After asking a probing or sensitive question, wait 5 seconds to see if you notice any changes in behaviors or “Hot-Spots.” Three or more strikes or “Hot-Spots” indicates the likelihood of distress or deception!
“Hot-Spots” can be verbal or non-verbal. Examples of verbal “Hot-Spots” may include:
- Repeating the simple question that was asked (“Where was I last night…?”; or answering with a question (“Do you think I risk my… to do that?”) in order to give a person a few extra seconds to think about how best to answer the question.
- Change in voice pitch, speed, volume, or tone
- Absence of self-references pronouns (such as “My…” or “I”), ownership, or accountability when describing what happened
- Inaccurate verb tense in sentences
- Getting angry or attacking the questioner
- Invoking religion (“I swear to GOD or on my mother’s grave…”) or character references to vouch (“Just ask so and so…”) for the speaker’s truthfulness
- Attempts to change the topic
- Lack of appropriate details to the most important part of the event in question; too much details prior to the event or the irrelevant portions of the story. Truthful narratives tend to have ratios of approximately 20 percent to 25 percent prologue, 40 percent to 60 percent critical event and 25 percent to 35 percent aftermath.
- Telling the story in a very linear, chronological method without dialogue from various parties involved. Truthful people tend to go to the most important part of the event, and may jump around with with more details as their narrative unfolds. Truthful people are able to quote what they said, as well as what others said in dialogue.
Some examples of Non-Verbal “Hot-Spots” include:
- Change in baseline body gestures
- Covering, shielding, or hiding the face, eyes, neck, torso, or other body parts for protection
- Shifting body positions or eye gaze
- Pacifying behaviors (e.g., rubbing, twitching, fidgeting, or touching of face, neck, arms, legs, or any other part of the body in order to relieve stress or discomfort).
- Lack of appropriate emotions or synchronicity of body gestures to verbal words
- Asymmetric or imbalance of body gestures such as shoulder shrugs, eyebrow lifts, hand, or arm gestures
- Blocking or distancing: placing items or barriers between the interrogator and the person being questioned
So remember! Establish baseline behaviors, then ask the sensitive or probing questions. Pay attention, LOOK and LISTEN to any changes in verbal and non-verbal behaviors within 5 seconds. If you notice 3 or more “Hot-Spots” there is a high likelihood of stress, discomfort, or dishonesty. These “Hot-Spots” are the areas in which you should do additional investigating in order to get closer to the TRUTH.