Statement analysis, also called investigative discourse analysis, and scientific content analysis (SCAN) is a technique for analyzing the words people use. Proponents claim this technique can be used to detect concealed information, missing information, and whether the information that person has provided is true or false.
Related to statement analysis is a different technique for analyzing the words people use called statement validity assessment, whose core phase is called criteria-based content analysis (CBCA). CBCA has been accepted as evidence in courts in Germany as early as 1954.
Statement analysis involves an investigator searching for linguistic cues and gaps in a subject's testimony or preliminary statements. Ideally, the technique would guide investigators to ask follow-up questions to uncover discrepancies. Creator of Scientific Content Analysis (SCAN) Avinoam Sapir gives the example of someone saying, "I counted the money, put the bag on the counter, and proceeded to go home." Sapir says the statement was literally true: "He counted the money (when you steal you want to know how much you are stealing), and then the subject put the bag on the counter. The subject didn't say that he put the money back in the bag after counting it, because he didn't; he left the empty bag on the counter and walked away with the money." Sapir says that a fundamental principle of statement analysis is that "denying guilt is not the same as denying the act. When one says 'I am not guilty' or 'I am innocent,' they are not denying the act; they are only denying guilt." Sapir claims that it is almost impossible for a guilty person to say "I didn't do it." He asserts that guilty people tend to speak in even greater circumlocutions by saying things like "I had nothing to do with it" or "I am not involved in that."
Proponents say statement analysis has proven highly effective as a police interrogation technique.
Famous quotes containing the words statement and/or analysis:
“He has the common feeling of his profession. He enjoys a statement twice as much if it appears in fine print, and anything that turns up in a footnote ... takes on the character of divine revelation.”
—Margaret Halsey (b. 1910)
“Whatever else American thinkers do, they psychologize, often brilliantly. The trouble is that psychology only takes us so far. The new interest in families has its merits, but it will have done us all a disservice if it turns us away from public issues to private matters. A vision of things that has no room for the inner life is bankrupt, but a psychology without social analysis or politics is both powerless and very lonely.”
—Joseph Featherstone (20th century)