Insincerity – White Paper
Detecting insincerity has been a subject researched for many years and various approaches have appeared as a result. There are now enough studies to allow experts to detect signs of insincerity quite accurately by paying close attention to a person’s non-verbal language, such as body language, facial micro expressions, and voice qualities. Also, the polygraph, the most commonly used machine for detecting lies, can often accurately detect insincerity by monitoring a person’s physiological reactions (heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and electro-dermal activity) to the questions asked and to the topics that are discussed.
So how are signs of insincerity being detected?
First of all it’s important to understand that, contrary to the common used term “lie detection”, all these approaches do not detect lies. They can only allow the examiner to detect whether deceptive behavior is being displayed, suggesting that there is more information known to the person, information which is being hidden.
Because all people are different, it’s very important to calibrate the responses and establish a baseline for each person when trying to uncover signs of insincerity. This means that in order to increase the effectiveness of the process, an examiner must first find out what is a person’s normal response to truthful facts in order to have something to compare responses with. The more information one has about the person that’s being examined, the easier it is to detect any incongruence in the patterns being displayed in relation to the topic discussed.
So, is it possible to create a method for detecting truth or lies when it comes to texts?
Well, if we would approach all texts in this way, then it would turn out that the biggest liars would be writers, since they usually invent stories and characters in their novels. When a person is speaking, there is much more information contained within their physiology and non-verbal language that can be used to uncover signs of deception, yet a detector like this has not yet existed for written communication.
When it comes to texts, it is very difficult to detect when somebody is lying, but when somebody is trying to cover or not give away all the truth, the language they use can signal their intention of withholding information. In the analysis of texts we believe it is more practical to determine when the author is sincere and writes what he thinks. When he doesn’t, his words do not completely match his thoughts.
In order to conceal our thoughts, we use more vague words than we would normally do. For example, when we claim that some politicians are deceiving their voters, we do not say the specific names of politicians, and hide them with obscure pronouns. When comforting a patient, we could tell him that he will soon recover, without giving a concrete answer and instead hiding it with the word “soon.” These are just a couple of examples, and of course there are many more which we could come across every day.
Vague words such as ‘some’, ‘any’, ‘sometimes’, etc. are used as “marker words”. When tracking trends with these marker words, one should pay attention to a significant change in the frequency of their use. It is a signal that the author of the text is trying to hide his thoughts. The system quickly detects these marker words. When there is a statistically significant increase in the use of these words in a text that is being analyzed compared to the conventional linguistic norm or to the profile that we have created for that specific person, it can show that the author is not telling something or trying to hide parts of information.
A more detailed example of how to detect insincerity using our technology can be read in the Insincerity Case study, where we have analyzed Bill Clinton’s press conference after the scandal with Monica Lewinsky and compared it to other press conferences and speeches of Bill Clinton from before that scandal.
Examples of IntenCheck text analysis results for insincerity
One of the texts that we have analyzed, which our system has detected as highly insincere, is a press conference transcript of the U.S. Department of State spokeperson, Ms. Jen Psaki. The result of the analysis shows that Ms. Psaki’s answers are not entirely truthful, as she is trying to withhold information from the press, information of which she has more knowledge about.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2014
One day – well, two days, Matt. Count today. The day is young.
We’ve sent out a statement on the Yemen bombings, and I wanted to just highlight that for all of you and make sure you all had seen it. Also, just an update on General Allen and Ambassador McGurk’s meetings. Actually, Special Envoy Rubinstein also joined them today. They met today in Cairo with Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Shoukry to discuss ongoing global coalition efforts and Egyptian contributions to the fight against ISIL, including the positive role Egypt is already playing, countering violent extremist ideology.
They also met with Arab League Secretary-General al-Araby and several Arab League ambassadors to discuss how Arab League states can continue to counter ISIL across the five lines of global coalition efforts, especially on delegitimizing ISIL’s messaging in the Muslim world and supporting the new Government of Iraq and its program for an inclusive, united, and sovereign Iraq, as defined in the Iraqi constitution.
From Cairo, General Allen, Ambassador McGurk, and Special Envoy Rubinstein traveled to Ankara, where they met with Syrian Opposition Coalition leadership and members to review how the United States and coalition partners can continue to support the moderate Syrian opposition in the fight against ISIL. The delegation reiterated that the United States has not and will not coordinate with Assad, and encouraged the SOC to further strengthen their organization, given the central role of the moderate opposition in advancing the political solution that will be necessary to ending the Syrian crisis. The delegation also discussed the essential role the moderate opposition can play as a counterweight to ISIL in Syria, and how the U.S. plan to train and equip the moderate Syrian opposition can support that role.
Later today, General Allen and Ambassador McGurk will meet – or perhaps they are – have already met, depending on the time difference – with Prime Minister Davutoglu and other Turkish officials to discuss the situation in Kobani and how Turkey can contribute to ongoing coalition efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL. We’ll have further readouts for you today after those meetings conclude.”
Read the full text here: http://translations.state.gov/st/english/texttrans/2014/10/20141009309804.html
Note: Only Ms. Psaki’s answers have been analyzed, and not the entire text.
Intentex Insincerity Case study:
Insincerity White Paper example – full text analyzed:
- Preston, Elizabeth (July 2002). “Detecting Deception”
- Spence SA, et al. Behavioural and functional anatomical correlates of deception in humans. Neuroreport. 2001
- The Truth About Lie Detectors. American Psychological Association.