Dangerous Body Language: Detecting Deception and Danger

My good friend Scott Shipman the owner of a boutique consulting firm in the Washington DC area who puts Col. John Boyd’s ideas into action and who has helped me gain a deeper understanding of the Boyd’s concepts through conversations, writings and debates over the past several years has sent me this Interesting research “How to tell when someone is lying” by Professor of psychology R. Edward Geiselman at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has been studying for years how to effectively detect deception to ensure public safety, particularly in the wake of renewed and evolving threats against the U.S. following the killing of Osama bin Laden and the evolving domestic threat and increase toward officers being feloniously killed in the line of duty. 

Professor Geiselman's work is new to me but is very interesting. His experience is deeply rooted in preparing and readying law enforcement through training programs he has developed.  The article is very informative and discusses the signs and signals of deception and danger to include gestures, expressions and verbal queues. Never forget when reading the signs and signals, being perceptive means, being able to spot the contradictions between someone's words and their body language as you interact with them. Superior situational awareness, understanding what to look for, what the body is saying, when reading people and what these hotspots mean is crucial to being more effective at gaining voluntary compliance and remaining safe in the process.

The article also discusses how to enable officers to tell truth from lies or “interact and isolate” an adversary.

This technique, part of a “cognitive interview” Geiselman co-developed with Ronald Fisher, a former UCLA psychologist now at Florida International University, “increases the cognitive load to push them over the edge.” A deceptive person, even a “professional liar,” is “under a heavy cognitive load” as he tries to stick to his story while monitoring your reaction.

Getting inside the adversaries observation-orientation-decision and action cycle is what it’s all about. BUT creating and nurturing the ability to do so is necessary if we wish to gain the upper hand in  our dealings with those that may do us or others harm.

"People can learn to perform better at detecting deception," Geiselman said. "However, police departments usually do not provide more than a day of training for their detectives, if that, and the available research shows that you can't improve much in just a day."

This information fits perfectly into our dangerous body language series and will be helpful to law enforcement being more effective when dealing with people and keeping officers safer on the street. Be sure to check it out. Thanks to Scott Shipman for taking the time and sharing the information.

Stay Oriented!

Fred