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Corporate Security

2 T R A P

Deception detection uncovered: Truth seeking through interrogation The Role of your Body in Eliciting Truth

I By Sophie Zadeh Body Language Specialist

n part one of this article, in the previous issue of Australian Security Magazine, we looked at three nonverbal behavioural cues that can alert us to potential issues when observed in a suspect during interrogation. We looked at the meaning of the one sided shoulder shrug, the eyelid flutter and the tongue jut. You will have observed these nonverbal cues throughout life as they are relatively common, especially the one sided shoulder shrug. However, they probably didn’t register consciously, unless you were already aware of their meaning and significance. In context they can be very telling of a person’s true feelings or intentions. They are reliable indicators that can be instrumental in leading to the truth. If you read part one of this article, Identifying Nonverbal Cues, Clues to Dig Deeper, did you manage to observe any of these nonverbal cues, once you understood their meaning? Did this lead you to discover anything significant? Let me reiterate that these cues act only as red flags, indicating areas in which we may need to dig deeper and not as indicators of deception, since there is no ‘Pinocchio’s nose’ of deception; no single cue indicative of deception. How these red flags are addressed through questioning techniques and behaviour (of the investigator), is key to seeking the truth. Let’s explore the second component crucial to uncovering the truth; the role of your body in eliciting the truth. Fostering Feelings of Comfort Our own nonverbal signals have an impact on how successful we are in seeking the truth. Before looking at what we should convey with our body, let’s first consider this:

22 | Australian Security Magazine

“Astonishingly, more than 1 out of 4 people wrongfully convicted but later exonerated by DNA evidence made a false confession or incriminating statement.” — The Innocence Project That’s a staggering statistic, with most suggested reasons for this pointing towards extreme interrogation techniques and conditions. A false confession feels like an easy way out for the suspect. One that will put an end to the situational discomfort. If we also consider that most nonverbal cues associated with lying are actually indicators of stress (and not lying), it makes sense that an environment conducive to seeking the truth, is one in which conditions that could cause (additional) stress are limited. When a suspect feels more comfortable, we will see an increase in nonverbal cues that indicate stress, only at those times when their stress levels peak; potentially, but not always, when they are lying. On the other hand, if the suspect is under constant high pressure, these cues will be increased throughout the interrogation, making it harder to see the indicators that are important. So being aggressive, just doesn’t work. The discomfort of a criminal investigation is not limited to the suspect. When faced with a suspect who has (potentially) harmed others, the interrogator will, most likely, feel some kind of negative emotions stemming from the criminal act. It’s important to minimise these emotions and display body language that shows openness and trust, fostering an environment of comfort. A ‘true’ confession is more likely to be delivered to an interrogator who has built rapport with the suspect, in the same way that a salesman is more likely to get a sale from someone he has built rapport with.

Profile for Asia Pacific Security Magazine

Australian Security Magazine, Oct/Nov 2016  

The Australian Security Magazine is the country’s leading government and corporate security magazine. It is published bi-monthly and is dist...

Australian Security Magazine, Oct/Nov 2016  

The Australian Security Magazine is the country’s leading government and corporate security magazine. It is published bi-monthly and is dist...

Profile for apsm