Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tag Qualifiers

The simplest method to qualify an answer is to add a Tag Qualifier. Tag Qualifiers specifically identify actions that took place but were not included in the question. If a specific action was omitted from an otherwise true account, then the liar could honestly answer the question by adding a Tag Qualifier. Tag Qualifiers include words like this, that, these, those and though. The following excerpt from the police interview of the rape and murder suspect previously referenced illustrates how the suspect took the investigator to the Land of Is using a Tag Qualifier.

INVESTIGATOR: Okay. All right. Well, let's go back to the party for a second. There's somebody at the party--not just somebody, maybe--how many? Four or five people? Four or five people told us that they saw you trying to kiss her--at the party. In fact, it was in the hallway at the party--and, uh, you were trying to kiss her. In fact, I think she fell down on the ground and you were, kind of laying down next to her, trying to kiss her or something. What--can you remember what happened with that?

SUSPECT: I never even--I don't remember doing anything like that.

The suspect used the Tag Qualifier that to give the illusion of truth. The suspect told the truth, but the truth about what? If any nuance in the detective’s description was not exact, then the Tag Qualifier that renders the suspect’s response true. The interviewer should have asked an open-ended question such as “Tell me what happened last night when you were with the victim” to prompt a narrative response.