(Contd from last edition)
- Blink rate
The best way to use this technique effectively is by getting a baseline of the suspect. While newborn babies only blink one to two times a minute, the average blink rate for an adult is four to 14. Any deviation from these could be because of fatigue, disease, medication that causes dryness in the eyes, or anxiety. The blink is a way the eye gets lubrication (aqueous humour).
An increase in the blink rate is a sign of nervousness, which may or may not be as a result of some kind of guilt. A decrease is a sign of cognitive load. Similarly, eye contact decrease or increase means nothing without reference to baseline. It is a common myth that whoever is not able to look at you in the face and respond to a probing question is a liar. Unless you make reference to the baseline of the suspect, you cannot categorically conclude that he or she is guilty.
“Did you rape Victoria Jones two nights ago?” This was the question directed at a suspect and his response was “I did not take advantage of her.” To a layperson or someone without any skill on how to catch a liar, it is easy to gloss over such a statement but several red flags can be seen from that statement.
Anytime a crime suspect tries to give his or her own version, as it were, of a crime in question, using a tone or words that attempt to reduce the gravity, magnitude or the seriousness of the crime being spoken about, then such a gesture may be a deceptive one. Some other examples you can find that may warrant suspicions include the following:
“Did you hit your brother with a cutlass?” “I didn’t hurt him.”
“Did you gossip about me?” “I didn’t say anything bad about you.”
Wife: “Honey, you have forgotten that today is my birthday”.
Husband: “Of course I know. I would be the biggest fool with an incomplete brain as a husband to forget the birthday of a woman so wonderful like you.” Oops! Why such a rain of abusive words at yourself just to prove something? This response appears sincere but the fact is, the words with which the husband describes his ineptitude in this scenario are unnecessarily weighty. It is a red flag of a guilty husband in this context, to say the least.
The qualifying statements used in appreciation of his wife after having abused himself are only compensatory statements to cover up a defect in the relationship with his partner.
In other to apply this technique adequately, you need to pay keen attention to the point at which the suspect deviates from the baseline to utilise any of the closed gestures typical of someone hiding something. That is the real value of this technique. It is a strong nonverbal cue leading to unfolding the hidden secret.
The two common types engaged in are the arm-fold gesture and the hands-in-pockets gesture, as seen in the pictures below.
It is important to note that the use of these gestures do not suggest that a lie is being told, not necessarily. However, it does show some kind of discomfort internally which could be driven by guilt of telling lies. Again, this is reliable only when the baseline considerations have been noted.
Concealment of the hands is seen as a deceptive gesture at the point where there is a deviation from the baseline (hot spot). It means the suspect is holding a piece of information back. However, even though hands restriction can signal deception, do not immediately conclude without a baseline to serve as a benchmark.
Unlike the closed gesture, open arm gestures most times show that the individual is truthful. That is because the nerve connection between the brain and other parts of the body used for expression cannot be compared with that of the hands/arms. This is why the gestures made with the arms cannot be overlooked as they serve as a valuable resource material in getting to know what is on the inside.
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Culled from the book “How to catch a liar without polygraph”
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