What is of special interest with regard to statement analysis?

During training special attention is given to the way in which people normally lie. We do not accept the popular belief that a person's so-called body language is the prime indicator of whether somebody is lying. We rather focus on the verbal behaviour of the person. In this regard the following is important: People prefer to lie by omission or evasion. Lying directly or factually is normally the characteristic of a lie that will be exposed without effort. When examining an unstructured statement or story one needs to be aware of the techniques that may be used during verbal evasion.

One of the favourite methods used by people in this regard is to distance themselves by varying the personal pronoun, e.g. by referring to "us" and "we" instead of "I" and "me". When the person starts off by using the first person, "I" and "me" and then suddenly switches to "we" and "us", the interviewer should immediately take note. The usage of this single technique does not mean that the interviewee is lying but that he is making use of a technique favoured when lying and that the interviewer should therefor become alert to further evasive verbal actions.

Another favourite method used is to keep the statement very short, for example in reply to the question: "What did you do yesterday", the person would simply reply: "I listened to the radio". It should be apparent that it is highly unlikely that the only thing one did during the course of a whole day was to listen to the radio. This does not mean that the person is lying, but merely that his or her reply or statement does not answer the question completely.


Go to the Start page of Forensic Interviewing.