Follow-Up to Truth & Deception: Hone Your Skills

Below are some comments regarding the videos, of Mark Hacking & Susan Smith, individuals whose loved ones went missing.

In our original blog on this topic, Humintell noted that at times truth and deception have similar qualities and can be very hard to distinguish from one anther.  There are many things to take into consideration when trying to evaluate truthfulness and detect deception.

We emphasize looking for inconsistencies between verbal and nonverbal statements, which we call Hot Spots.

As you seen in the videos from our original post, there is a very prominent discrepancy between Susan Smith’s words and her facial expressions.  However, with Mark Hacking it is a little more subtle.

Hacking admitted to murdering his wife as she slept, while duping the public into believe that she had disappeared while she had been running early in the morning.  He had been lying to his wife and everyone else about attending and graduating from the University of Utah and being accepted to medical school.  It is purported that his wife, Lori, found out, which is why she was murdered.

To many people, Hacking appeared to be genuinely sad.

However, sometimes what you don’t see could be a red flag

Hacking’s voice doesn’t consistently crack throughout the interview(relly in just one spot) , compared to other individuals pleading for their loved one’s return. There is no eyebrow movement when he starts to “cry” at the end. He’s not smiling (which you can contrast with Smith who has a slight smirk throughout her video), but he doesn’t really look genuinely sad either.

He seems fairly emotionless and coupled with all the other signs (or lack there of) it is not very convincing for a trained observer.   Even with his sunglasses on, the man standing behind Hacking has a more genuine expressions of sadness on his face.

Smith, on the other hand, tries to seem sad but it is not believable.  When she “cries” at the very beginning and her voice cracks, there are no true signs of sadness found in her facial expressions.  There are no tears, and her eyebrows are not raised.

In slow motion it is obvious that she is smiling especially in the middle of the video when she says she “hasn’t seen anything”.  Her eyes seem to be smiling trying to hold back the fact that she can’t keep a straight face because she knows she is lying.  At the end of the video you can even see a slight smirk.  Her facial expressions obviously do not match her words or tone.

It is obvious from these videos that some people are better at faking emotions and controlling emotions than others, both Mark Hacking and Susan Smith were convicted of murder.

This is why it is so difficult to become very competent at detecting deception especially without continuous practice and training.

NOTE:  You can watch the videos in slow motion if you pause the video and then use your right keyboard arrow to move forward.

Did you see anything else? Share your comments on these cases with the Humintell Community!

One response to “Follow-Up to Truth & Deception: Hone Your Skills”

  1. Sarah says:

    Thank you for this interesting feedback! One comment: Hacking shows some distress in the eyebrows at some point of the plea, and his voice slightly “cracks” near the end of the video.
    In that sense, even though one could expect a husband to show more intense signs of emotions in such a situation, he could well be a person who controls and doesn’t display his emotions in general.
    Therefore, I think that even for a trained observer, this (very) short performance wasn’t that bad… but I may be missing some other cues (or absence of cues)?

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