Thanks for weighing in. My point was that there is a methodology for interrogation, not that the one that is currently used in the US is great. As I pointed out, it tends to focus on getting a suspect to confess, rather than to actually getting at the truth. I’m sure that even in the UK where they have a system that is ostensibly more interested in figuring out what actually happened, human beingness still gets in the way sometimes.

And, there are specific things that tend to indicate lying. One by itself is not necessarily proof of anything, but when you put several together, you can start to get a picture of who is telling the truth and who is not. I wrote this story at the time of the Kavanaugh hearings when many people were acting like there was no way we could actually know what had happened. Meanwhile, her demeanor, straightforward way of answering questions, vulnerability and willingness to come forward at great personal cost was a stark contrast to his demeanor, which fits many of the classic indicators of lying.

Not answering “yes” or “no”: an innocent person will usually answer questions with a direct yes or no. Not so for criminals, says Dittrich. When asked “are you involved in this murder?” they are likely to give a long answer like “I swear on my mother’s grave and all my children I didn’t.” This is a way of stalling: even though they tell themselves to lie, they can’t quite follow through.

Too many details: A criminal usually carefully plans their story in advance, anticipating that they’ll eventually speaks with detectives. A 911 call with too many details about the suspect, such as what they did that day or whether they’re happy with their significant other, is a red flag because it shows the person put thought into his or her story.

Lying about small stuff: Even the most innocuous statements can reveal inconsistencies, Dittrich said. A suspect talk of watching a television show in his or her alibi statement, but the show didn’t air that night. Lies about small stuff usually culminate in bigger evidence against the accused.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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