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interrogation methods

Too Many Choices – Creating Frustration in Interrogation

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

If given the time, we could probably come up with a number of reasons a suspect won’t confess, a hostile witness won’t cooperate or why the victim won’t disclose.  If we then reviewed our “list” objectively we might find that we have placed a large portion of the blame on our subject and were partially if not fully blind to any problems we may have created.  It’s time to give ourselves and our subject a break.  The impasse may in fact have been created because of there being too many choices to be made by us and our subject.

All too often when entering an interview room, we like to go in “armed to the teeth” with information and facts.  Being fully loaded with evidence is certainly not a bad thing but how we choose to present that information can be a handicap for the interviewer as well as the subject.  With some many choices to make about what topics to address, how to address them, what order and more, we get caught up in the “planning” and can bungle the “presentation.” Because we have too many choices to make we may see a successful interview as a long and difficult campaign with no assurance of success and even a higher probability of early failure.  To overcome this problem, try dealing with and presenting only one issue at a time and strive to win small battles and not the whole “war” with one big “atomic” question that tries to incorporate multiple issues.  You’ll find you’ll be able to focus more on your subject, miss fewer of the important responses and increase your chances of overall success.

Far too many choices presented to the victim, witness or suspect also has a higher probability of negative outcome.  Contrary to common belief, it is known in the sales profession too many choices presented to the customer kills more sales than they make and the same behavior response applies to the interview room.  Asking for agreement or concession from your subject on several issues at once makes the ultimate decision by the subject much more difficult.  When we increase the difficulty of the decision making cycle for our subject, the longer it will take for the person to make their decision to comply, cooperate or confess. The longer the decision-making cycle is extended for our subject, the greater the chance that the results of the decision process will be negative and thus harder for us to reverse and overcome.

Review your case before you conduct your interview. Break down the case interview objectives into smaller more manageable tasks and move toward your goals of cooperation, compliance and admission by winning small victories by reducing the choices to be made at any one time.  You’ll improve your chances of a successful interview.

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.