As it relates to deception detection, when you start to hear repetition in a statement it’s an indication they are thinking about what to say next. This shows their story is not coming from memory, but rather being made up. The exception to this is if you are aware the person has medical issues that regularly cause memory challenges.
Repeating Your Question
If they repeat your question, e.g., “Did I work late?” and there’s no obvious reason to believe your question was not heard properly, they’re stalling for time and it’s an indication that you’ve struck a nerve. You’ll want to probe further as it is likely deceptive.
Listen for emphasis, “Did I work late?” “Did I work late?” “Did I work late?” They may be planning on fancy word play or for a starring role in the Bob & Weave show. Further, if they mention the same portion of the story more than once, the same conclusion can be drawn – that they’re stalling for time to make something up or that you’ve struck a nerve and they may be trying to mislead you.
Repeating Within Their Own Statement
When he testified during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on June 8, 2017, former FBI Director, James Comey was asked about his meetings with the president.
“Guess I don’t know for sure. I believe the — I take the president at his word, that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. Something about the way I was conducting it, the president felt, created pressure on him that he wanted to relieve. Again, I didn’t know that at the time, but I watched his interview, I’ve read the press accounts of his conversations. So, I take him at his word there. Now, look, I — I could be wrong. Maybe he’s saying something that’s not true. But I take him at his word, at least based on what I know now.”
Deception detection requires focused listening; listen for repetition in statements.
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As Managing Director of Concealed Statements, and author of Drive Thru Deception, I work with men and women who want to increase their deception awareness to avoid wasting time or money and avoid making poor decisions based on inaccurate information.