LP Magazine

JUL-AUG 2019

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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Many investigators incorrectly interpret the subject's gestures or created jobs as an indication of deception. Adapters should be interpreted as an indication of increased anxiety in the individual or a general discomfort with the situation they find themselves in. Many innocent people will exhibit displays of adapters and manipulation because of the uncertainty of the situation that they face. continued from page 12 14 JULY‚ÄďAUGUST 2019 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM entirely different meaning. An investigator should consider this contradiction as an indication that more questions should be asked to clarify the situation. On the other hand, a shake of the head no when responding to the question, "How was their vacation?" may actually support the language. How was your vacation? The subject shakes their head slowly no in an exaggerated fashion and says, "Oh, man, we had the most amazing time." Here the exaggerated shake of the head is an indication of the awesomeness of the vacation experience instead of a denial of a good trip. An investigator should consider the use of an emblem as part of the reply made by the subject. The evaluation of the verbal response should include the meaning of the emblem. The investigator should consider whether the emblem complements or contradicts the verbal response made by the individual. Involuntary Gestures Involuntary gestures seem to be hardwired in the brain and are related to our visceral response to emotions such as anger, disgust, or fear. These gestures, much like the expressions of the face, seem to be linked to the basic human emotions, and their use is unconsciously done. For example, in a fear response, we generally move away from the threat and position the hands and arms in front of our bodies. With anger there is tension in the arms, and the fists will often clench preparing for an attack. Adapters Adapters are body-focused manipulators not commonly related to the spoken words, although some researchers have suggested they may reveal thoughts the individual is trying to intentionally conceal. Adapters are typically touching behaviors where the individual touches himself or another object usually resulting from an increase of anxiety as a result of a loss of control of a situation. Adapters also manifest themselves as grooming gestures where the individual twirls their hair, scratches, or fidgets using their fingers. These gestures could also consist of nose scratching, picking the teeth or nostrils, picking lint from clothing, or even manipulating a pen or paper clip. Adapters can also take the form of created jobs, such as lint picking or playing with a pen or tissue. These activities help an individual release excessive energy and address the uneasiness of the situation that has increased their anxiety. The use of adapters also gives the individual an opportunity to avert their eyes to supervise the task. Many investigators incorrectly interpret the subject's gestures or created jobs as an indication of deception. Adapters should be interpreted as an indication of increased anxiety in the individual or a general discomfort with the situation they find themselves in. Many innocent people will exhibit displays of adapters and manipulation because of the uncertainty of the situation that they face. Often, the use of adapters by the subject will diminish as the individual becomes more comfortable during the interview. If the individual is using the grooming gestures as a means to avoid eye contact with the investigator, the conversation should be extended to determine whether these actions are the result of unease with the situation or a conscious attempt to avoid detection. While these movements can be noted by the investigator, their exact cause can only be assumed and, generally, not known for certain. Many people attempting to conceal information will become unnaturally still, almost locking themselves in place. Timing An investigator should also consider the timing of the movement of any gestures. With illustration of the language, the gestures are closely related to the words in a very natural correlation, looking fluid and relaxed. However, if the movements appear mistimed, jerky, fast, or abrupt, the investigator should extend the interview and ask more questions to determine why the individual has a high level of anxiety. For example, a subject was being questioned about participation in a crime, and when asked, he moved his arm across his chest to adjust the pen in his shirt pocket. Since there was nothing for him to write and no need to adjust the pen, this adapter was a created job coming in response to increased anxiety. This adapter taken with the delayed soft verbal denial gave an indication additional questioning was needed in this area. Movements that occur at moments of high stress should be carefully evaluated. This can be done by later returning to this area of the conversation to determine if the level of stress in this area has been maintained. If the anxiety level is still high, the investigator should ask more questions and continue probing the topic. In our next column we will continue to explore the impact of nonverbal observations and their usefulness in identifying areas of increased anxiety.

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