Making clear when an answer is an example or does not tell the full story


Gary will often ask a version of the same question many times. Sometimes this is because he has not understood the claimant’s answer or because he wants to know more. But sometimes it is to see whether the claimant’s answer will change. If a claimant answers the first time with an example, and they answer the second time with a different example, Gary may think that their story has changed.

Claimants have avoided this kind of confusion by making clear to Gary when an answer that they are giving is just an example, or when it only tells part of the story.

When Gary first asked Samuel to describe his political activities, Samuel gave many examples of the kinds of things that he did to help his party. Later he added another example. Gary might have been less suspicious if, in describing his political activities, rather than saying “I started a student chapter,” and “I wrote a newspaper article,” Samuel had said, “For instance, I started a student chapter” and “For example, I wrote a newspaper article.”

Kamala had several reasons for not going to the police after she was assaulted. When Gary first asked her to explain her decision, she mentioned one of these reasons. When he asked her again, she mentioned another reason. Gary might have been less suspicious if, rather than saying “Because I did not want my family and friends to know,” Kamala had said “One reason was because I did not want my family and friends to know,” or “One of my big concerns was that-” or “For one thing, I was worried about-”.

Go back to A memory is like a video recording and read on.