Tom Adi speaks on profiling malicious insiders through deep semantics

How to Spot a Traitor: The Psychology of Betrayal

By Colby Conway on Oct 23, 2017
Can you spot a traitor, or a liar? Is looking down and to the left or rambling a surefire sign of deceit? Not necessarily. However, the desire to gain insight into the mindset of malicious insiders could be imperative to stopping a traitor or liar right in his/her tracks. What makes a malicious insider really tick?

Tom Adi, contributor to numerous IGI Global journals and lead researcher and teacher at the Readware Institute in Gainesville, Florida, believes that the answer lies in the deep semantics of trust and denial.

Liar, deception, psychology
“Our research shows that cognition and psychology are driven by language processing,” says Adi. “The only source of ideas in this essay is the deep semantics of two Arabic word roots: AMN, which means ‘trust,’ and KFR, which means ‘deceptive denial.’”

Adi further explains the trust (AMN) cognitive-emotional structure.

"To trust (word root AMN) is to make (A) an emotional commitment (M) to someone although you don't know enough (N) about him," says Adi. "This person becomes your 'emotional anchor.'"

Where exactly does lying begin? Is it when the individual decides that lying is the proper course of action, or does it happen much earlier. Adi mentions that the beginning steps of the lying process is the notion that “distrust leads to deceptive denial.” Adi explains in greater detail the initial steps of “deceptive denial.”

“Deceptive denial (word root KFR) is what happens in the beginning steps of the lying process. First, you experience or observe something, and you know that it is true (K). You make a cognitive decision that it is real and true (K). Then, because of your reluctance to trust (for example, for fear of disappointment, or out of envy or dislike), you construct a big emotional label that says ‘not real’ (F) and you stick it on that solid fact (K), reversing (R) your own previous cognitive decision. You no longer have to trust this fact and live in fear of disappointment. With enough practice, you may become a liar.”

How difficult is it to convince oneself that something isn’t true when it clearly is? Is this type of intrapersonal deceit taxing on an individual? Adi says the psychosis of having something unwholesome as your emotional anchor is destructive.

“If you decide to use deceptive denial in order to avoid trust, then you will suffer the pain and anxiety of distrust instead. It is exhausting to convince yourself that something isn't true when it clearly is. It leads to an emotional disease where someone or something unwholesome becomes your emotional anchor.”

Typically, bad liars have some obvious giveaways. Travis Bradberry, Guest Writer for Entrepreneur, provided eight common habits of liars:
  1. They cover their mouths
  2. They repeat themselves and provide too much detail
  3. They prepare for an escape
  4. Their words and body language don’t match
  5. Their breathing changes
  6. They change their typical patterns of eye movement
  7. They get aggressive
  8. They fidget
Adi believes that it is possible to lie without revealing gestures and that certain tests can reveal deception in those who typically show zero emotion.

“The test for comfort with deceptive denial is the solution,” says Adi. “We believe that even emotionless sociopaths can be detected with such comfort tests.”

Lying is much more than just saying something that isn’t true. Deception is even deeper than that. Using deceptive denial to avoid trust is hard on the deceiver and the deceived.

Is there really such a thing as a little white lie? Test this out on your friends and family by observing his/her amount of comfort or discomfort with performing deceptive denial. Closely observe his/her facial expressions!

IGI Global would like to thank Tom Adi for taking the time to speak with IGI Global and sharing his thoughts on betrayal and cognitive modeling. For more information on his research, please take the time to review his video lecture on cognitive modeling systems.

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