Friday, April 23, 2010

Former CIA Polygraph Examiner Shares His Secrets to Believable Lying

Stop Lying About the Way Your Characters’ Lie

by Dan Crum

During my time in the CIA as a polygraph examiner and investigator I came across terrorists and criminals and learned one very important lesson…they are just like you and me.

The amazing thing about people is that we all are manufactured out of the same parts and our physiologies are primarily the same. Which means no matter where in the world you travel, no matter who you talk to we are all alike in the way we communicate sincerity and deception.

I teach people to know when someone is lying. Probably one of the most common questions I get asked is whether these skills work in reverse. Can I teach a person to appear sincere when they are actually being deceptive? The answer is complicated. The CIA has a course that teaches spies how to successfully deal with interrogations by foreign intelligence services. In the course they teach the spies what deception looks and sounds like so that they know what not to do or say. The challenge is translating what they learn to a real interrogation.

Even with a lot of practice it is very difficult to disguise non-verbal/physiological deception indicators. These are part of how we are made and we are fighting against millions of years of genetic engineering to overcome these habitual and automatic reactions to the stress we feel when we lie and fear detection.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say the person being questioned is sitting down. As they are sitting parts of their body are at rest (back and butt against the chair, arms on the arm rests, one foot on the floor, one leg crossed over the other). I call these “sleep points.” A major sign that someone is lying to you is when one or more sleep points wake up when they answer your question. What you may see is the person uncross their legs or lean forward. This is the person’s automatic reaction to the stress they feel about lying and potentially getting caught when answering your question. Remember, even well trained spies have difficulty keeping their sleep points from waking up when they lie.

One thing that I am very critical of is the dramatic liberties that authors take in describing bad guys and the way they lie, cheat and steal. My goal is for you to learn what deception looks and sounds like so that you describe it accurately. I provide many resources to help you on your journey, including consulting.

So you can gain value from reading this blog I have listed some key points to remember to make your dishonest characters seem believable to your readers:

· Everyone lies for what they mentally justify as a good reason

· No one wants to be called a liar or labeled as dishonest

· Liars have a difficult time keeping their story straight

· Truthful behavior can be faked and can make the liar appear honest

· You must look and listen in a focused manner to identify deception

· A minor verbal or physiological clue can indicate deception

· An interrogation can make an honest person appear as a liar

· There is a magic way to ask a question to trap the liar

Dan Crum, the “Dating Detective,” has a BS Degree in Marketing from George Mason University. He also has a Certificate of Graduate Study in Forensic Psychophysiological Detection of Deception and has been certified by the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute/The Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment, and the Joint Military Intelligence Training Center. Dan holds a Top Secret Clearance from the US Government.

He worked for the CIA as a Polygraph Examiner, Special Investigator and Adjudicator. Dan also worked as an Intelligence Analyst for the National Counterterrorism Center, Terrorist Identities Group, where his work was used in support of written intelligence assessments for the Executive Office, to include the President in the War on Terror. Dan is the founder of Dan Crum International and has been coaching and consulting individuals and businesses since 2001.

Today he works as a US Government contractor where he develops customized solutions for the US Intelligence Community to better perform their worldwide operations. Dan has spent his career focused on understanding human psychology to include working with well-known experts and authors, Tony Robbins (Awaken the Giant Within) and John Assaraf (The Secret).

Dan is a frequent guest speaker on the topic of Detecting Deception, appearing in front of many national organizations including the American Polygraph Association and various Crisis Negotiation Groups and State Polygraph Associations.

The great news is that I have written two books that when you read them will be very helpful in understanding the over 101 examples of deceptive behaviors and how best to write about them accurately. As a special Novel Journey reader offer you can get both books for the price of one.


Kelly Klepfer said...

Thanks for the fascinating information, Dan.

Nicole said...

Truly fascinating. Love this. Thank you.

Gina Holmes said...

Didn't know that about the sleep points. Interesting tidbit I can use. Thanks Dan and Kelly.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Great interview...

LOL..."There is a magic way to ask a question to trap the liar."

I was waiting for the answer :-)

Gina Holmes said...

Me too, Bonnie. I'm pretty sure the answer is in the book. What a hook. Clever man.

Sheila Deeth said...

What a fascinating post. Thanks

GalaktioNova said...

Thank you very much! Very useful information! :-)

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