Guest Blogger Lena Sisco, Certified Military Interrogator, Former Naval Officer, Body Language and Statement Analysis Expert, Answers the Question:
Is Amanda Knox Lying?
Lena Sisco, President of The Congruence Group in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is our guest blogger today! Ms. Sisco took time from her demanding work schedule, at my request, to offer her professional expertise in statement analysis and body language analysis. I asked her to analyze media clips of Amanda Knox, and Ms. Sisco generously agreed. Many readers have expressed to me an interest in professional analysis of Knox based upon the sciences utilized by the FBI, law enforcement and the military. Ms. Sisco’s biography reveals a long and distinguished background in serving our country, as a former Naval officer, as a military intelligence officer, and in her capacity as teacher and trainer.
Ms. Sisco is also a Lead Instructor at the Body Language Institute founded by Janine Driver, a well-known media commentator on the science of deception. Lena also provides media analyses on programs like Dr. Drew on HLN.
Here is Lena’s impressive biography directly from her website:
Lena Sisco is a former Department of Defense (DoD) certified Military Interrogator and Naval Officer who served in the Global War on Terror. She is the recipient of the Joint Service and the Navy/Marine Corp Commendation and Achievement Medals. Ms Sisco has 14 years experience in the field of Human Intelligence (HUMINT). She has worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency and partnered with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in HUMINT Collection Activities. Ms Sisco has been training DoD personnel in interrogation, tactical questioning/debriefing, site exploitation, elicitation, counter-elicitation, cross cultural communications, HUMINT policy, detecting deception and behavioral congruency for over 10 years. In addition to instructing, Ms Sisco has developed courses and training curriculums and is Instructional Systems Design certified. She has experience in assessing individuals’ personality type preferences according to Jungian personality type concepts using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) tool in order for her to guide students to achieve the maximum learning experience in her classes. She also analyzes handwriting samples to help assess personality preferences. Ms Sisco is certified as a Body Language Institute Train-the-Trainer Instructor and instructs with Janine Driver. In addition, she is Six Sigma certified. Prior to her career in HUMINT, she received her Master’s Degree in Archaeology from Brown University and excavated overseas. She founded The Congruency Group in order to share her skills with DoD and Law Enforcement personnel and the private sector in order for individuals to achieve ultimate success in their personal and professional endeavors, put criminals behind bars and gather intelligence information to save lives. Follow Lena on Twitter
Statement Analysis and Facial Expressions of Amanda Knox During Her Interviews with CNN’s Chris Cuomo
by Lena Sisco
Amanda Knox, accused, jailed and convicted for murdering Meredith Kercher on the evening of November 1, 2007, was provisionally acquitted by the first appeals court, returning home to Seattle in October 2011. Upon review by the Supreme Court of Cassation, the acquittal was subsequently annulled based upon a manifest lack of logic and other major points of law on March 26, 2013.
On April 29, 2014, the second appellate court upheld the initial conviction of Knox and her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. Knox is now expected to file a final appeal to the Supreme Court. If the court decides to hear her appeal, it will only consider points of law. There will not be a retrial.
During the recent CNN interview between Chris Cuomo and Amanda Knox published on May 2, 2014 on You Tube
Amanda Knox continues to defend herself against accusations that she murdered Meredith Kercher. Knox answered Chris Cuomo’s questions slowly and methodologically, even six years after Meredith’s murder. Although you can see her struggling to carefully choose her words to plea her innocence, the words she used actually tell a different story. Below is an analysis of Amanda Knox’s statements during that interview and a look at her facial expressions in another interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo that both indicate behavioral incongruence, when the body language doesn’t match what the words are saying.
Before any analysis can be done, however, it is crucial to understand three very important things when reading body language and conducting statement analysis (both verbal and written) to detect deception. They are the “BCC”: Baseline, Clusters and Context. I call the BCC the ‘rule of three’ when detecting deception and write about it in my upcoming book, “I See How You Say It.” If you do not baseline a person’s normal verbal and non-verbal behavior, look for clusters of deceptive tells and consider the context in which these tells are observed (is the person nervous, in shock, in pain, has a physical impediment, etc…), you will fall victim to thinking you are a mind reader and inaccurately assess deceptive tells in truthful people.
That being said, seeing as though I can’t conduct my own interview on Amanda Knox to baseline her behavior, I watched numerous interviews with her to get a sense of how she speaks, her tone, pitch, words, and how she uses her body language and gestures. As I listened to this interview in particular, what immediately caught my attention were her long pauses in her speech pattern. These pauses happen for one reason and that is when person has to think about what and how to say something. Does it mean they are being deceptive? No. But it could mean they are being deceptive. Although this is a verbal “hot spot” we need to look for “clusters” of deceptive tells, not just long pauses. That brings me to her words, the statement analysis part.
First, Amanda uses non-contractional denials. This is a favorite technique liars like to use. She says:
“I did not kill my friend. I did not wield a knife…,” “We had never fought.“
Liars do not like to use contractions. They break apart contractions to try to emphasize their lie. When truthful people convey stories or events they use contractions. Liars will try to convince us of their lies by many means, one of which is by using non-contractional denials. We all remember former President Clinton’s famous words before admitting to having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky….” He sounded convincing back then, didn’t he? Clinton also used two other deceptive tells we usually see when conducting statement analysis of a lie. He used distancing language and the word “never.” The fact that he calls Monica “that woman” tells us that he is trying to distance himself from her and any possible relationship they may have had by making her an object, not a person he knows very closely, and later we found out intimately.
Deceptive people also like to use the word “never.” The word “never” is not a substitute for “no.” Unfortunately, most interviewers are duped by this and do not ask follow-up questions when someone answers a yes/no question with “never” versus “no.” You can see in the statement above Amanda Knox not only uses non-contractional denials but she also uses the word “never” when she states, “We had never fought.” The follow-up question that immediately pops into my former interrogator mind is, “Up until that point? Tell me what you fought about that night.” That statement is a hot spot for me. Reinforcing the importance of baselining, I can’t say for certain Amanda Knox is lying because she used the word “never,” but the fact I see two deceptive tells, non-contractional denials and the word “never,” makes me suspicious of the veracity of her statements
to see if they are congruent with the feelings she is attempting to project. According to Dr. Paul Ekman, Psychologist, there are seven human emotions that are expressed universally the same on the face, they are: happiness, sadness, fear, surprise, anger, disgust and contempt.
During this interview, Chris Cuomo asked Amanda Knox about the rumors of sexual deviance that surrounded her trial and if she had any regrets. When Chris asked, “Regrets, take backs, do again,” Knox stated, “I would take back my interrogation.” Knox is referring to the time when she was interrogated by Italian police after authorities found Meredith Kercher’s body when Knox broke after only five hours of questioning and changed her story to say she was indeed at the apartment the night Meredith was murdered. Chris Cuomo then says to Amanda, “you hate yourself for that.” Amanda makes a face to seem as though she is so upset she is about to cry, but there are no tears, nor is this the face of true sadness. See the picture below.
In fact, she didn’t shed any tears during this interview or the one published on May 2, 2014. When a person experiences true sadness, we see the inner corners of the upper eyebrows draw up and inwards and the corners of the mouth turn down; we don’t see any of that in Amanda’s face pictured above. Instead we see her eyebrows furrowed and her lips pursed together. Body language expert Janine Driver says, “When we don’t like what we see or hear, our lips disappear.” This is the face of anger, not sadness. Compare the similarities in her facial expression to the one below of English Actor Tim Roth, who was coached by Dr. Paul Ekman, from the show Lie to Me.
Aside from her eyes being closed, these two expressions are quite similar. We have to ask ourselves why is she leaking the facial expression of anger and not sadness
Likewise, in the picture below, which was part of the same interview, but featured on You Tube as a separate video clip
Chris Cuomo just asked her, “How many nightmares do you wake up in prison…” and Amanda responds, “I mean, I had a panic attack on Saturday.” The picture below is a screen shot of her facial expression at the exact time she said that statement. She is clearly smiling, but why would she be happy about having a panic attack?
Here incongruent facial expressions are more “hot spots” or “deviations” from the behavioral congruency that we should expect to see in Amanda Knox during these interviews. We should expect to see sadness in the first picture, but we see anger, we should see sadness, worry, even fear, in the second, but we see happiness. In these two videos alone, Amanda Knox leaks multiple deceptive tells, verbal and non-verbal, that as a former DoD interrogator make me question her alleged innocence.
If Amanda Knox is not guilty in the murder of Meredith Kercher, she is certainly making a hard case for herself.