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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Interviewing and Interrogation: The Trap of Too Many Choices | Tip # 21 of 101 Tips

Interviewing and Interrogation

The “trap” of giving too many choices.

Without a doubt, there is no such thing as a perfect interviewing and interrogation session. Smart interviewers however, will learn from their mistakes and should be doing extensive reading and research to human behaviors, reaction and response behaviors and most importantly how to use ethical and effective persuasion tactics. One pitfall that can be avoided is overwhelming a subject with too many choices to make during any interviewing and interrogation event.

Okay, I’ll admit that one of my favorite desserts is cheesecake.  I love cheesecake! Unfortunately, my problem is I’ve probably never met a cheesecake recipe that I didn’t like.  Therein lies the problem!  As you can imagine, a trip to the “Cheesecake Factory” can be a nightmare for me.  So many choices, so little time, and the futility of guarding my waistline. The problem (albeit a good one!) is that the Cheese Cake Factory has so many good cheese cake variations and I can’t decide.  Eventually when I do decide, there is always that nagging question in my mind “Wonder if that “other one” was really good?”

The same problem exists during an interviewing and interrogation session.  As the interviewer, there is often the urge to “overwhelm” the subject with every piece of evidence and information we have at our disposal.  The end goal being that the subject will feel it is futile to even resist saying “No” to our overtures for cooperation or an admission or even confession.  The is invariably true during “guilt assumptive” or “accusatory” styles of interviewing and interrogation.  The end result is often non-productive.

When a subject is overloaded during interviewing and interrogation, three things will happen:

  1. Your subject will be frustrated because they are being face with too many choices at one time.
  2. Because the subject is faced with too many choices, the decision making time frame is exponentially extended.  This often triggers the interviewer to push that much harder.
  3. When a person overwhelmed with choices and feels they are being pushed to a decision their first instinctive reaction is to survive and reject all the choices.

During any interviewing and interrogation scenario, only offer your subject one issue at a time to consider.  Resolve the issue and only put it aside if absolutely necessary before you bring up a new issue.  Your overall results will be faster and more positive.

Watch Tip # 21 of 101 Tips for Interviewers and Interrogators and learn more!

interviewing and interrogation video tips

Interviewing and Interrogation: Is Body Language The Answer? | Tip # 20 of 101 Tips

Interviewing and Interrogation

Is Body Language the Answer to Spotting All Deception?

For nearly six decades of interviewing and interrogation training and application, the hypothesis has been that body language would be the best why to spot if a subject was being truthful or deceptive.  The concept has reached almost mythical status.  Those investigators who would be the best, would be those who could spot a large catalog of deception behaviors that a subject could possibly generate during interviewing and interrogation.  In reality the results of spotting deception via body language has fallen well below expectation.

The greatest majority of the body language cues that have been and are still being touted in numerous interviewing and interrogation training courses as being almost infallible despite overwhelming empirical evidence that proves otherwise.  In the meantime, innocent people are being wrongly accused and the cues of those subjects who are actually deceptive are going unnoticed.

The truth about deception cues that may be exhibited during interviewing and interrogation are in fact quite rare and their signals very faint.  Observation studies of interrogators who claim to be very good at spotting body language deception cues actually perform very poorly.  In fact, those interrogators who use body language cues as a tool to spot deception during interviewing and interrogation have been found to have strong “lie bias” are more likely to diagnose genuinely truthful statements as being deceptive.


It’s about time interviewers and interrogators acknowledge the overwhelming scientific evidence and pay more attention to verbal cues as a far more productive method of spotting deception during interviewing and interrogation.

Watch Tip # 20 of 101 Tips for Interviewers and Interrogators and learn more!

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Interviewing and Interrogation: To Record or Not Record… Tip # 19 of 101 Tips

Interviewing and Interrogation

To Record or Not Record … Why Would You Not?

Since 1984 and the passage of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (P.A.C.E.) Great Britain’s law enforcement agencies have been recording their interviewing and interrogation sessions.  There were multiple reasons behind the move to record.  To assure that the rights of subject’s were being properly protected and more importantly, the biggest motivating factor was to more quickly identify and reduce the occurrence of false confessions.  

Since that time numerous local agencies in the US have decided on an  individual basis to record their interviewing and interrogation sessions.   There are now 20+ states that by statute recording some form of recording of at least specific major felony cases to all felony cases and many misdemeanor cases.

Initially there was resistance to the idea of recording those sessions by some law enforcement personnel and prosecutors.  Those agencies and states that have started the recording interviewing and interrogation of subjects have now overwhelming embraced the process and are giving rave reviews.  Earlier this year there has been news that more and more federal agencies may be following suit.

Listen in to Tip # 19 of 101 Tips for Interviewers and Interrogators and learn more about the process of interviewing and interrogation recording.

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