clearly embarrassed, tho that could be chalked up to age(he's just hitting that awkward, easily embarrassed pubescent age), the camera and another person's presence.

It seemed like the boy 'knew the drill' regarding giving a kiss to get something. I can see why some might see that as "grooming" but we've not nearly enough info to conclude anything.

Does the whole family kiss on the lips? We did, and my parents didn't molest us.

With that being said, I have no problem believing anyone is capable of that, regardless of fame, public stature etc.

John Mc Gowan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ima.grandma said...

Ladela, your comment is an excellent example of pure 'common sense'. Thank you.

Mike Dammann said...

Have you analyzed the call-in Paz de la Huerta made alleging rape by Harvey Weinstein vs. statements made by Rose McGowan? Have you analyzed statements made by other actors regarding previous knowledge of his wrongdoings?

Nadine Lumley said...

The Gift of Fear is one of my top ten books, it's one of my bibles. I follow that author on twitter but I never notice his company posting, I just looked, they post a lot of job ads.

He lives on an island and fosters like 18 kids idk. Movie stars try to date him lolz

Everybody should read this book, it's brilliant. His childhood was horrific.

It's a disgrace I have more twitter followers than his company account; if u have twitter, follow this: