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How Does This Stuff Work? Part 4 - The Hacks
Find the lies quickly
In this last part of how the investigation of statements works, we look at the hacks. These are shortcuts to finding out if you’re hearing truth or lies. They’re simple, but they work!
It’s a case of listening out for three words. When you hear those words, be on alert for deception happening. The words don't prove someone is lying or trying to hide something from you, but you’ll be surprised how often they are used when someone is deceiving you.
Word 1 - JUST
In deception, just is used in various ways.
To keep the focus from elsewhere. “I was just minding my own business” often means I was doing more than minding my own business, but I want to hide that. “I’m just emailing to check…” often starts a message from someone who’s urgently chasing you.
To make something look smaller than it is. “I was just a little late” can come from someone who was horribly late. “I just said it wasn’t a good presentation” can come from someone who said a whole lot more.
Here’s convicted child killer, Ian Huntley. He uses “just” three times in this short clip.
It’s likely what he says is mostly true, however we know he had a lot more interaction than that. He uses “just” to ensure we get his deceptive message of “that is all that happened”.
Word 2 - ABSOLUTELY
Sometimes absolutely is used in deception as a synonym for “yes”.
“Do you like this dress?”
“Are you sure you can cope with this responsibility”
The person using it like this thinks “I don’t want them to doubt me, but I need to get across that I’m positive. I’ll use absolutely, it’s even stronger than yes, it’ll be more believed”
The other use is to persuade us that something is really true. Liars tend to think they need to add extra words in to ensure we believe their deception.
“I was absolutely in the right”
“I absolutely did not say that”
He’s convicted killer Charlie Adelson testifying at his trial.
He doesn’t think saying “no” on it’s own is strong enough, he tries to strengthen it with “absolutely”
Word 3 - NEVER
Never is like the opposite of “absolutely”. Deceptively, it can be used as a synonym for no.
“Did you steal money from your last employer?”
“Did you tell Amir that his wife was seeing someone else?”
Never also pops up often as a deceptive denial. Instead of giving an outright denial stating not, at any time, did something happen. It gets covered with a “never”.
How many times have you said something like “I’ve never been angrier” when the truth was “I’m very angry”?
Have you heard someone say something like “I would never fake a sick day” or “I would never cheat on my partner” only to find out they have or they will?
Here’s Lance Armstrong
We all know how that one turned out.
JUST, ABSOLUTELY and NEVER are quick hacks to detecting a lie. They don’t prove one, but once you dig around what you’re hearing you’ll be surprised how often they are used to facilitate deception.