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The Cognitive and Emotional Responses and Contradiction

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

One prominent principle I try to impart to the students in all my level 1 classes is that we all respond to events around us on both a cognitive and emotional level.  These are responses that we al have laboriously developed through conditioned response behaviors for our entire lives.  These reactions of emotion and thought are deeply engrained in us and subsequent reactions to future events are a result of years of repeated conditioned responses.  Deception involves a person either suppressing or falsifying one or both of those reactions to prevent the person who is the target of their deception from spotting the falsehood.  This alteration of a routine coordinated emotional and cognitive reaction often creates cues of “contradiction.”  A “contradiction” reaction is at the heart of almost every deception cluster.  I recently observed two such “contradiction” reactions and the attempt at deceit was broken by the interviewer focusing on the specific issue being addressed by the subjects.

In both cases, the subjects being interviewed had demonstrated in their CONSTANT that they showed heightened emotional behaviors.  In one case I was asked to “demonstrate” how the Practical Kinesic Interview & InterrogationÆ technique worked in a “staged” interview for a large media network.  I am usually reluctant to do these “parlor tricks” because they rarely work.  An intern was to “lie” to me and so I could show how interviewers catch deception signals.  The second case was during a Level 3 & 4 class held two weeks ago at a prison in Kentucky during our inmate interviews. An inmate was telling about the armed robbery of a fast food restaurant for which he was convicted.

During my conversation with the intern I got him to relate to me an incident that occurred while he was in college.  I noticed that he was very expressive emotionally about the event with a great deal of facial expressions and nonverbal animation.  When I got him to tell me about an event that happen at home regarding his sister, I noticed a marked decrease in his emotional reactions and an increase in his stress cues.  I spotted only one cluster of deception behavior.  The inmate described an armed robbery of a fast restaurant that was allegedly the idea of a buddy he ran with.  The advanced student spotted far more cognitive reaction to the event than he had demonstrated on other issues during the CONSTANT phase conducted by the interviewer.

In both cases the subject deception was broken using the simple “Information Recovery & Credibility Assessment Method”.  By rerunning the timeline of events and asking question regarding problem areas, both the intern AND the inmates’ stories were broken and they admitted the truth.  The intern had tried to tell the story of a friend of his and the inmate had planned and committed the robbery all on his own.

Although the assessment of the cognitive and emotional responses can be identified only after establishing a CONSTANT and are a broader more intuitive type of assessment, following up the topic area by attacking with the information recovery system you will be unable to isolate points of deception in a subject statement.

For more information and a training resource on the Practical Kinesic Information & Credibility Assessmentô tools, see our F.A.C.T. – CD.  This is a four hour computer based video training system that will take you step by step on how you can maximize the narrative portion of your interviews and identify the problem areas that need your attention with more follow-up.

Is It Really Deception Or Am I Being Deceived?

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

If a person moves their eyes to the right when they normally move them to the left, they are lying.  He crossed his legs – it must be a lie.  She was lying  – she couldn’t look me in the eye. You can tell he was lying because he was fidgeting the whole time.  We are exposed to so many urban legends about what are reliable signs of deception from so many supposedly informed or professional sources. How do we know which signs are really reliable deception cues or mere assumptions based on legend and folklore?  One way to be sure is to be sure that what you are being taught meets the “Daubert” challenge.

In a US Supreme Court ruling regarding Daubert vs. Merrell Dow, the court established guidelines for what qualifies as scientific evidence.  The court’s interest was to establish the rule that expert opinion based on a scientific technique is inadmissible unless the technique is “generally accepted” as reliable in the relevant scientific community.  Far too many of the claims made in some interview and interrogation courses about what are reliable human verbal and nonverbal signs of deception will not meet this standard.

The Daubert ruling requires that four main conditions be met as to what will be accepted as expert opinion on scientific evidence. These parallel principles accepted in the scientific community as empirical evidence.  These four court-based requirements in brief state:

Whether the proffered knowledge can be or has been tested empirically, i.e., whether it is ìfalsifiable;î (Has it undergone accepted scientific disciplined testing.)

Whether the theory or technique has been subjected to peer review and publication; (Has it been reviewed by the scientific community and  published in a scientific journal)

Whether, in the case of a particularly scientific technique, the method contains a high known or potential rate of error; (Does the technique used to test the theory have a high rate of accuracy.)

Whether the methodology is generally accepted. (Does the scientific community accept the testing method as reliable and objective)

What we should do as students of interview & interrogation and human behavior is to question claims made by instructors in our academies or classrooms that certain behaviors are signs of truth or deception.  As academy directors and instructors it is time we reviewed our course materials on the topic of interview & interrogation and make sure they meet the Daubert challenge. We should also question whether the claims made by quest or contract instructors meet these same stringent guidelines.  We can either deal with the issue now because in the future our course curriculum will be tested under Daubert’s strict guidelines.

For information about Daubert vs. Merrell Dow and its impact on what is considered expert testimony and scientific evidence, go to