Authors: Philip Houston,Michael Floyd,Susan Carnicero
– A cognitive bias in which people search for or interpret information in a way that supports an initial belief or a desired outcome.
– A true or irrefutable statement made in an effort to convince the accuser and to influence his perception, rather than to convey information that addresses the facts of the case.
– A category of verbal deceptive behavior in which a person appears to have a problem with denying an allegation. This can take the form of failing to deny the allegation altogether; providing a nonspecific denial (Example: “I would never do something like that”); or providing an isolated delivery of the denial by burying it in a long-winded answer.
Direct observation of concern (DOC)
– A transition statement that lies at the low end of the confidence spectrum.
Direct observation of guilt (DOG)
– A transition statement that lies at the high end of the confidence spectrum.
– A process designed to influence or persuade an individual to reveal information that he has reason to want to conceal. This process is characterized by use of a monologue rather than a dialogue. (Used synonymously with
– A term used to describe the legal process of dividing a married couple’s assets in a divorce proceeding.
– A verbal deceptive behavior used to enable a person who wants to withhold certain information to answer a question truthfully, but without releasing that information. Examples: “basically,” “for the most part,” “fundamentally,” “probably,” “most often.”
Failure to answer
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which a person’s response does not answer the question that’s asked.
Failure to understand a simple question
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which a person’s response is an expression of confusion over an easily comprehensible question. This strategy is typically used when a person feels trapped by the wording of the question and needs to shrink its scope.
– A triggering of the autonomic nervous system that reroutes circulation to the body’s major organs and muscle groups to prepare the body to deal with a threatening situation.
– A cognitive bias named for psychologist Bertram Forer, who found that people tend to rate as highly accurate a personality analysis that is presented as being individualized, when it is actually so general in nature that it could apply to almost anyone. (Also known as Barnum statements.)
Global behavior assessment
– A behavior assessment strategy that focuses on maximizing information collection and analyzing general behavior, rather than focusing on specific behaviors exhibited in response to a question.
– A nonverbal deceptive behavior in which anxiety is dissipated through physical activity in the form of grooming oneself or the immediate surroundings.
– A cognitive bias in which a person is viewed favorably on the basis of a single positive attribute or impression.
– A nonverbal deceptive behavior in which a person touches his face or head region in response to a question, which can be prompted by discomfort associated with circulatory changes triggered by the fight-or-flight response.
Hiding mouth or eyes
– A nonverbal deceptive behavior in which a person uses a hand to shield his mouth or eyes when responding to a question, or closes his eyes when responding to a question that does not require reflection.
– The ability to shift one’s thinking instantaneously as the situation warrants.
Inappropriate level of concern
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which a person attempts to equalize the exchange by trying to diminish the importance of the matter at hand. He may focus on either the issue or the process (Example: “Why is everybody making such a big deal about this?”); or he might even attempt to joke about it.
Inappropriate level of politeness
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which a person interjects an overly polite or unexpectedly kind or complimentary comment directed at the questioner when responding to a question. Example: Uncharacteristic use of “sir” or “ma’am” when responding to a particular question.
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which a person responds with a question that doesn’t directly relate to the question that’s asked.
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which a person makes a statement that is inconsistent with what he said previously, without explaining why the story has changed.
– A means of establishing a dialogue with a person to collect information that he has no reason to want to withhold.
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which a person makes a reference to God or religion as a means of “dressing up the lie” before presenting it. Example: “I swear on a stack of Bibles, I wouldn’t do anything like that.”
– A question that contains the answer that the questioner is looking for.
– A statement within a monologue that is designed to explain the purpose or reasoning behind what the interrogator is conveying.
Lie of commission
– A lie that is conveyed by means of making a statement that is untrue.
Lie of influence
– A lie that is conveyed by means of attempting to manipulate perception rather than to provide truthful information.
Lie of omission
– A lie that is conveyed by means of withholding the truth.
– Using one’s visual and auditory senses to
simultaneously in order to observe both verbal and nonverbal deceptive behaviors as they’re exhibited in response to a question.
– A split-second movement of facial muscles that conveys an emotion such as anger, contempt, or disgust. We recommend avoiding reliance on microexpressions, due to their impracticality and the fact that there is no microexpression for deception.
– A colloquial term for the psychological discomfort a person feels when he receives information that has potentially negative consequences, causing his mind to race with hypothetical ramifications of the information.
– An element within a monologue that is designed to minimize the perception of negative consequences that may be associated with sharing truthful information.
– Subtly imitating the movements or gestures of another person to enhance familiarity and liking.
– A verbal exercise that characterizes the elicitation process, designed to keep the person in short-term thinking mode, dissuade him from expressing resistance or voicing a denial, and convince him of the acceptability of disclosing the information he had intended to withhold.
– A question that is phrased in a way that negates an action. This question type is to be avoided because it conveys an expectation of a response that potentially lets the person off the hook. Example: “You didn’t flirt with her, did you?”
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which a person responds to a question with a statement that does not answer the question, but rather buys him time to formulate a response that he hopes will satisfy the questioner. Example: “That’s a very good question.”
Nonverbal deceptive indicator
– A deceptive behavior that is exhibited in response to a question and that does not involve verbal communication.
– A question that is asked as a means of establishing the basis for a discussion or to probe an issue. Example: “What were you doing in Las Vegas when you were supposed to be visiting your mother in Tampa?”
– A question that solicits a person’s opinion as a means of assessing his likely culpability in a given situation. The “punishment question” falls into this category. Example: “What do you think should happen to a person who dines in a restaurant and leaves without paying?”
– A cognitive bias that causes people to believe that they are less at risk of a negative outcome, or more likely to enjoy a positive outcome, than other people in a given situation.
Overly specific answer
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which the person’s response is too narrow and technical at one extreme, or too detailed and exhaustive at the other.
– A verbal deceptive behavior employed to enhance credibility. Examples: “frankly,” “to be perfectly honest,” “candidly.”
– A question that presumes something to be the case.
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which a person takes issue with the proceedings. It may be a delaying tactic or an attempt to steer the proceedings down a different path.
Projection of blame
– An element of a monologue that is designed to encourage a person to share truthful information by suggesting that the blame for the matter at hand does not rest exclusively with him.
– An attempt to deceive through the use of selective memory or ostensibly limited knowledge.
– The condition in which a person feels compelled to dig his heels in the ground and stick to his story, making the information collection process especially difficult.
– A short, narrative explanation preceding a question that is designed to prime the information pump, so that if the person is on the fence about whether or not he’s going to give you something, it will help to influence him to come down on your side of the fence.
– An element of a monologue that is designed to encourage a person to share truthful information by suggesting that there is a socially acceptable reason that to some degree might excuse the activity under investigation.
– A term used by social psychologists to describe the tendency of people to respond to a kind act or concession with kindness and conciliation, or, conversely, to an unkind act with comparable unkindness.
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which a person refers to a previous response to the question. This takes advantage of repetition as a psychological tool that can make the questioner more open to a possibility than he otherwise might have been.
Reluctance/refusal to answer
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which a person claims to be unable to answer the question, ostensibly due to a lack of knowledge or to being the wrong person to ask.
Repeating the question
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which a person repeats the question he’s asked as a means of buying time to formulate his response.
– A verbal deceptive behavior in which a person creates a psychological alibi by responding to a question with a stated inability to remember.
– Focusing on what matters at the moment, rather than on potential consequences over the long term.
– An element of a monologue that is designed to encourage a person to share truthful information by suggesting that the activity under investigation is one that is regularly engaged in by others.
– The question that prompts a behavioral response.
– A nonverbal deceptive behavior in which a person clears his throat or performs a significant swallow prior to answering the question.
– The guideline in our deception detection model dictating that the initial deceptive behavior must begin within the first five seconds after the stimulus.
– Statement made by the questioner to allow for a transparent transition from an interview to an interrogation. It is the first sentence or two of the monologue, and takes the form of a direct observation of concern (DOC) or a direct observation of guilt (DOG).
– A truthful statement made by a deceptive person that, when the literal meaning of the statement is analyzed, conveys information that the person does not realize he’s conveying. We also refer to this as “truth in the lie.”
– A question to be avoided because it allows for excessive latitude in the response.
Verbal deceptive indicator
– A deceptive behavior that involves verbal communication in response to a question.
– A deceptive behavior in which a person’s verbal and nonverbal behaviors in response to a question don’t match. The most common verbal/nonverbal disconnect occurs when a person nods affirmatively while saying “no,” or turns his head from side to side while saying “yes.”
At the launch of our previous book,
Spy the Lie
, in the summer of 2012, our agent, Paul Fedorko, came up to us and smiled. “Congratulations,” he said. “You know you need to start thinking about the next one, right?”
A master at his craft, Paul foresaw that
Spy the Lie
would be a bestseller, and he was already preparing us for the road that lay ahead. We’re deeply grateful to Paul and his team at N.S. Bienstock for giving us that encouraging push out of the gate, and for expertly guiding our steps along the way.