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  1. #1

    Default How to Catch a Liar: The Cognitive Clues to Deceit

    I thought this article was particularly applicable to the Ramsey case. It's too bad investigators didn't use some of the techniques described by the author to interview Patsy and John instead of letting them "hem and haw" through their conflicting stories, or letting the questioning be interrupted at critical times.


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wray-h..._b_844962.html

    How to Catch a Liar: The Cognitive Clues to Deceit

    by Wray Herbert
    Posted: 04/12/11 08:56 AM ET

    One of my guilty pleasures is the long-running TV show "NCIS," a drama focused on the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The hero is Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, a former Marine and disciplined detective with an uncanny ability to observe and interrogate criminal suspects. He doesn't say much or display much emotion in the interrogation room -- indeed, his cool demeanor is his trademark -- yet he is a keen lie-spotter.

    Psychological scientists are fascinated by real-life versions of the fictional Gibbs. Detecting lies and liars is essential to effective policing and prosecution of criminals, but it's maddeningly difficult. Most of us can spot barely more than half of all lies and truths through listening and observation -- meaning, of course, that we're wrong almost as often as we're right. A half-century of research has done little to polish this unimpressive track record.

    But scientists are still working to improve on that, and among them is cognitive psychologist Aldert Vrij of the University of Portsmouth, in the U.K. Vrij has been using a key insight from his field to improve interrogation methods: The human mind, despite its impressive abilities, has limited capacity for how much thinking it can handle at any one time. So demanding additional, simultaneous thought -- adding to cognitive "load" -- compromises normal information processing. What's more, lying is more cognitively demanding than telling the truth, so these compromised abilities should show up in detectable behavioral clues.

    [snip]

    One intriguing strategy is to demand that suspects tell their stories in reverse. Narrating backward increases cognitive load because it runs counter to the natural forward sequencing of events. It also disrupts the normal reconstruction of past events using mental schemas, which give coherence to isolated events.

    [snip]

    Another strategy for increasing liars' cognitive burden is to insist that suspects maintain eye contact. When people have to concentrate on telling their story accurately -- which liars must, more than truth-tellers -- they typically look away to some motionless point, rather than directly at the conversation partner. That's because keeping eye contact is distracting, and makes narration more difficult. Vrij also tested this strategy in the lab, and again observers detected more clues to deceit in those who were required to look the interrogator in the eyes.

    [snip]

    (Read the entire article at link provided.)
    Last edited by Cherokee; April 21, 2011, 9:53 am at Thu Apr 21 9:53:13 UTC 2011.

  2. #2

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    Thanks for posting this, Chero. In the 14+ years since this murder, they've come a long way in investigative techniques, haven't they?

    Unfortunately, DA Hunter never wanted the Ramseys' lies detected, IMO. That's why he put Smit on John and didn't even bother to concentrate on watching the interviews, taking cell phone calls, according to Thomas.

    Also why Hunter obstructed the investigation and acted like he was investigating the hijinks at a frat house. :tipsy:

    "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos declared the letter a 'reckless exoneration.' He went on to state, 'Everyone knows that relative immunity from criminal conviction is something money can buy.
    Apparently another thing it can buy is an apology for even being suspected of a crime you probably already would have been convicted of committing if you happened to be poor.'"
    FF: WRKJB?

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  3. #3
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    Red face

    Very interesting, Chero. I bet it might not be too late if someone with a hard nosed attitude tried to question John using these techniques. But here I have to ask the question once again, Why? Why all the bumbling around because of John Ramsey. Who the hell was he that he should have been given all of this prissy passey type of wash over. Why him? I still don't get it.
    "When are we going to get our heads out of the sand and understand that sometimes really nice people who look good on the outside are dastardly on the inside." Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, MA

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by zoomama View Post
    Very interesting, Chero. I bet it might not be too late if someone with a hard nosed attitude tried to question John using these techniques. But here I have to ask the question once again, Why? Why all the bumbling around because of John Ramsey. Who the hell was he that he should have been given all of this prissy passey type of wash over. Why him? I still don't get it.
    Good point zoomama.

    Also because John and Patsy did everything in the world to avoid an interview with authorities until a lot of time passed. If the Ramseys had been interviewed immediately I think the truth would have been revealed.

    Wonder what Gibbs thinks of suspects hiring PR people within a week of their daughter's murder? Why would the innocent do such a thing?

  5. #5
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    Default

    Very interesting article, Cherokee. Thank you for posting it! I have watched NCIS for years. Just love Mark Harmon.

    Narrating backwards!? That would be difficult!
    elle: The RST can't handle the truth!
    Just my opinion.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for this interesting article, Cherokee.

    It made me think of something. With these new PET scanners, they are delving into the brain more and more. They can determine which part of the brain becomes more active when a person does certain things, thinks of certain things, e.g., pleasurable thoughts, etc.

    I wonder if these can ever be used to determine whether or not a person is lying?



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