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A leading polygraph expert discusses psychopathy and how people lie

Last week I ran across the book, Criminal Interrogation: A Modern Format for Interrogating Criminal Suspects Based on the Intellectual Approach, by Warren D. Holmes. The author spent his early career in law enforcement and now runs a private polygraph company in Miami Florida. He has interviewed many psychopaths including murderers and child molesters. I was anxious to read this book and understand a law enforcement officer’s view of psychopaths. I was happy to see that the book is very well written and I would recommend it to Lovefraud readers who want to know how a law enforcement officer approaches interrogation of psychopaths/sociopaths.

Many Lovefraud readers have expressed the desire to know how to “out” a psychopath/sociopath. In this book Mr. Holmes gives his ideas about this subject. In his Chapter “How People Lie” he discusses the neurotic liar and compares lies told by these people to psychopathic liars. He has also listed and categorized what he calls “liar statements.” These are statements that signal someone is lying. In reading his list, I found that psychopaths/sociopaths use many of these.

Here are his categories of liar statements:
A. Loophole statements like, “To the best of my knowledge.” By using these statements a person can easily have wiggle room to excuse any lies he/she tells.
B. Over-sell expressions like “honestly” and “Believe me.”
C. Thinking time expressions like “can you repeat the question.” Liars use these to give them time to think up lies.
D. Brooklyn Bridge remarks “I need to know if I did it.”
E. Offense statements like “Are you calling me a liar.”

The book discusses each of these in detail. If you have spent time with a psychopath I’m sure you have heard every one of these. Although he is not a psychologist, Mr Holmes discusses his theory of why neurotic, almost sociopathic people lie and what tactics they use. This discussion might be beneficial for those who have a family member who has sociopathic traits but who may not have the full disorder.

The book also discusses what it is like to interview a psychopath. Mr Holmes says what I have said here on this blog and in my books, that is that psychopaths/sociopaths are preoccupied with power and dominance. They show this in every aspect of their behavior. They violate personal space, make inappropriately personal remarks and attempt to control the interview. He says, “When they enter my office, they generally jump into my secretary’s lap.”

I am very grateful for the fact that Mr. Holmes also granted me a brief interview. He is a friendly and wise man, who is certainly an expert on psychopathy/sociopathy. The question I most wanted to ask him was what he thought about the estimates of only 20% of people in prison being psychopaths. He agreed with me that this estimate is too low. He also expressed concern that there is an increase in the prevalence of psychopathy in America.

I asked him if he had any words of wisdom for Lovefraud readers regarding sociopaths/psychopaths and avoiding them. He said that we should always be suspicious of any person who tries too hard to sell himself. He said to beware of people who are overpowering. That sounds like great advice and right on the money to me!



95 Comments on "A leading polygraph expert discusses psychopathy and how people lie"

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  1. shabbychic says:

    Thanks LL, I haven’t been with him in a long time…
    I’ve got to read that book: The Betrayl Bond!!!
    ((((hug)))) !!!! xoxo

    Hope everyone has a good day!
    I’ve gotta go……



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  2. mommom says:

    when I would get him backed into a corner he would come out and say,YEAH IM TAKING AND HIDING ALL YOUR STUFF JUST TO DRIVE YOU CRAZY” !! admission without admission of guilt. Im sure there is a proper term for this,I dont know it.



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  3. mommom says:

    I like this article. Is a sociopath able then to pass a polygraph? Im sure my spath could. He lies so much Im sure he believes it himself. I used to say,if you say good morning I better go outside and make sure it is actually morning.



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  4. G1S says:

    There is a website that I found very helpful, and you don’t need a machine to make any determinations.

    The website is http://www.statementanalysis.com

    Check out the owner’s page where he analyzes statements of famous people in the news. He gives plenty of pointers of what to watch out for, including the things that Dr. Leedom mentioned in her original post here.



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  5. Louise says:

    G1S:

    Thanks for the website!



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