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Interrogation: A Battle of Persuasion

by Stan B. Walters, CSP
“The Lie Guy®”

For most interviewers, their concept of interrogation is that all they have to do is present the facts and the subject will just collapse under the weight of proof.  Interrogation is a little more complex than making a good argument that a person is deceptive.  It is a back and forth battle of persuasion and decision-making.


The battle of persuasion goes both ways.  On one side, by deception, your subject is trying to get you to change your point of view that they may be responsible for some inappropriate act or behavior. The more persuasive and convincing the better the chance the subject has at getting away with their deception. On the other side, you as the interviewer are trying to persuade the individual that their attempt at deception is not being successful and therefore they must accept your evidence of proof and change their position on the issue.


The interviewer needs to remember however, that the main reason a person chooses to lie is for some perceived personal benefits or to avoid some type of punishment.  A person will also confess for the very same reasons – they will confess when they perceive it will be beneficial to them.  They are not just confessing because the proof is there although that is part of the equation.  Think about it. The only time you change your mind about a previous decision you have made is when someone or something has overwhelming convinced you or persuaded you to believe that the new position, point of view or decision is far better than the previous  The better job you do as an interviewer convincing your subject of the very distinct differences between those two points  the easier you will make it for your subject to change rejection to admission or confession.


Don’t totally focus your efforts on just getting a subject to confess. Persuade them that admitting to the truth is far more acceptable and advantageous for them than sticking to their deception.

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