How well do you mask lies?
Single or multiple submissions welcome. Make it a contest! Get your office involved. Assign yourself a 5-digit code to be placed on your writing sample. No identifying information please.
Instructions: Please write 4 paragraphs per the below instructions. You may print or write cursive on lined or unlined paper, and it does not matter if you write with a pen or pencil. Scan or photograph your completed statements and email or text them (with your 5-digit code) to: Michelle@MindSleuth.us or (800) 910-0270s. Results with 5-digit codes will be published on Facebook and in the Spring issue of eliteinvestigativejournal.com
PARAGRAPH #1– Copy the following paragraph.
I was asked to write an article about bitcoins. The editor will contact me with needed edits prior to publishing my article. The compensation will be in virtual dollars.
In 3 or more sentences, state your sex, age, your favorite pastime, and why you enjoy this pastime.
In 3 or more sentences, write about your dream vacation, as if you just returned from a week of rest and relaxation. Be creative! But, remember, you must have never experienced this vacation.
In 3 or more sentences, write about an incident which never occurred.
Thank you for your participation!
Dr. Michelle Doscher
How do you get out of an uncomfortable situation without telling a bold-faced lie? You commit the act of paltering, deceiving while making truthful statements. Interrogators refer to paltering as acts of omission. Damaging information is not mentioned. Only truthful statements are produced; therefore, avoiding the act of fabricating a cover-up story.
So, in your playbook of schema, how does paltering affect behavior? Mimicking a template or following a social framework is easy if cognitive load is not involved. Paltering, however, requires the “sender” to plan and project only truthful emotions and messages, creating cognitive dissonance, a.k.a. mental stress. To the untrained person, paltering is rarely identified as deception, since we typically “want” to hear the truth.
“Yes. _______. Is that you? Are you OK?”
“I’m in New York and I am in a bit of trouble. I need some cash, Grandpa. Can you help me?”….
This is only one of several disturbing phone calls that are circulating. The phone numbers’ area codes always match the area from which the caller is supposedly calling.
How do we protect our vulnerable? When my boys were toddlers, I assigned them a family password. The password was our secret code and a quick way of assessing the boys’ safety. We rehearsed the password until it was second-nature. The password was fun and easy for a toddler to remember. Better yet, it was even harder for a teen or young adult to forget! We never had to use the password while the boys were young.
However, the password was recently used when the boys’ grandfather received a harried phone call and needed reassurance the young men were safe and sound. A one-word response to a text, email, or phone call is all the peace of mind needed sometimes.
Cognitive interviews are often preferred because of the explicit information attained. An interviewer will typically focus on temporal and spatial questions to elicit this information. So, once your interviewee’s descriptive verbiage begins, how do you know if you are receiving completely accurate information?
Ramp up the cognitive load and the verbal and nonverbal deceptive cues will emerge! Whoa, not so fast. What if your interviewee is completely comfortable telling tall tales? Requesting temporal and spatial details may not trigger extra cognitive load. They may rely on
established schema or rehearsed scenarios to dilute the effects of extra mental strain.
However, splitting their attention may do the trick. Diverge from maintaining eye contact and flip flop around with questions that do not seem to follow a normal sequence. This split-attention effect will make relying on schema more difficult and “new” scenarios will need to be created, for those interviewees with deceptive tendencies. In turn, cognitive load will be induced and deceptive cues will emerge.
What about interviewees telling the truth? This technique will also induce mental strain, but most truth tellers usually respond to cognitive load with less descriptive and shorter answers. If they receive positive feedback from the interviewer, the cognitive load will also be lessened. Unlike the deceptive interviewee, the truthful interviewee is not pressured to monitor feedback, verbiage, and possible deceptive cues.
Anyone who has ever testified in court as a witness has sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. Does this mean all testimonies given in a court of law are 100% truthful? Well, the intent is usually to tell the truth, but testimonies sometimes turn and go down a slippery slope. Honorable intentions are not necessarily impervious to deception. Knowing the difference between deception and a lie is a good place to start.
During the art of persuasion, deception may interject by way of fabrications, exaggerations, omission of details, misleading information, or speculation. Lies, on the other hand, are intentional falsifications. Think of a mountain with steep north and south sides, and sloping east and west sides. Denials are deliberate falsifications or lies, located on the opposite, steep side of the mountain, from truthful statements. Fabricated statements may contain both truthful and false elements; therefore, placing fabrications on the sloping east/west sides of the mountain.
A person can begin a testimony on the truthful side of the mountain and easily move to the steep east or west sides of deception, by using speculation, omission, misleading, and exaggeration (S.O.M.E.) of details or wording. As an expert witness, be careful not to accidentally slip.