Statement analysis

Statement analysis

Statement Analysis is a learned technique, utilised to examine a person's words todetect for concealed information, missing information and whether the information that person provided is true or false. Anytime someone who is lying or withholding sensitive information, their words will betray them.

When people speak, they give out far more information than they realize. Deliberate omission of facts, or manipulation of facts will affect the way in which a person usually uses language. The trained analyst will detect misuse and lack of pronouns and abuse of the general rules of Statement Analysis. These rules dictate how people respond (verbally) similarly in given situations and how to identify 'sensitive' parts of peoples information provided.

Statement Analysis is used by criminal psychologists, investigators & lie-detection examiners to detect for truth or deception in a persons oral and written statements.

Foundation Concepts

The Statement Analysis techniques are based on FOUR fundamental concepts:

Everyone has an innate desire to talk. (to give their information).

Everyone is born honest by default.

Everyone has an innate desire to tell the truth.

It is not easy to lie. Lying conflicts with our default programming.

Word Definitions

The majority of the Statement Analysis techniques are based on word definitions. Every word that the a person says, has a specific meaning. When you combine this with the fact that people mean exactly what they are saying, it then becomes possible to determine if the person is being truthful or deceptive. Every persons reality is reflected inside their statements or stories. If somethings (facts, nouns, timing) changed in their statements, then something changed in their reality. Nothing is coincidental.

In August 1998, President Bill Clinton testified before a federal grand Jury that was assembled for independent counsel Kenneth Starr who was investigating the president's relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Earlier that year the president testified under oath in a deposition in the Paula Jones litigation. The independent counsel believed that the president had lied about his relationship with Miss. Lewinsky during the deposition. Therefore, during his grand jury testimony the independent counsel questioned the president about his understanding of taking an oath to tell the truth. This led the president to make the following statement.“Well, no one read me a definition then and we didn't go through this exercise then. I swore an oath to tell the truth, and I believed I was bound to be truthful and I tried to be.” [1] The president stated, “I was bound to be truthful and I tried to be.” The word "tried" means attempted to do so, but didn't do so. President Clinton was clearly telling the independent counsel that he was not truthful in his Paula Jones deposition. He attempted but failed to tell the whole truth. Most people familiar with the investigation would agree President Clinton lied about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky during his January 1998 deposition.

President Clinton was asked by a reporter, "Did you have sex with Gennifer Flowers?" and he replied, "I'm so tired of that question". This is considered to be question avoidance. The president did not lie; he did not answer the question.

On another occasion, President Clinton was asked by another reporter, "Did you ever smoke marijuana?" to which he replied, "I never broke the laws of my country". The reporter then asked, "Did you ever break the laws of any other country?", to which President Clinton replied, "..Yes, but I never inhaled". When he was kept on the hook, he eventually answered the first question with his second response.Ted Haggard is the founder and former pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. On November 3, 2006, he resigned as the pastor of his church due to allegations made by Mike Jones a former prostitute. Jones claimed that he had engaged in sex with Haggard who went by the name Art. Shortly after Mike Jones made his accusations television station KUSA 9NEWS in Denver, Colorado interviewed Ted Haggard outside of his home on November 1, 2006. The reporter asked Haggard if he had “any kind of gay relationship at all?” In his answer, Haggard made the following statement."I, I've never had a gay relationship with anybody and I, I'm steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife." [2] In his answer, Haggard used the word "never." The word “never” is unique because it is a negative word that gives the impression the person has answered the question with a “no.” However, the word "never" does not mean "no." Therefore, you cannot substitute the word "never" for the word "no." Because Haggard did not answer the question with a "no" this would be an indication he did have a gay relationship. When a question is posed requiring a simple 'Yes' or 'No', only YES or NO is satisfactory. anything else is possibly deceptive.On November 5, 2006, a letter from Ted Haaggard was read to his congregation. In his letter, Haggard stated,"The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality...I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring about it for my entire life...Please forgive my accuser. He is revealing the deception and sensuality that was in my life." [3] In February 2007, the reported “The Rev. Ted Haggard emerged from three weeks of intensive counselling convinced he is ‘completely heterosexual’ and told an oversight board that his sexual contact with men was limited to his accuser.” [4] There is a high probability that Ted Haggard did engage in a homosexual relationship. This was evident from his very first statements in which he used the word “never” instead of the word “no.”

Past Tense

A portion of the Statement Analysis techniques is based on the rules of grammar. For example, if a person is describing an incident that occurred, it can only be in the past and therefore he is required to use past tense format. It does not matter if it occurred 10 minutes ago or 10 years ago, the person must describe the incident speaking in the past tense. Deceptive people who are making up a story will sometimes use present tense language. This is because they are not searching their memory and thinking about what happened but are presently making up the story. Consider the following statement.

"I was sitting in my car when a man walked up to my window. He points a gun at me and tells me to move over."

The subject starts out using past tense language, "I was sitting" "a man walked up." However, the subject then switches to present tense language, "He points a gun at me and tells me to move over." If this was a truthful story, the subject would have said, "He pointed a gun at me and told me to move over."

Pronouns & Adjectives

Another grammar technique has to do with articles. The articles "a" and "an" are used to identify someone or something that has not been previously recognized. The article "the" is used to identify someone or something that has already been recognized. Consider the following statement from an alleged kidnapping. The example below is in a case where the subject had not yet mentioned the man or the car previously in his statement / story.

"A man pointed a gun at me and told me to get in the car."

"A man pointed a gun at me." This is a proper introduction of the man and the gun since the subject allegedly does not know this person and has never seen this gun before. However, we have a problem with the last part of the statement "and told me to get in the car." By calling it "the car" the subject either recognizes the car or the subject is lying and making up the story. If this was a truthful story and the person did not recognize the car, the subject would have said, "and told me to get in a car."

However, if the subject had already alluded to the fact that there was a car present in the vicinity, then it would be acceptable for him to refer to 'the car'.


Another portion of the Statement Analysis techniques is based on research that has been conducted on truthful and deceptive statements. For example, it has been found that deceptive people will try to convince you they are telling you the truth. Studies have shown that they will sometimes do this by using phrases such as "I swear to God" "I swear on my mother's grave" "Honest to God" "Honestly" as well as several other phrases.On July 22, 1995, Al Davis, the owner of the Los Angeles Raiders, was asked if he was going to move his football team back to Oakland, CA. In his response, Al Davis made the following comment."I don't know what's going on, so help me God." [5] The very next day Al Davis signed the paperwork for the team to move back to Oakland! Al Davis knew what was going on and we know he knew what was going on because of the phrase "so help me God."With a word of caution, it does not follow that anyone who uses the phrase, "So help me God" or any other suffix, is automatically lying.

When deceptive people have to come up with a number they may often choose the number three such as, "There were three men that attacked me." or “They stole $300 from my purse.”If a person does not know the exact number, he may choose the number “three.” We saw this with Al Michaels who was the play-by-play announcer for Monday Night Football from 1985 - 2005. In 2006, Monday Night Football moved from ABC to ESPN and Al Michaels moved to NBC to announce Sunday Night Football.In November 2005, Al Michaels was interviewed by Bryant Gumbel on the HBO show “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” On commenting on his 20 years with Monday Night Football, Michaels made the following statement.“I’ve been doing Monday Night Football for 20 years. It feels like its been about three.”Because Al Michaels was not sure how many years it felt like he chose the number “three.”With a word of caution, it does not follow that anyone who mentions the number three is lying to you. The above is purely anecdotal as there is no research in support thereof.

Detecting Deception

The Statement Analysis techniques can be used to tell if a person is lying or telling the truth. Deceptive people will do their best to portray that they are being truthful. However, their use and abuse of language will betray their truth.On December 24, 2002, Laci Peterson, who was eight months pregnant, disappeared from her Modesto, CA neighborhood. Her husband, Scott Peterson, told the police he last saw her that morning as she left their house to walk their dog. An intense search was conducted but Laci was not found.In January 2003, Scott Peterson gave several interviews in an effort to proclaim his innocence. Since Laci had not yet been found, he also used these interviews to keep alive the search for her. One of the interviews was with Diane Sawyer on ABC's Good Morning America. Sawyer asked Peterson about his marriage to Laci. Peterson responded with the following."God, the first word that comes to mind is, you know, glorious. I mean we took care of each other, very well. She was amazing. She is amazing." [6] Scott Peterson referred to his wife in the past tense, “She was amazing.” This is a clear indication he knew something that no one else knew. He knew Laci was dead. He realized what he said so he then change his statement and said, “She is amazing.” However, the truth was out. People’s words will betray them. On November 12, 2004, Scott Peterson was found guilty of murdering his wife Laci and his unborn son Conner. It is highly unusual for anyone to refer to a missing family member in the past tense whilst the fate of that person is officially unknown - unless the speaker has concealed information. i.e That he has killed the missing family member.

Another disappearance occurred on July 19, 2004 when Mark Hacking reported that his 27-year-old wife Lori Hacking was missing. According to Mark, Lori left their house in Salt Lake City, Utah sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. to go for jog in Memory Grove park. At 10:49 a.m., Mark called the police to report his wife had disappeared.Volunteers immediately conducted a search looking for Lori. While the search was being conducted, Mark Hacking spoke to the press and gave the following statement."It's hard because when I'm searching I'm not looking for somebody sitting on a rock or walking around. I know I'm searching for someone who is hurt." [7] How does Mark Hacking "know" he is searching for someone "who is hurt"? This was a clear indication he knew more than what he was telling. If a person has disappeared for several weeks or months, it can be presumed something bad has happened. When a person has only been missing for several hours most people have the hope the person will be found safe and unharmed.On April 15, 2005, Mark Hacking pled guilty to killing his wife Lori Hacking. Hacking told the judge, "I intentionally shot Lori Hacking in the head with a .22 rifle.”

Discovering Additional Information

The Statement Analysis techniques can be used to discover additional information within the statement. This is because people’s truth will surface in the language that they use. One example of this can be found in the following statement given by a husband who went shopping.

"“I went Christmas shopping with my wife.”"

In his statement, the husband used the word “with.” The word “with” indicates distance. This distance can be seen in that “I” is at the beginning of the sentence and “wife” is at the end of the sentence. The additional information gained is that the husband did not want to go shopping. This was later confirmed during the interview. By using the word “with” the husband unknowingly revealed his true feelings. Had the husband been a willing shopper he probably would have said, “My wife and I went Christmas shopping.” In this statement, “wife and I” are right next to each other. The distance in the statement reflects the distance in the speakers reality.

Determining If A Person Is Withholding Information

The Statement Analysis techniques will also show if a person is withholding information. When a person has skipped over something in his story, he will usually use phrases such as “later on” “afterwards” “shortly thereafter” or “a short time later.” Consider the following statement.

"“We drove to the store and got some beer. Later on we went to Ray’s house.”"

The phrase “later on” tells us the subject withheld what was going on immediately after purchasing some beer. The use of such phrases is an indication of 'missing time' in the story. Missing time = missing activities. i.e. Activities deliberately edited out of the story by the subject. An investigator would want to back the subject up in his story and find out what happened after going to the store.

Another way to see if a person is withholding information is to check whether the subject answered the question within the parameter it was framed.

Question: “Did you go to Disney World last week?”

Answer: “Actually, I went two weeks ago.”

In his answer, the person only had to answer 'Yes' or 'No'. Instead, he gave along answer, prefixed with the unnecessary (connection word) “actually”. The subject simply did not answer the question posed to him. The obvious unspoken answer is 'No, he did not go and he probably did not go two weeks ago either.'

Question: “What did you do last night?”

Answer: “Actually, I went to a party.”

In this answer, the subject answered the question directly, but the use of the unnecessary connection 'actually' is cause for concern. The subject could have said, "I went to a party"That would be the norm short way to answer within the parameter of the question posed.

The fact that the subject prefixed his response with 'actually' is in an indication that he is trying too hard to convince the interviewer that he went to a party. We can rightfully suspect that the subject went elsewhere. The interviewer should then ask, "Tell me what happened before you went to the party"

Misconceptions About Statement Analysis

Some people may contend that an interviewer using the Statement Analysis techniques is interpreting what a person is saying. They believe the analysis reached by the interviewer may simply be his opinion of what the person actually meant. This is incorrect. Since people mean exactly what they are saying there is no need to interpret unless they are speaking another language. An interviewer using the Statement Analysis techniques simply points out what a person is saying. This can lead to asking the subject additional questions and discovering the truth.

Some people may claim that Statement Analysis techniques are not a valid science. This is false because the majority of the techniques are based on the English language and the rules of grammar. An interviewer does need to take into consideration a person's education level and command of the English language when conducting an analysis. However, many of the techniques will still apply despite a lack of education or cultural differences. Only a small portion of the techniques are based on studies which found that deceptive people will often use certain words or phrases. When these words or phrases are found in a statement it is only an indication of deception requiring the interviewer to look a little further into the statement.


External links

* [ How To Analyse Statements]
* [ Detecting Deception Using Statement Analysis]
* [ Scientific Content Analysis]

ee also

* Body Language
* Nonverbal communication
* Voice stress analysis

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