I add two caveats before I go on.
Though I address the principals of denial and deception––deception, denial, deceit and misdirection––successively, linearity in deception, deception analysis and counter-deception should be, but most often are not, thought of as occurring simultaneously. S/he who is skilled in detecting ruse can also pat her head as s/he rubs her stomach––simultaneously. I will later examine the application of Aristotelian logic (limited) and Bayesian analysis (useful and so very difficult) as tools for incorporating the reality of deception into a a working conclusion, but we understand from the beginning that certainty is elusive.
Though I have been a student of deception for a lifetime and a practitioner of counter-deception analysis with more or less intensity for some forty years, I am no tenured professor of Denial and Deception. I have found that truth is plural and contingent.
I do not teach. I learn.
In his book Detecting Lies and Deceit, Aldert Vrij notes 39 studies where lay people (mostly college students) were asked to detect lies in people with whom they were not familiar. The mean accuracy rate was only 57%. With random guessing, the expected rate should be 50%. Law enforcement officers do not do much better. Citing eight studies where law enforcement officers were asked to detect deception, they enjoyed a mean accuracy rate of 54%––in fact the same as the college students.
Bennett and Waltz (Conterdeception Principals…) point out that denial, blocking the target’s access to real data and accurate information, is often considered a stand-alone concept, it is in fact linchpin of deception. The principal of denial makes deception possible.
The pint-sized eleven-year-old stepping onto the pitcher’s mound for the first time understands intuitively the denial aspect of denial and deception. He hides his grip on the baseball behind his mitt. He soom learns that his fastball, change up and split-fingered fastball are best thrown one like the other that he not tip off his pitch to the batter. He learns to DENY the batter any signal until at the last moment the ball breaks, which then DECEIVES the batter, who must guess.
In an exquisite scene in the movie Bull Durham, the catcher, Crash Davis, (Kevin Costner) tells the run-of-the-mill minor league batter where Ebby LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) will place his unhittable next blazing fastball, which the lug promptly puts over the fence. Crash removed the deception component from Ebby’s pitch. Boom.
In a magician deception amuses you; In a con man it does not; in a soldier it is a matter of life and death.
Babe Ruth hits 502 home runs, but struck out 1330 times. Denial and deception are one word. The world intuitively understands that it is difficult to cope with their unity. Hey, a .307 lifetime batting average gets you into the Hall of Fame.