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Story Reverse

 

Techniques Interrogation > Story Reverse

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Ask them to tell their story in a normal sort of way, recounting what happened from beginning to end.
Interrupt as little as possible and take detailed notes (or record the conversation).

Then get them to tell the story backwards.

Watch their body language carefully and look for signs of discomfort as they struggle to get things right. In particular watch for hesitation as liars try to get their story straight.

Example

Tell me what happened, in your own words

(they tell you their story)

So you ended up holding bag. Can you remind me who gave it to you?
...
'What happened before that?'
...
'And what caused that?'
...
'What did she say before that?'

Discussion

Liars construct their stories as linear narratives that flow like a river or tape-recording, simply and in one direction. Experiences are held in memory and different parts may be accessed directly and quickly, in the way that a disc recording can be used.

Jumping backward through the story is thus relatively easy for the truthful person as they skip in reverse through the scenes and easily access real memories.

The liar has more work as they jump back then play  the story forward to get to the point in question -- and it is this extra work that the interviewer seeks to detect.

This method is popular with police who need to get truthful accounts from perpetrators, victims and witnesses alike.

See also

Lying

 

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