What’s in Your Playbook?

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.

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The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

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.

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