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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

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

Interview and Interrogation Training: It’s Not One and Done.

One interview and interrogation training course is NOT a vaccination!  Just because you took one course on the topic doesn’t mean you don’t need or won’t benefit from any more follow-up training. More often that not investigators and especially their administrators maintain the philosophy that once you take a course on interview and interrogation, you don’t really need any more training on the topic for the rest of your career.

The last 10 – 12 years has seen an enormous amount new research and legal rulings on interview and interrogation.  To maintain a high level of proficiency and reduce personal legal liability, investigators should be constantly studying and researching interview and interrogation research as well as their particular field of expertise. A VERY large majority of the research has proven that many of our detection of deception techniques are absolutely wrong!  Unfortunately misdiagnosis of deception signs is one of the leading causes of false confessions.  Even more disturbing is how many people teaching interview and interrogation have been ignoring the empirical research and are responsible for continuing to perpetuate myths about deception and interrogation.

Questions the professional interviewer & interrogator should ask themselves –

  1. Am I dedicated to being the best in my field including my interview & interrogation skills?  Am I a “virtuoso” in my field or am I just average?
  2. Am I spending 30 – 60 minutes per day reading about interview and interrogation or about my area of specialization?
  3. Have I ever spent the equivalent of the cost of a gourmet cup of coffee on educating and improving myself and my knowledge base?
  4. How long ago did I take any training or refresher training on interview & interrogation?
  5. Have I really looked at the true “source” of my interview and interrogation training? Is what I am being taught supported by empirical evidence or is it just anecdotal.  As business expert Mark Sanborn wrote in his latest business book “Up, Down or Sideways,” despite popular belief “data is not the plural of anecdotal.”
  6. Am I learning for the future?  The more you learn, the more you know what you are going to need to learn to be able to adapt to what you will encounter in the future.

If nothing else, there is one more VERY good reason to read, research and study our interview and interrogation skills.  We dramatically improve our chances of success in the interview room and in the field.

Mark Sanborn wrote “The more you learn, the more you develop behavioral flexibility that provides you a distinct advantage over your competition.”

Stan B. Walters, CSP
“The Lie Guy®”
TheLieGuy.com
The Interview Room
The3rdDegree.com
StanTheLieGuySpeaks.

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False Confessions: The “Get a Confession” Philosophy

When 25% of all the wrongful convictions overturned using DNA are the direct result of false confessions, then it’s time to look at police interview and interrogation training and techniques.

For more than 30 years, cases of wrongful conviction have been under the scrutiny of legal and criminal justice professionals and scholars.  One of the main contributing factors has consistently been identified as false confessions.  So why do we keep teaching the same flawed techniques?

One trend that I have seen for more than 30 years has been the persistent philosophy of investigators / interrogators that the sole objective of any interview or interrogation is to get a confession. Well, if that’s your only objective in an interrogation, rarely will you be disappointed!

Here’s the problem –

  1. Having an objective of “getting the confession” perpetuates a mindset on the part of the interviewer than there can be no other conclusions as to who is responsible for committing the crime.
  2. “Getting the confession” philosophy almost invariably leads to an accusatory style of interrogation which returns far less information that may be needed to progress a case criminally.
  3. “Getting the confession” philosophy and the inevitable accusatory style interrogation always winds up contaminating the subject’s behavior and responses because the interrogator exposes the subject to proprietary case information.
  4. Finally, “getting the confession” philosophy leads to the meme exposed by many interrogators and I might add their interrogation trainers that “they wouldn’t confess if they weren’t guilty!  In other words, it’s the suspect’s fault for falsely confessing.  I have actually heard this statement made by officers and interrogation trainers when asked about the problem of false confessions.

It is time to acknowledge that the perpetuation and persistence of false confession cases leads right back to our training academies.  “That’s they way we have always done it” doesn’t cut it as an excuse anymore!

Just my opinion because I am tired of seeing and hearing the crap taught in our academies. Those trainers and academies have to held accountable for ignoring the overwhelming evidence of failing to properly train interview and interrogation techniques and therefore result in such injustices.

Stan B. Walters,
“The Lie Guy®”
TheLieGuy.com
The3rdDegree.com
The Interview Room
Stan B. Walters Speaks