Can you spot a liar? Most people believe they can and yet, so few are put up to the task.
My motto is: “People behave the way they write and say exactly what they mean”. ™
In my blogs regarding handwriting, I explain why handwriting analysis works and point toward it’s limitations as well.
People have differing motivations to be willfully deceptive. One can be socially sensitive and a child continues to believe in Santa Claus. Other times deception is to protect, either oneself or someone else.
In general, we do not outright lie because lies are verifiable. Secondly, the speaker does not know what the listener already knows which makes the speaker nervous. This results in behaviors like fidgeting and the liar feels exposed. We prefer to tell the truth yet leave out critical information.
Word selection and sentence construction are very good indicators revealing a speaker’s perspective. Casey Anthony spoke with a 911 operator in 2008. Casey is the mother of Caylee Anthony who was missing for a month. Of course, today we know Caylee has passed on and Casey was found not guilty.
911: Hi. What can you … can you tell me what’s going on a little bit?
CA: I’m sorry?
911: Can you tell me a little bit what’s going on?
Casey (CA) answers the question with a question. It is a stalling technique to buy time to think. In general, people are evasive and stall when the subject matter is sensitive to them.
CA: My daughter has been missing for the last 31 days.
911: And you know who has her?
CA: I know who has her. I’ve tried to contact her.
Casey states “I know who has her” and that is a truthful statement with deception potential. Critical information left out could be e.g. that the “who” is Casey herself.
If I say “I tried to go to the grocery store”, you would interpret that as “I did not go”. “I’ve tried to contact her” implies she did not contact her. Whether attempts were made is not clear.
Casey: I actually received a phone call today. Now from a number that is no longer in service.
The word “actually” is unnecessary and is added to emphasize where no emphasis is needed. Such words fall in the category “thou protests too much”. Question is: Why did Casey feel the need to emphasize ? In general, a speaker emphasizes in order convince others. Why the need to convince when telling the truth? Casey continues to state “the number is no longer in service” and basically adds that the number can no longer be reached which all happened on the very same day. How convenient.
Casey: I did get to speak to my daughter for about a moment. About a minute.
Again we see unnecessary words. When someone speaks from the perspective of an experience and from memory, in general, sentences are short when spoken truthfully. This would be more believable: “I spoke with my daughter for about a minute”. Casey stumbled over her words as she does not know exactly what to say because there is no such memory.
Casey was arrested the following day (July 16,2008)and made recorded phone calls from prison. In one of these calls she stated :
That I have no clue where my daughter is? Yes, that is the truth, that is the absolute truth.
Again, she bought time with a question. The words “no clue” is curious. After all, she did say the day before: “I know who has her” and that is more than a clue. Someone who recalls an experience accurately would not make such contrasting statements. Again, she emphasizes to convince by repeating the word “truth” and using the word “absolute”.
Casey’s father, George Anthony, had his suspicions and his written PD statement reveals that:
We read in his PD statement that he refers to Caylee, Cindy and Lee with a family link (my grand daughter, my spouse, my son). The word “my” is a strong statement of ownership. The lack of “my daughter” when talking about Casey implies “she is not mine” and George distanced himself from Casey.
A father would only be suspicious if he knew by experience that Casey was capable of odd and unacceptable behaviors. His question was at that time "what did she do?" instead of "who did this?"
In sum: “People say exactly what they mean” and words portray perspectives. At times, word selections seem innocent enough, however, there is a world of meaning behind them.
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Marcel is a Trial Run Master Profiler ™ through handwriting and statement analysis.
Click for my follow up on the Anthony's family dynamics. Did Cindy reveal that she knew back in 2008 what happened?
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