Dan Crum Interview – An Ex-CIA Polygraph Examiner On Is He Lying to You?

Is He Lying to You? An Ex-CIA Polygraph Examiner Reveals What Men Don’t Want You to Know
Jasbina Ahluwalia interviews Dan Crum

Dan Crum worked for the CIA as a Polygraph Examiner and Special Investigator. Dan also applied his skills as a Senior Intelligence Analyst for the National Counterterrorism Center, where his work was used in intelligence assessments for the President of the United States in the War on Terror.

Dan is a frequent guest in national media (USA Today, Yahoo, CBS) and a recognized speaker on Relationships and Deception. He has spoken to many national organizations and universities, including the American Polygraph Association and various Crisis Negotiation Groups and State Polygraph Associations. Dan has spent his career focused on understanding human psychology, working with well-known experts and authors, Tony Robbins (Awaken the Giant Within) and John Assaraf (The Secret).



Jasbina Ahluwalia

(00:47):  Hello everyone and welcome to Intersections Match’s Talk Radio, a monthly holistic lifestyle show focused on the continual evolution into the best versions of our authentic selves. We and our guests discuss relationships and health and wellness, each of which contributes to meaningful and fulfilling lives.

This is Jasbina, your host. I’m a former practicing lawyer and the Founder of Intersections Match, the only elite national personalized matchmaking company focused on singles of South Asian descent nationwide in the US.

I’m very excited to welcome dating detective, Dan Crum, to our show tonight. Dan worked for the CIA as a Polygraph Examiner and Special Investigator and has a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Forensic Psychophysiological Detection of Deception. Dan is a speaker on the topic of relationships and deception, appearing in front of many national organizations including the American Polygraph Association.

Tonight, we’ll be discussing Dan’s book, Is He Lying to You? Welcome, Dan.


Dan Crum

(1:51): Thank you for having me on.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

(1:54): It’s a pleasure to have you. As a professional dating coach and matchmaker, I’m fascinated by insights and perspectives regarding relationships.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your book and would love to explore some of the insights shared in your book. Dan, what prompted you to write this book in the first place?


Dan Crum

(2:11): It all started when I was doing consulting work. People would bring me their friends and family and ask me to help them with different challenges. Then, someone suggested that I write a book and start formally teaching this stuff. I adapted these proven strategies to everyday situations.

I teach it using easy-to-understand terms and techniques that anyone can use. Now, I’ve been fortunate enough to teach thousands and thousands of people. I know that, if you use the principles that I teach, you will notice deception wherever you look.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

(2:44): You explain in your book that there are two different types of lies that men tell. One type is deletion and the other is fallacy. Explain the two types to our listeners.


Dan Crum

(3:00): Deletion is when you leave something out. Let’s say that I ask you what you did on Friday night. You tell me what you did but you really did five things and you tell me about four. Have you lied? I would say yes. Most likely, that fifth thing that you deleted, or left out, has been done in a way to deceive the person, to lie to them. Usually, it’s because there is something you’re hiding. That’s why you didn’t want to talk about that fifth thing.

Fallacy is what it sounds like. Someone says a statement and it is true or false. A fallacy is when someone tells you something that is absolutely false. It is a lie when they give you the answer.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

(3:46): It’s an outright lie.


Dan Crum

(3:48): Yes, absolutely.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

(3:51): You also lay out the following four reasons why men deceive in the first place. I’ll name them and then I’m going to ask you to explain and give examples of each one. The first reason is preservation. The second reason is courteous. The third reason is privacy. The fourth is deception. Can you explain each of the four and give our listeners an example of each one?


Dan Crum

(4:25): A lot of these terms are psychological terms. It’s really the preservation of yourself, your persona, your self-esteem and what people think of you. An example might be that someone knows you as a very successful business person. A reason you might lie would be to preserve the notion and belief that you still are a successful business person, even though you may have been laid off from your job, like many people have.

Someone asks you a question about your job. You don’t say, “I was laid off,” because that’s embarrassing to you. You need to preserve that belief that you’re still successful. You might lie and talk about how great your job is going and how you’re doing well for yourself.

The second one is courtesy. When someone lies out of courtesy, it is usually to protect your feelings. You might ask, “Do you like this dress I’m wearing?” or “What do you think of my new haircut?” To be courteous to you, they will tell you, “It looks great. I love it.” In fact, that’s not really the way they feel. They’re lying to be courteous to you.

The third reason is privacy. It’s when someone has a reason to believe that certain things in their life are meant to remain private. They don’t want to share them, even with people who are close to them, like people they’re in relationships with. Instead of coming out and telling you, “That’s none of your business. That’s private,” they’re going to lie to you.

They will either leave information out, deletion, or they’re going to give you an outright false statement, fallacy. They’re going to do it in such a way to keep certain aspects of their life private.

Then there is deception. In the book, I say, “Deception, plain and simple.” It’s when you’re lying, not for any justifiable reason. You’re lying, plain and simple. Maybe the person has a habit of lying. Maybe they’re a compulsive liar. Maybe this is a topic that they are not used to giving a true statement about.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

(7:06): This book is very interesting. You advise readers not to look for truthful behavior. What do you mean by that, Dan?


Dan Crum

(7:17): When someone looks for truthful behavior, they’re going to find it. Here’s why. Truthful behavior is one of the easiest things to fake. If you were to ask people, “What does truthful behavior look like?” you are going to get many more accurate answers than you would get if you asked someone, “What does lying look like?” If you ask someone, “What does truthful behavior look like?” they’re going to say, “Someone looks me straight in the eye.”

They will tell you things like, “They seemed pretty calm when they gave their answer. They didn’t jitter or move their body.” People can give the impression of truthfulness whether they’re being truthful or not. If you spend time looking for truthful behavior, you’re going to find it. Therefore, don’t look for that. You will most likely be deceived. What I talk about in the book is looking for deceptive behavior.

What you look for, you’re going to find. If you want to believe someone then keep doing what you’re doing. Look to believe them. Look for the truthful behavior. You’re going to see it. Even liars will show you truthful behavior. Not everything that they say is a lie. If you want to find out if someone is lying to you, which happens very often, you need to know what to look for. That’s a lot of what I talk about in my book.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

(8:46): You make one very compelling point in your book. I find it compelling given what I do day to day. You advise readers to address what you call their “biased focus” and take off their dating blinders. Share with our listeners what you mean by that.


Dan Crum

(9:09): The naughty word is to say that someone is “prejudiced.” A softer word is to say that you’re “biased.” Everyone should admit that they have biases. Biases are as simple as looking at someone wearing round glasses like Harry Potter and saying, “That person might be a nerd.” It might be looking at the person who wears a vest and thinking, “Maybe they’re a professor or a librarian.” We tend to put people in a box. We tend to make immediate judgments based on our previous experiences. I call those “dating blinders.” It’s really not giving a person a fair chance. You are immediately label them based on your previous experiences.

For the women out there, you meet a guy and he has tattoos on his arms. You say, “This is a wild man. Maybe he’s a biker. Maybe he’s in a gang.” If you’ve had experiences of people like that in the past, you place those same labels and biases on that new person. With a bias, you are putting them in a box.

You will prove the point of what you’re looking for. If you want to see them as a nerd, you’re going to look for ways that they’re a nerd. You’re going to prove yourself right. If you want to see that they’re a bad boy, you’re going to look for ways that they might be a bad boy. You’re going to prove yourself right.

With this entire book and everything that I teach, my number one principle is about fairness. I want to bring this back to a basic level. I did not write this book so that you can ruin relationships that are going well. I believe that, if someone has earned your trust, you’ve been dating for a while or you’re married to them and they’ve proven to be a trustworthy person, you should continue to trust them. You shouldn’t be on a witch hunt looking for deceptive behavior.

However, if there is a situation where you start to have concerns, doubt or a feeling that something is not right, that’s when you need to use these skills. That’s when you need to use what I teach and look for deceptive behavior. I have a strategy called “Get real.” It teaches you how to overcome this bias that we all have. It goes to the root. If you’re in a relationship, your bias might be, “I can trust my husband because he has never lied to me.” That’s good.

Stick with that until there is that concern, doubt or uneasy feeling. Then, go into it without saying, “I’m going to look for truthful behavior because I can trust him.” Go into it looking for deceptive behavior because that’s what you’re trying to find at that point.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

(12:09): I’m happy that you set the context. Your book guides readers to find what you call their “window of focus.” I know that your book goes into great detail. Let’s do a bit of a sampling to give readers some insights so that they can pick up your book and learn more. Share with us what you mean by “window of focus.”


Dan Crum

(12:36): People have this belief that, once you learn these strategies and skills, you will walk around and be a human lie detector. People have all seen the movies like Meet the Parents with a guy with my background. I’m former CIA. I have a background in polygraph. I’ve given all of these lie detector tests, done all these investigations and interviewed all these people.

People say, “It must be very difficult to be married to you. It must be difficult to be your children. You can’t get away with anything.” While I wish it was that powerful where you could literally walk around and be a human lie detector, it doesn’t really work that way. That would be a very difficult life to live. You would always have it turned on. This is a skill set.

You need to choose when to turn it on and when it’s appropriate to use. It should be reserved for situations where you have some concerns, doubts or uneasy feelings. You say to yourself, “I need to get to the bottom of this. I need to figure out what the real truth is behind what I’m concerned about.” To do that effectively, you need to choose when to turn it on. That would be your window of focus.

I’ll give you an example. Let’s say that you’re in a relationship with a new guy. You’ve gone on four or five dates with him. You talk on the phone. It’s weird. You always notice that, on Friday nights, he’s never available. He doesn’t talk to you on the phone on Friday nights. He doesn’t ever go on dates or arrange them with you on Friday nights.

You start to think, “This is really peculiar. Most people I know are available on Friday nights. He’s never talked about it. I wonder what’s going on.” You have this feeling. Now you want to dig deeper and find out what the issue is. I recommend that you come up with relevant or focused questions to get to the bottom of this and find out what’s really going on behind it. Your questions might be as simple as, “What do you do on Friday nights?” When you ask this question, you’re going to focus your attention on his answer. This is where you identify deceptive behavior. You identify deceptive behavior in a specific window of focus after you ask a question.

You ask this man, “What do you do on Friday nights?” He takes in the question. He acknowledges it. He understands what you just asked him. Now, he has a window of up to about five seconds. People have varying ranges of what they think is appropriate here. I would say up to about five seconds. Now you’re going to look for deceptive behavior. These are things he does with his body.

You’re going to listen for deceptive behavior in the things that he does with his voice. It’s only relevant within what this person does within that small window of focus. Outside of that, there could be a number of things that could impact what they do with their body and voice. You might look back at my book and say, “That was deceptive behavior.”

It may have been, but it wasn’t necessarily deceptive behavior related to the question that you just asked. You’re trying to determine if they were lying to you on the question that you asked them. That’s where it really matters. All of these other things don’t really matter except for what you’re trying to determine as truthful behavior.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

(16:19): I think that’s very interesting. Like you said, the timing is very important. You can’t take things in the book, attempt to apply them and notice things. You have to pay attention to the sequence of events, the interaction and the timing of everything.

Your book identifies the two biggest signs of deception. Tell us about them.


Dan Crum

(16:50): The two biggest signs of deception are what I call “sleep points” and “guilt twists.” Let me explain. The first is sleep points. All deceptive behavior comes down to what we do with our bodies and our voices. With sleep points, we’re talking about what someone does with their body. A sleep point is any part of your body that is at rest when a question is asked. If you’re sitting with your legs crossed, your sleep points would be the one foot on the ground, your butt and back on the chair. Your leg might be resting on the other leg. Your hands are wherever they’re resting.

We’ll go back to the example that we gave. You ask this man, “What do you do on Friday nights?” You want to notice if any of those body parts that are at rest, his sleep points, suddenly wake up within that window of focus. You would say, “What do you do on Friday nights?” If you were just looking at his body within this five second window, you notice that his legs that were crossed suddenly become uncrossed.

His back, which was leaning up against the back of the chair, comes off the back and leans forward. His arms, which might have been on the armrests, suddenly become lively and begin to gesture. This awakening of sleep points, this movement of these parts of the body that were resting, wake up because of your question. This is your body’s automatic way of responding to a stressful situation.

Why would a question be stressful to you unless your answer was deceptive and you have that innate fear of being caught in your lie? It goes back to primal instincts. A gazelle is sitting by a stream, drinking water. The lion approaches. It’s the whole fight, flight or freeze thing. It feels the stress. “Oh no. I might get caught by this lion.” It has to make a determination of what it does. The way that we all deal with stress is different. Sometimes we freeze up. Sometime we run. Sometimes we fight. In humans, the way that you release the stress is by moving parts of your body that were at rest. These sleep points suddenly wake up.

In the reverse, you create a new sleep point. This is a little more advanced. This goes back to a strategy called your “WIN” or “What is normal behavior?” In normal ways that you answer a question, let’s say that you always gesture with your hands. Let’s say that your right hand is your predominately gesturing hand. Suddenly, you ask, “What do you do on Friday nights?”

That hand suddenly goes to sleep. That hand, which always gestures, freezes and goes down onto the armrest when you give the answer. We’re just like animals in that sense. When we tell a lie and we fear detection, we release the stress of that feeling by freezing up, fighting or fleeing. Usually, this involves the sleep points waking up or a new sleep point being created. That’s more advanced. That encompasses most of what is non-verbal, or physiological, deceptive behavior.

The other big sign of deception is what I call “guilt twists.” As a generalization, women are more likely to be affected by guilt twists. Guys are more likely to use them. Here’s an example. Let’s say that a woman asks a man if he’s ever had a one-night stand. The guy responds, “I can’t believe you asked me that. Do you really think I’m that kind of guy? How long have we known each other?”

The woman actually feels guilty for even asking the question. The guy didn’t even answer it. A guilt twist works extremely well for a deceptive person. When you ask someone a question, they make you feel guilty for asking it. They don’t really give you an answer. You’re less likely to broach that subject in the future. You’re more likely to say, “Woah. They’re very sensitive to that. I clearly offended them. That’s not a road I want to go down again.” You never really got your answer. They were effectively deceptive. This is called a guilt twist.

I’ll give you one more example. Let’s go back to that example of, “What do you do on Friday nights?” The man could say, “What are you, my mother? Are you my secretary? Do I have to give you my schedule? Do you have to keep my calendar for me?” That’s a very defensive answer. It’s the perfect example of a guilt twist. Think about it. Did he say what he does on Friday nights? No. He didn’t answer your question.

Guilt twists almost always include a missing answer. He doesn’t answer your question. He makes you feel guilty for asking him the question. The reason that it’s called a “guilt twist” is because he twists the focus from himself back to you, the questioner. It’s so effective. As a generalization, women will feel the guilt. They don’t want to go down that road again. They never really got the answer they wanted.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

(22:44): He just closed down the communication about that particular topic. Those were sleep points and guilt twists. Those are non-verbal signs of deception.

Your book identifies 14 types of verbal deception. Please share a couple of them with our listeners that you find to be most common.


Dan Crum

(23:23): We mentioned the guilt twists. I mentioned another one that I call the missing answer. One of the most common things that people don’t often notice is that someone will give you a verbal answer to your question, but the answer they give you doesn’t include an answer to your real question. It’s usually something unrelated. You could ask, “What do you do on Friday nights?” He says a bunch of things in that guilt twist, but none of them include what he does on Friday nights. A big verbal deceptive behavior is when they give you a response but don’t really answer your question.

Another one is an excuse. You hear them all the time. Men are really good at using excuses. It can be something like, “What did you to do that woman?” He says, “I’m a doctor. My job is to help people, not hurt them.” He is throwing out an excuse as to why he wouldn’t hurt someone but not that he didn’t hurt the person. You’ll hear that all the time. In my book, I talk about the missing answer. Most of the time, when you hear a verbal deceptive behavior, it doesn’t directly answer the question that you asked. It usually, in some way, talks around it. An excuse is the perfect example of talking around the answer.

A delay is another one. Someone might repeat your question. You ask them and they will repeat back what you just asked them. You say, “Have you ever had a one-night stand?” They say, “Have I ever had a one-night stand?” It’s like a difficult thing for them to understand. You’ll see people act like they can’t hear you. You might be in a restaurant. That is a way to delay. They might act like they get a phone call.

With the guilt twists that I already talked about, you’ll see many examples of that. There are varying examples in the book. I highly encourage all of you to check out the book. I think you’ll really love it.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

(25:34): There are several types of verbal and non-verbal deception that you lay out within the book. You mentioned the term “getting real.” I think this is so fundamental to the learnings in your book. Spend a couple of moments sharing with our listeners where that fits into this whole thing.


Dan Crum

(26:02): I have an entire chapter dedicated to getting real. It is spelled “REELL.” It stands for Reset your Eyes and Ears, Look and Listen. I say “get real” because it’s easy to understand. When someone tells you something, you think, “Yeah, right. Get real. That doesn’t make sense.” This goes back to one of the primary reasons that I did this. It is to be fair to people.

Get to the bottom of some feeling or intuition that you have when something is not right. Do it in a manner that’s fair. Don’t go in with bias. Don’t go in like it’s a witch hunt, believing that someone is guilty before they’re guilty or they’re a liar before they’re a liar. See everyone with a clean slate. This is a person that you’re meeting for the first time.

When you meet them, you ignore the physical. You ignore those tattoos. You ignore the glasses. You don’t make judgments based on your biases. Let’s go back to what it stands for. It stands for Reset your Eyes and Ears, Look and Listen from a fresh perspective. It’s something that I encourage people to say to themselves internally. You want to think to yourself, “I am going to be fair.”

Say to yourself, “Get REELL.” Know that it means, “Reset my eyes and ears, look and listen.” You give that person a fair chance. You’re hearing things in a way where you’re not trying to prove your bias correctly. You’re seeing things in a way where you not trying to prove your bias correctly. You’re not on this witch hunt trying to find them guilty or prove their innocence.

You’re seeing it with eyes and listening with ears that allow people a fair chance to prove whether they’re someone you can trust or someone you find deceptive. I want to share what I think is the most common question that I get. People say to me, “This is really good stuff. I love the principles you teach in this book. It seems like our communication nowadays is very digital.” You and I are on the phone together. We might be texting back and forth. You’re in a chat on the computer. You’re on email. It’s this digital communication that we all have. Then people say, “How do I apply what I learned in this book to the digital age in those situations?” When I published this book, instead of trying to throw in an extra bonus chapter to address it, I wrote a separate book.

It’s a follow-up to this one. It’s called The Faceless Liar. The subtitle is, Is He Lying to You on the Phone, Email, Text or Chat? I will allow your listeners to get a free copy of The Faceless Liar. I’ve included it as an ebook. You can download it and get it for free. You can go to LyingBook.com. Click on “buy now” to order Is He Lying to You? That’s the book that we’re talking about today.

You can buy the book at a special price for $14.99. When you order it, you will get an immediate download of The Faceless Liar ebook. That ebook sells for $14.99 and people buy it every day. If you order Is He Lying to You? from LyingBook.com, you get both books for the price of one.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

(29:48): That’s excellent. Is there any last thought or take-home message that you’d like to leave our listeners with?


Dan Crum

(30:01): There is a concept that we didn’t talk about called “WIN.” It stands for What Is Normal? If you want to have an immediate take-away to know if someone is lying to you, this is it. Think about what is normal. In every situation that you go into, spend a little bit of time. It could be two or three minutes. Ask normal, easy and non-threatening questions.

Determine for yourself what normal behavior is for the person that you’re in a conversation with. Look at what they do with their bodies, how they gesture and how they sit. Listen to the way that they answer questions. They might always say, “Do you know what I mean?” or “Generally.” People have ways of speaking and moving that are common. It’s normal behavior in answering questions for that person.

Now, you use the same acronym, WIN, turn “is” into “isn’t.” You ask yourself, “What isn’t normal when I ask these relevant, important questions that are related to the thing that I’m trying to determine?” Now you ask, “What do you do on Friday nights?” All you think about is, “I know what they normally do when they answer. Now I’m going to look for what isn’t normal behavior.”

It kind of encompasses everything that I teach. They always gesture and now they don’t. That isn’t normal for the way they answer. You see them uncross their legs and they normally have them crossed. That isn’t normal. You hear them give a missing answer and they’re usually very direct. They delay and act like they can’t hear you where before they could hear you.

That’s the easiest take-away. It encompasses everything. Remember to WIN, what is normal. Once you figure that out, look for what isn’t normal. Oftentimes, it reveals deception in the person you’re talking to.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

(31:45): I’d like to thank Dan Crum for joining us today. It’s been a pleasure. If you’d like to learn about the insights that Dan’s been sharing with us today, his book is entitled, Is He Lying to You? He mentioned a generous offer of The Faceless Liar. They’re both available at LyingBook.com.

In case you joined us late or would like to share this show with people in your life, I’d like to remind you that today’s radio show will be archived and available as a podcast on Intersections Match’s website, which is www.IntersectionsMatch.com. I can be reached at jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com. I appreciate you hanging out with us. Do email me with topics you’d like discussed in future shows. Make sure to join us for next month’s show. Thank you so much.  


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