Webinar presenter Sheriff Ray Nash (ret) answered a number of your questions after his presentation, “The 10 Types of Lies.” Here are a few of his responses.
Audience Question: When someone is lying, are they aware of all the techniques we just talked about today? Are they even remotely aware of the fact that we are aware of these categories and we know how to identify them?
Ray Nash: I don’t think so, not most of the time. Some of these people are very polished communicators, some of them are politicians that they have prepared statements that they are using, they are reading from or using as a reference. I think they are thinking carefully how can I craft my sentences so that I am not technically telling a lie but I’m still being deceptive and misleading. They might. I think the average person know, they don’t realize that this is something ingrained into us as human beings. Somehow somewhere this is in our DNA. We’re just programmed this way. We’re hardwired. I tell you one of the fascinating things to me in studying this particular field is how it pops up in TV shows and movies. You could be watching your favorite TV drama and you’ll find these indicators would come up in the script and the way the actors recite their line. In other words, the whole thing’s made up. The whole thing is a lie, it’s a joke. It’s just made up in that sense. It’s not being presented as being true. The actor that knows they’re lying in the script will often show a lot of these characteristics in a way that they deliver their lines. Writers that write the scripts will write some of this into the script itself without realizing that they are doing it. I think they are just writing the way they would talk if they were lying. It has to manifest itself in the shows. It aggravates my family to know that I can solve these mysteries within the opening scenes of the show because the perpetrator is there showing these manifestations and I pick up on it. Sometimes some of your better writers will deliberately mislead you to make it more interesting. It’s just your average joe. It’s a great way to hone your skills — watch your favorite police show or medical show whatever and pick up on these things. When you look at some of these people that are lying and their relations, especially soap operas — it will be a great place to go to refine your inducting skills.
Audience Question: Earlier you mentioned to pay attention to the gaps in the chronology and the potential sign of lying. How do you incorporate the impact of trauma into this for someone who has experienced a significant violent event or traumatic event who often have gaps in their memory or they will be confused about their chronology just because of how our brains operate under stress. How does an interviewer, how do you balance that?
Ray Nash: What a great question because we are not just interviewing suspects, we are also interviewing victims and witnesses, the victims of tremendous traumatic events. That is exactly correct — our brains don’t recall events sequentially. We can remember what order something occurred in but that’s not the way we pull out a memory. That’s why if a truthful person has recounted their story, they tend to jump all around. The fact that they can move forward, they can pick up any point in the narrative because they’re recalling it from memory and they’re accessing their memory at random just like a computer, random access memory. They are accessing these memory points and they are filling these little gaps. Whereas the liar is fabricating it. He’s going to have it memorized in chronological order, makes it difficult to jumping around. Even the person that has been traumatized and has gaps in their memory may not remember all the details but they can still move around the timeline. That’s the way I would assess that. I would see is it just a gap due to trauma, in this case, I would give him credit for that because we all know what that’s like. But can they move around the timeline? That would be the technique that I would use because the liar is not going to be able to do that very effectively. Keep this in mind, this brings up another subpoint is that the person that committed the crime, particularly the more horrendous the crime was, is also experiencing trauma. They will show signs of traumatic stress when they are recounting the event if they were the perpetrator. Particularly if it was something where they killed a loved one or they’ve done some horrific thing to a child, something like that. They all have some of the same signs. That’s why these are good indicators. That is just one indicator. When I’m dealing with a highly traumatic event and there are actually some gaps around the key moments, I may not think too much about that. If it was a theft case or if it was a shoplifting case or it was a drunk driving case or it was a simple assault case. I might be more concerned if it has gaps in it than I would be if it’s a more traumatic case. Use your instincts, you use your training, use your field experience and adapt. That’s a beauty of the IN2 system, is you’re not locked in to do it any one way and get to be flexible.
Audience Question: Is it possible for a trained inductive interviewer to spot lies, missing gaps in real-time or do they normally pick up on those gaps in the timeline after they have a chance to go back, view the recording, start putting pen to paper and documenting things?
Ray Nash: Yeah, of course. You’re going to better at it, you’re doing it after the fact. If you have the ability to go back and review the scenario. You’re looking at the video recording or you’re reading a written statement, it kind of takes your time to plot out the chronology, plot out the timeline. An example I showed you, the times from the child homicide case, on the written statement. When you’re doing it and getting more skilled at it, you’ll realize they have skipped over and they could really big section of the time here. Let’s go back and drill down below the surface. It may not mean that they are guilty. It could just mean that something happened during that time that they don’t want to talk about. It could be something happened that they did not think was significant when they leave it out for one reason or another? This is a good thing when you get into the clarification phase. We discourage this during the narrative phase which is note taking. We discourage notetaking in the narrative phase. When we get into the clarification phase that is the time you pull out a pen and paper and you start to map out the chronology. Okay, when was this first, tell me what happened, this point forward, you are just trying to chronicle this timeline with you all doing the interview. It’s not as difficult as you might think. A trained interviewer is going to be better at it with practice. This is almost kind of almost instinctively begin to pick up all these time gaps. Don’t be afraid to write it down.
Audience Question: Tell us about the effectiveness of this new method. With the inductive interviewing technique, what results are you finding? Are you seeing false confessions go down? Are you seeing people confess faster? What are the results you are initially seeing here in these early days?
Ray Nash: We’re seeing some fantastic results. The Inductive Interview System is new and unique in some ways with the fact that it’s non-linear. I think that it’s not something that nobody’s ever done the interview that way before, maybe we’re just the first ones to put it together into a training model. A lot of the techniques we talked about today has been around for a long time. It’s just the way that we have been able to pull it together into a training program that makes sense. The more directed to the question, we just had lots of confessions in terms of using this technique. Talking about the case this morning resulted in a confession after he’s been denying it for close to ten years. The false confessions definitely go down. That’s something we didn’t touch on today but false confessions are a very real thing. As professionals, we need to be sensitive to it. We make sure we are not using these clever psychological tricks that put immense pressure on the other person who might be the marginal individual to start with. You can actually induce a false confession if you are not careful. Some of these other interviewing techniques that have been out in the market for decades are coming under great scrutiny and they are falling out of favor in terms of being used in law enforcement for that bigger reason. They have proveably resulted in a number of false confessions that forensic technologies around us to prove a lot of the stuff even years later. I pull the cuffs on all you to get the speed on this. If you are going to do this professionally you have to understand what a false confession is. You have to understand what types of techniques will most likely induce a false confession and avoid them. When we do get a confession, make sure that you confirm it. That’s probably the easiest way to avoid a false confession. As soon as the person confesses, let’s confirm it. Let’s make sure that he or she is giving this information only the perpetrator would know. Let’s make sure that he or she is giving us information backed up by forensics, is backed up by the other evidence or witnesses whatever testimony that might be out there. Just because we have a confession or even an admission our job is not done. In many ways, it’s just beginning. Now we got to confirm it. That’s a subject for a whole another webinar there, that’s a great question. We are all seeing some great results and the question you asked about if we are seeing confessions faster, we were on a case the other day where the person is on denial for quite some time. It was a child sexual assault case. We double teamed on this guy, me and a colleague of mine, within probably five minutes we have a full confession. We built rapport, we built a relationship, you diffuse some of the tension. We went right into with the induction technique which in that case was a presumptive question. We kind of have some that in the last session, and Bam! We had a confession in I would say in three to five minutes. Didn’t have to go through all the different phases because there was an opening we went for. Heading back, that there’s another example of a non-linear application — filling in some of the gaps and filling some of the details but we had the confession right out of the gate just by using a simple induction technique called the presumptive question. If I can add one more statement to that, the particular case was how I did it was in the last webinar was that he was accused of having sex with the 13-year-old daughter of his girlfriend multiple and multiple times within a period of a year or so. The presumptive question was how many times did you all have sex that day? That’s called a presumptive question. It is presuming that they, in fact, had sex that day. It might have actually have been, did you all have sex one time just that day. I think that was the presumptive question couple with the minimization did you all just have sex one time that day. The accused thought about it for a second and said, “Yeah it was just one time.” That was a confession. He confessed to doing it one time. One time is enough for a 13-year-old. By the time we are done, he had confessed to doing multiple times.