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What Interviewers and Interrogators Are Missing

Lie Signs and Hen’s Teethinterviewers adn interogators, lie signs, body language

What Interviewers and Interrogators may be missing

For nearly 50 years there has been a fundamental belief that those people who commit the act of deception will exhibit a plethora of telltale non-verbal cues. Interviewing and interrogation courses have taught over five decades that fidgeting, grooming, hand wringing, sweating, breaks in eye contact and even eye movement were just some of the purported undeniable cues that someone was lying. Unfortunately the overwhelming results of empirical research on deception, has debunked a very large majority of non-verbal cues as reliable signs of deception.

Body Language Cues Are Not Working

Several empirical studies confirm that focusing on body language results in poor detection of deception. Lie signs that subjects may generate during interviewing and interrogation are apparently rare and very faint signals. This is most likely the very reason the majority of people including interviewers and interrogators tend to perform very poorly at spotting deception.

Free ebook Practical Kinesic Interview & Interrogation®: A Basic Guide

Big Foot is alive and well! Not!

Peer reviewed research published by Aldert Virj has shown that people in fact do not generate what he calls “stereotypical signs” of nervousness behavior during their attempt to deceive. He found this to be true even though the individual may be experiencing a high level of “detection anxiety” or the fear of getting caught lying. Virj further found that investigators who focused primarily on the body language cues during interviewing and interrogation to spot deception developed a very strong “lie bias.” In empirical research, this is referred to as “confirmation bias.” This is especially true for the multitude of body language myths perpetuated in law enforcement academy training materials. If you think you’re going prove that Big Foot exists, then every single snapped twig or unusual noise in the woods is a sign that Big Foot is real.

Could Verbal Cues Be More Reliable?

When put to the test, in general interviewers and interrogators who focus more on speech cues for diagnosing deception perform better than those watching for the myth-based body language cues. However, another contributing factor to missing verbal cues to deception are the many myths about verbal signs of deception. Such cues as stuttering, stammering, stalling, “ah” “er” “um” and “uh”, laughing, voice pitch and many many more have been proven unreliable.

Hen’s Teeth and Lie Signs

It would appear that verbal and nonverbal signs of deception are quite rare. To complicate matters even more, they have a very short duration which overall makes them hard to spot. Ekman, et al and their work on micro expressions have overwhelming proved that point. The job of the interviewer therefore is cover topics thoroughly and perhaps even repetitively. If the interviewer or interrogator hopes to spot any signs of deception, then they need to focus more not only on what they hear but also ask questions that are very focused and will energize the subject’s efforts to maintain deception making the cues stand out. In other words, the better the questions and the more thorough the coverage the better chance the interviewer will have at spotting deception. Otherwise deception cues from a subject will be as rare as hen’s teeth!

Watch Stan’s You Tube Video on Hen’s Teeth & Lie Signs

Hen's Teeth & Lie Signs | Tip #31 of 101 Interviewing and Interrogation Tips

Interviewing and Interrogation: Bizarre Training Course

Interviewing Tips | Interviewing Victims and Witnesses | Tip # 27

Interviewing tipsInterviewing Tips

Interviewing Victims and Witnesses

Interviewing tips taught to many investigators during their initial training is unfortunately severely lacking. Interviewing victims and witnesses is THE most important thing you will ever do as an investigator.  In a prominent study conducted by the Rand Corporation many years ago provided an important interviewing tip.  The interviews of  victims and witnesses is one of the most important steps to clearing any case.  That is however if you are using an effective interviewing style. Now, nearly 3 decades later our training academies may still be short changing our investigators by not giving attention to this critical skill.

The vast majority of interviewing tips offered in interviewing and interrogation training courses focus heavily on the element of spotting deception in the victim or witness’s behavior.  They do not focus on getting information and how to avoid contaminating statements. To complicate the situation even further, most interviewing and interrogation training courses offering interviewing tips of spotting deception.  The problem is that the great majority of verbal and nonverbal cues identified as deception in these interviewing and interrogation courses have been proven wrong.

Check out our “Mastering Narrative-Based Interviewing” course.

Unfortunately, during interviewing and interrogation training,  little emphasis is on interviewing tips and techniques that have been proven to be effective. Many victim and witness interviews uncover little of the information victims and witnesses possess.   Most tactics taught and used are even counter-productive. The result is often statements that have been contaminated by the interviewer’s efforts. Those same tactics also do little gain cooperation and compliance from victims and witnesses nor take into account the strong emotional and cognitive reactions they may be experiencing.

Watch Interviewing Tip # 27 | Interviewing Victims and Witnesses of 101 Tips for Interviewing and Interrogation to 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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101 Tips for Interview & Interrogators

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