Dont Be Deceived: The definitive book on detecting deception

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Can Nonverbal Communication Reveal Deception?

Learn more Check out. Abstract Abstract. Citing Literature. Volume 1 , Issue 2 Spring Pages Related Information. Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure.

The year’s most intriguing research explored autism, depression, friendship, and more.

Previous Figure Next Figure. Email or Customer ID. One burst out crying. There she was, a small stick-like figure, being flown to Ireland on a plane. And there she was again, lying on a bed, surrounded by multiple men. She seemed to be a victim of human trafficking—one of the lucky ones who had somehow managed to escape. The state was throwing everything it had at getting her help. Who was she? Where was she from? Into early November, the Irish authorities poured more than two thousand man-hours into a hundred and fifteen possible lines of inquiry.

Door-to-door queries.

See a Problem?

Reviews of CCTV footage. Missing-persons lists. Visits to airports, seaports, rail stations. Guesthouse bookings. Did anyone fail to turn up, or fail to return? It was costing a pretty penny—two hundred and fifty thousand euros— but every cent was worth it if it brought them closer to helping a child regain her lost home and her fragile sanity. The investigation was dubbed Operation Shepherd. Eventually, the police came up with and systematically tested more than fifteen possible identities for their charge. All came up short.

The girl was not only a minor but in a highly vulnerable state; the decision was an unprecedented one. But nothing else had worked.


  • What Is Deception?.
  • Snow Blind.
  • Opinion Spam Detection: Detect Fake Reviews and Reviewers.

And anything anyone knew would be most welcome. What we know about her, at present, is limited. It was such an odd case, and everyone had a theory. Sammy to her friends, she grew up with her mother and brother, Gregory, in Campbelltown, New South Wales, just outside of Sydney, Australia. For three weeks, she lounged about, enjoying a summer break away from it all. Then, abruptly, she left. Joe had done nothing to provoke her, as far as he could tell, but, then again, Sammy had always been prone to erratic behavior. It came as a surprise when he saw the news that November afternoon. That photograph.

That poor, lost girl. The horrifying story of human trafficking. That was Sammy. Brennan picked up the phone to call the police. Her criminal history dated back to her teens. The police confronted her. As more evidence poured in, she started communicating with short notes—in English. But her steadfast refusal to let the ruse go entirely prompted a second psychological evaluation.

The girl might not be who she said, but she did not seem mentally all there. Still, a subsequent professional evaluation gave her a clean bill of mental health. Cleared for travel, Sammy was returned to Australia, her native country, with a firm injunction to stay away from Ireland. She was never formally charged with a crime, but the censure was severe. How had it happened? Azzopardi instinctively knew how to get emotions going to the point where nothing else mattered.

Her pictures had told a story—a devastating story that no sane person would ever lie about. Who makes up a history of sex trafficking?

What kind of person do you need to be? Storytelling is the oldest form of entertainment there is. From campfires and pictograms—the Lascaux cave paintings may be as much as twenty thousand years old— to tribal songs and epic ballads passed down from generation to generation, it is one of the most fundamental ways humans have of making sense of the world. No matter how much storytelling formats change, storytelling itself never gets old. Stories bring us together. We can talk about them and bond over them. They are shared knowledge, shared legend, and shared history; often, they shape our shared future.

Later, we may find ourselves thinking that some idea or concept is coming from our own brilliant, fertile minds, when, in reality, it was planted there by the story we just heard or read. Propositional thought hinges on logic and formality. Narrative thought is the reverse. In fact, Bruner argues, narrative thinking is responsible for far more than its logical, systematic counterpart. There is no scientific method without the narrative thread that holds the whole enterprise together.

Stories make things more plausible, more convincing, and more fundable. Rightly or wrongly, a research proposal with a compelling narrative arc stands out. What kind of person do you need to be to make up a history of human sex trafficking? For one thing, you need to have an intimate grasp of the workings of human psychology—you have to understand that this story, above any other, will elude scrutiny even when the facts that justify it are sparse. Victims, in the right light, stand above reproach. No one questions an escapee from human trafficking.

I might refuse money to a man who says that his car broke down; I might question him, ask to see his stalled vehicle, or offer him a ride to a gas station. I can dismiss your hard logic, but not how you feel. Give me a list of reasons, and I can argue with it.

Cues to Lying May be Deceptive: Speaker and Listener Behaviour in an Interactive Game of Deception

Give me a good story, and I can no longer quite put my finger on what, if anything, should set off my alarm bells. The personal narrative is much more persuasive than any other form of appeal. And if a story is especially emotionally jarring—How amazing! How awful! The more extreme the story, the more successful it becomes. Emotions on high, empathy engaged, we become primed to help. She was also giving people the opportunity to shine in the humanitarian light that they always suspected lay within them. In , Dakota Johnson appeared in Brisbane. She told the police that she was fourteen, that she had got away from a sexually abusive relative, and that she desperately needed help.

Whatever had happened had been traumatic. The Brisbane support system gave her shelter and food. She told her support group that she wanted nothing more than to go back to school and finish her education, just like any normal teen. Just a few possessions: some clothes, a laptop. There was a letter of introduction from Le Rosey, a ritzy Swiss private school with a sprawling campus by Lake Geneva. There was a receipt from a Lord Howe Island bank. And there was a pink diary containing a vivid, violent account of sexual abuse by a close relative. But the authorities wanted to give her a chance at a normal life.

Don't Be Deceived : The Definitive Book on Detecting Deception by Mark McClish (2012, Paperback)

A local high school accepted her for the following term. They wanted to learn more about Dakota, to see how they could further help her. There was Dakota, smiling, with her family, standing on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The photo had a date, and that date was a clue. The local police contacted the tour company in charge of bridge tours and asked to see records of the participants. The Le Rosey letter: a fabrication crafted on her laptop. The bank receipt: another fudged fake. When the police dug deeper, they discovered that Azzopardi was already wanted for fraud in Queensland, where she had attempted to use a fake Medicare card to procure services in Rockhampton, a small coastal town.

The Brisbane Magistrates Court charged Azzopardi with two counts of false representation, one count of intention to forge documents, and one count of contravening directions. She was convicted.

The sentence was lenient: a five-hundred-dollar fine. The next month, Sammy was again convicted, on four counts of false representation: yet another identity, yet another attempt at fraud through sympathy. Again, the charge was five hundred dollars. And then, for a few months, she dropped off the legal radar. Paul Zak, a neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate University and the director of its Center for Neuroeconomics Studies, studies the power of story in our daily interactions with friends, strangers, books, television, and other media.

Repeatedly, he has found that nothing makes us receptive, emotionally and behaviorally, quite like narrative flow. In one study, Zak and his colleagues asked people to watch a video in which a father talks about his child.

How Stories Deceive

He goes on to say that Ben has a brain tumor that, in a matter of months, will end his life. The father says that he has resolved to stay strong, for the sake of his family, as painful as the coming weeks will be. The camera fades to black. Watching the film prompted about half of the viewers donate money to a cancer charity.

He had them watch it together, while his team monitored their neural activity, specifically the levels of certain hormones released from the brain into the blood. For the most part, the people who watched the video released oxytocin, a hormone that has been associated with empathy, bonding, and sensitivity to social cues.


  • The Palgrave Handbook of Deceptive Communication;
  • Detecting false intent using eye blink measures.
  • Detecting Deception.

Those who released the hormone also reliably donated to charity, even though there was no pressure to do so. Next, Zak switched the story around.