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How Does This Stuff Work?
Part 1: How we pick words
This is the first of a few posts looking at the workings of Statement Investigation and the principles of Truthful Deception.
How do we choose which words we use? There are two modes of word picking. Unconscious and conscious. The best way of thinking about how these different modes is to look at how you use them yourself.
Have you ever written an email twice?
You know when you receive an email which asks, “How long will the meeting be tomorrow?” And you instinctively type out a reply like “around an hour”. You haven’t considered the words, you pull the knowledge out of your brain and almost by magic the words representing that answer appear on the screen.
In fact, it’s your sub conscious mind selecting the right words for you to answer the question. Your brain is taking care of this piece of business, so you can spend your conscious energy on other activities.
If that email is going to a close friend or colleague or friend, you might press send. However, if the email is from a boss or a customer or investor, your conscious brain kicks in to ensure the words in your email hit the right note.
You may take the original “around an hour” and change it to
I hope you’re well, it’ll be good to see you tomorrow.
The meeting is scheduled to last an hour, hopefully we can get everything covered in that time. Do you need to leave right after the meeting?
See you tomorrow,
Your conscious brain has added some friendliness, some professionalism, and a level of care. As the email is important to you, you have deliberately and consciously picked words to convey the tone you want to get across to show you off the best.
This constantly happens in life. Chatting to a close family member, the words will come out without you considering which ones to use. Giving a witness statement to the police, you will be choosing your words carefully to ensure what you say is accurate.
If a friend asks your thoughts on the government, you’ll let it all out with no filter, your unconscious mind putting words to your thoughts. If someone in a business setting asks you the same, you may be more guarded and select your words carefully so as not to start an argument or be considered extreme.
In each case, the words you use are the ones that best fit. When we’re on autopilot, our brain supplies the words that best fit our thoughts, ideas, and memories.
When we’re being deliberate with our words, we use the words we feel best fit the message we want to convey.
Often, when we’re in conscious mode, we’ll get comfortable and slip into unconscious mode. This switch can be very revealing.
We can then analyse the words, asking “why have these been chosen” to discern which mode they were chosen in and what’s the intentions behind them.