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Clues of Deception

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

One of the concepts we deal with in our new book Who Done It: Truth and Consequences Guide for Educators is deception. In Chapter 4: Uncovering the Truth, we provide several strategies to help parents and educators detect deception by listening to verbal cues. "The best method to predict deception compares what a person says against external evidence or known truth. At best, certain statements can indicate a higher probability of deception, but there’s no one verbal cue that accurately predicts deception."

In our book, we share several statements that point to possible deception. Consider the following four verbal clues of deception.

1. “That’s about it.” A deceptive person does not tell the complete story because there’s something they don't want to disclose.

2. “You can’t prove that.” This response is very revealing. Schaef says, “The word ‘prove’ suggests that evidence exists to verify the supposition or accusation posited, but the speaker failed to discover the hidden proof. Honest people do not think in terms of proof. They know that no evidence exists because they did not do what the speaker accused. Deceptive people know the proof of their deception exists, but the speaker has not yet discovered sufficient evidence to support the accusation.”

3. “Why would I do that?” When a person is honest, they will deny what is being stated. According to Schaef, “Deceptive people are evasive, and when they are caught off guard, they need extra time to think of a believable response. A response like, ‘Why would I do that?’ buys the deceptive person precious time to formulate such a response.”

4. “Are you accusing me?” The intent of this type of response is to place the questioner on the defensive. “This subtle counterattack prompts the accuser to justify his or her accusations. In doing so, the accused buys time to press a counterattack or prepare a believable story. The simple answer to this question: ‘Yes, I am accusing you, or I would not have brought the topic up in the first place.’ This response parries the counterattack and puts the accused back on the defensive.”

In Chapter 4 we also show educators how to probe for truth, how to handle parents who withhold information, what type of body language to look for in people who are lying, and a number of other strategies to spot liars.

You can view the book on Amazon at the following link:

Furthermore, we have a limited number of first-edition signed copies of the book at a reduced cost. If you are interested, please respond by email ( and we can give you more information.

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