website security



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

Tips for Recording Interviews

Tips for Recording Interviews

What’s Holding You Back From Recording Your Interviews?

tips for recording interviewsAre you recording your interviews? If not maybe you should be!  The trend for recording interviews is growing on a national level.  There is even some changes on the horizon for some federal agencies to start recording interviews.  At last count 22 states are requiring some type of recording of police interviews and interrogations.  More than 3000 agencies are reportedly also doing some recording. So what is it that is holding you or your agency back?


When asked about their experiences with recording interviews, the results were quite surprising!  Almost every single agency said they would never give up the practice.  Despite all the misgivings and concerns about law suits, exposed techniques, or even compromising the “tactics” being used in the interview room, the results have been remarkable.  So maybe what is holding you or your agency back are some concerns about methods, procedures, recording devices and more.

Take a look at Tip # 26 of 101 Tips for Interviewing and Interrogation.  This episode contains some tips for recording interviews.  Many of these tips for recording interviews has come from agencies already using the process and have adjusted their methods, procedures and polices.

Be sure to subscribe to Stan’s YouTube Channel: 101 Tips for Interviewing and Interrogation.
Get ahead of the game with some valuable interviewing tips for every interviewer and interrogator.

Meanwhile, get the Interviewers Playbook and get a head start on all your interviews!


101 Tips for Interview & Interrogators

101 Tips Intro101 Tips Intro

Interrogation: Reading Bergdahl

Bowe Bergdahl had just been released by his “captors” in Afghanistan in exchange for the release of 4 high value Gitmo prisoners when a major media outlet asked me to review some of Bergdahl’s writings.  In particular they wanted to get a sense of Bergdahl the man.

I decided to approach the process of reviewing the limited amount of Bergdahl’s writings from the stand point of an interrogator preparing himself to sit down and talk to the man.  How does he think?  How does he perceive himself? How does he see the world around him?  What drives his behavior everyday and in particular what is his reaction to events that cause him stress and how does he handle himself in those situations? What was his state of mind and was his behavior intentional when his disappeared from his unit June 30, 2009?

Immediately after reading Bergdahl, I was struck by the observation that this is a man who did little more than “dream about life” but had no effort and had no initiative or self discipline to strive to make those dreams come true.  He makes references to himself as a lone wolf in a dark world.  He sees little or nothing in the world that is for him as if he is disappointed with life and wants to find it’s beauty but would barely turn himself in that direction to go find it.  My perception is that looks at himself as a Knight without a Lord or Ronin – the Samurai without a master.

Bergdahl’s problem however with being that Knight or Samurai is that he dreams of the role BUT expects someone or something else to do the work to turn him into those romantic figures.  In a very telling passage in some of his writing Bergdahl berates the Army and the US mission in Afghanistan.  His remarks present the image of himself and his fellow warriors as nothing more than frightened cowards hiding from children behind sandbags.  In all reality, Bergdahl has just described himself.  Bergdahl wanted to “Be all [he] could be” but the blames the Army for not “making” him into that warrior that he doesn’t have the discipline to do himself.

Starting on June 9, 2009, Bergdahl’s writings took on a significant change.  He began writing to his friends stateside in a crude code making remarks that it was not safe to talk about what he was going to happen.  He hints at his plans that he knows are wrong and is concern about how others will perceive those plans.  He was full aware that what he was going to do was wrong and could bring the world down on him. As an interrogator, I will make an analysis of a subject’s behavior on the basis of  “plan of action continuum” that investigators use to analysis everything from serial crimes to active shooters to acts of terrorism:


In my opinion, Bergdahl’s actions of walking away from his unit on June 30, 2009 was done with well-planned intent.  From June 9 when the dialogue of his writing’s changed until June 30, 2006 when he walked away, Bergdahl planning and preparing.  Almost like a person ready to commit suicide, Bergdahl was saying his good byes, giving away his belongings, tying up loose ends, closing out the books. It was not on a whim but with deliberate intent.  Bergdahl was “suiciding his current life” because it brought him no joy and no one was going to take him by the hand and lead him on the journey to find his dreams – a journey for which he had no initiative to take on his own.

In my opinion Bergdahl was not just some unfortunate soldier that due to some random set of circumstances that wandered into the hands of the enemy.  He finally developed enough initiative to take action and that was to walk away from a situation where no one would “make” him into something and find another situation and give someone else to opportunity to create his life for him.

I’m done reading…time to interrogate the deserter, Bergdahl.

Just my opinion…let me hear yours.

Stan B. Walters
“The Lie Guy®”