Research has shown, over the years, that many pharmaceutical organisations and community pharmacies that have hit the rocks or are gradually becoming a shadow of their former glory got entangled with a “virus” called deception. Quite a number of establishments, big conglomerates, multinationals and highly successful organisations with a track record of consistent growth year on year have dovetailed in productivity, while some have folded up, simply because of the infiltration of deception.
The situation is even worse at this time of COVID. Many individuals, out of the frustration, confusion and depression ushered in by the pandemic, have been pushed into desperation which has made deception a viable option, even in organisational settings, leading cracks. The reason for this is not really because there are no systems in place to serve as checks, but because those checks (human or electronic ) are either not upgraded to pick deception cues or cannot identify them at all because, let’s face it, humans are complex beings. We are not unlikely to get to a point where newer tools or techniques will be irrelevant in helping to unravel the mystery around human behaviour.
Unless and until there is some form of “immunisation” against this menace, every organisation or establishment is at risk of incalculable damages and losses with respect to investments, lives and properties from human errors.
In the last edition I did say we shall be examining some of the tools that can be leveraged in bursting liars. Again, I need to stress that these tools do not discriminate between members of staff or friends or spouses; so being circumspect may not be out of place as regards their deployment at the home front. The key to deception detection is being acutely “observant,” says Janine Driver.
This is arguably the most powerful technique used by deception experts. This is because establishing a person’s baseline behaviour is essential to allowing us determine when there is a deviation from the default behaviour. It involves observing and taking note of the verbal and non-verbal gestures that are part of the general demeanor and the social norms of the individual. It is also called Norming. It’s the basic behavioural pattern under normal stress conditions.
For example, if a member of staff is known for his comic relief every single working day, the day he does not appear this way a question should be raised. Baselining is what separates a professional deception expert from the mediocre. If you do not get a baseline, everything you do from that moment is in error, just like building a skyscraper on a foundation that is shallow.
Generally, investigators during interrogatory sessions, do what we call priming. This helps the suspect to become relaxed in order for them to get a good baseline. Typically, they ask sundry questions not related to the criminal investigation. They ask such private question as “What is your best colour?” or “What is your best T.V programme (or movie star)”? etc. While asking these questions, they pay keen attention to the way and manner of response of the suspect.
Some times, the sessions are recorded in order to be afforded the opportunity of playing back the interview and scrutinise for deception gestures. The moment the suspect adjusts his body language as a deviation from the norm after a probing question is asked signals a need for more attentiveness because the truth is somewhere around the corner.
- Monosyllabic responses
This is of great importance, especially when a suspect is asked an open-ended question, using open ended words such as “what”, “who”, “when”, “why” and “how”. Naturally, it is unlikely that anyone answers an open ended question with a “yes” or “no”. So, when a person responds in a short abrupt manner, using words like “yep”, “nope”, “yeah”, “no”, “yes”, two things are involved. It is either he or she is impatient and does not really have the luxury of time for any form of engagements with you or he or she is withholding information that may be implicating. When someone is miserly with his or her responses to a question or query, something is definitely fishy, provided that the baseline considerations have been sorted.
Please note as a rule that this principle or technique works best after you have obtained a baseline. As a caution, the fact that someone who you consider as a healthy conversationist starts using monosyllabic words despite asking him or her open-ended questions does not necessarily mean that the person is lying. However, it does imply that he or she is holding back information that may be of relevance to you.
All you need from this is that, there is smoke somewhere and the fire will soon be found. Don’t miss the next edition.
(Culled from the book “How to catch a liar without polygraph”)
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