By Chris Simmons
Spotting lies is simpler than you might imagine. Broken down to its basic structure, every narrative only has three parts: Before, During [the event] & After. In the investigative world, we call these segments Secondary Issue, Central Issue, & Secondary Issue. True stories are generally balanced, with each phase comprising about a third of the narrative. A deceptive storyline, however, almost always follows one of three patterns:
- Central Issue only [extraordinarily short] (for example, “They broke in, stole my stuff, and left. That’s pretty much it”).
- Short Central Issue followed by long Secondary Issue.
- Long Secondary Issue followed by short Central Issue.
For a deceiver, keeping the Central Issue brief and vague are essential to success. In contrast, the truthful person’s narrative flows smoothly through all three Issues and is full of details.
Despite the ease of this process, knowing when you are being lied to and uncovering the truth are two totally different challenges. That said, the first step in getting to the truth is identifying the lie(s).