How Does Celebrity Lie Detector Lena Sisco Uncover The Truth?

Why should you believe Lena Sisco?

You may have seen her on the TV series Couples Court or analyzing Amber Heard's testimony in the Johnny Depp case, but Lena is also a former US Naval intelligence officer and certified military interrogator who worked at Guantanamo Bay. Essentially, she's equipped with a built-in lie detector.

“I want to protect people,” Sisco said. “And I’m constantly developing tools to do it.” 

She has also appeared on Dr. Drew assessing celebrity body language and on Inside Story with host Humphrey Hawksley, so SPYSCAPE was curious about how Sisco discerns fact from fiction.

She boiled her system down to four main questions for SPYSCAPE readers (see the full four questions and Lena's explanations below). While her Q&A isn’t meant to be 100 percent accurate, Sisco uses it as a guide and employs other strategies taught in her training courses.


Lena Sisco, certified military interrogator and SPYEX speaker
Lena Sisco developed a non-accusatory, strategic interviewing method

Rapport-based interrogation

Sisco has also developed what she calls a ‘rapport-based, non-accusatory, strategic interviewing method’ which she uses in corporate training and while teaching strategy to Virginia law enforcement officers, Navy Special Forces, Nasa, and US border patrol security. 


Lena Sisco’s Lie Detection Test: Four Questions in Search of the Truth

Q1 - Did you lie to me? Or, are you lying?

“What I’m looking for is a simple yes or no,” Sisco said. “Typically liars convince you of information. Truth tellers convey it.”

Sisco expects a truthful person to say “no” without overselling it. But a liar might say, “No, why would I lie to you?” or “I would never lie to you.” Basically, anything other than a simple “no” may be a red flag. Sisco also looks at body language. A person saying “no” is likely to also shake their head “no”. If their head is nodding “yes” or looking away, that’s another red flag.


Q2 - What do you think should happen to the person who did ‘X’? (X meaning the crime in question.)

“If I hear any type of leniency then it probably means... you’re either guilty of knowledge or guilty of association, so I have to dive into that a little bit more,” Sisco said. “A truthful person who has nothing to do with the event should say, ‘No, they should be punished for what they did.’ It’s that simple.”


Q3 - Why should I believe you?

“Number three is my favorite,” Sisco said, “because the truthful person usually says, ‘Because I’m telling you the truth,’ or ‘I’m being honest.’ But a liar will say anything else… ‘Because I haven’t lied to you, because I’m a good person and that’s just not what I do.’ Wrong.”

Q4: How do you feel about X? (X meaning the event, or whatever the interview subject is describing.)

“If a person is telling you the truth that means they have feelings associated with X, and they’re going to be honest and say, ‘I don’t like it,’ or ‘I feel offended,’ or ‘Well, I was pissed off.’ They are going to give me how they felt,” Sisco said.

“If what they’ve talked about is a lie, most of the time - 99 percent of the time - when people make up a lie they forget to attach the emotions and feelings to the lie. And so, when you ask them about it, they have to stop and think: ‘Oh shoot, how should I have felt? I lied about this. It really didn’t happen, but if it did happen I guess I should have felt offended.’”

Sisco is also analyzing the inflection in their voice. If the answer is, “I guess I felt offended,” Sisco becomes suspicious. Either the person is offended or not, so they don’t need to phrase it as a question.

Lena Sisco's Four Clever Questions To Find Out If Your Partner Is Lying

SPYSCAPE
Share
Share to Facebook
Share with email

Why should you believe Lena Sisco?

You may have seen her on the TV series Couples Court or analyzing Amber Heard's testimony in the Johnny Depp case, but Lena is also a former US Naval intelligence officer and certified military interrogator who worked at Guantanamo Bay. Essentially, she's equipped with a built-in lie detector.

“I want to protect people,” Sisco said. “And I’m constantly developing tools to do it.” 

She has also appeared on Dr. Drew assessing celebrity body language and on Inside Story with host Humphrey Hawksley, so SPYSCAPE was curious about how Sisco discerns fact from fiction.

She boiled her system down to four main questions for SPYSCAPE readers (see the full four questions and Lena's explanations below). While her Q&A isn’t meant to be 100 percent accurate, Sisco uses it as a guide and employs other strategies taught in her training courses.


Lena Sisco, certified military interrogator and SPYEX speaker
Lena Sisco developed a non-accusatory, strategic interviewing method

Rapport-based interrogation

Sisco has also developed what she calls a ‘rapport-based, non-accusatory, strategic interviewing method’ which she uses in corporate training and while teaching strategy to Virginia law enforcement officers, Navy Special Forces, Nasa, and US border patrol security. 


Article Ad
Article Ad
Article Ad


Essentially, Sisco creates a safe environment from the start, offering a comfortable chair and finding common ground - that might be something small like a shared love of mint tea or something more emotional, such as missing a family member. Then Sisco reveals something personal to encourage even the most resistant stranger to do the same, building mutual respect and trust along the way.

While in the military, Sisco was sent to Guantanamo Bay, where she used her rapport-based approach in interviews with inmates: “I’m definitely not threatening and I’d smile.” Sisco said she doesn’t believe bullying or coercive tactics work when the goal is to uncover the truth.

“Maybe in Hollywood, but it doesn’t work in real life, that whole Mutt ‘n Jeff, good cop-bad cop,” Sisco said. “When you need - not just the confession, or where the next attack is - but when you need all of the details that go along with that, the person has got to want to be open and honest with you. “ 

After months of offering up high-grade intelligence, one detainee told Sisco he confided in her because she was kind and he’d feel ‘guilty’ if he lied to her.

Human lie detector

Guantanamo Bay is a long way from Main Street USA, but Sisco’s training straddles both worlds.

She grew up in Rhode Island, earned her MA in archeology at Brown University, and was digging up relics in Italy and Greece in 1997 when she decided to look for a new challenge. A friend suggested the military, noting: “If you can’t be Indiana Jones you may as well be James Bond and get paid for it."

Sisco joined the reserves at Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and later became a certified Department of Defense interrogator. She was training to become a commissioned Naval Intelligence officer when she saw two jets hit the World Trade Center on television on September 11, 2001.

“Twenty minutes later, I got a phone call from my commanding officer and he said, ‘Get ready. Pack your bags because you’re going to war.’”

By 2002, Sisco was in Guantanamo Bay, spending half of her year in Cuba and the other half working in Maryland. When she left the Navy, she focused on military training contracts, eventually starting her own company. 

For the last five years, Sisco’s trained American executives who want to adapt field-tested intelligence methods to find an edge in the business world. 


Lena Sisco, certified military interrogator and SPYEX speaker
Sisco trains C-Suite executives and sales teams

Lena Sisco, human lie detector

“For any kind of leader or team builder, it is about genuinely knowing your people and whether or not they are truly motivated,” Sisco said.

She’s also coached sales teams: “If you want to know if someone is genuinely interested in becoming a stakeholder, or an investor, or a true buyer - and knowing their level of sincerity when they tell you they are interested in buying ‘X’ - then use my techniques.”


Lena Sisco has trained Navy Special Forces, the Joint Forces Command, and NASA. Contact
SPYEX to learn how Lena’s expertise can improve your business.

Lena Sisco’s Lie Detection Test: Four Questions in Search of the Truth

Q1 - Did you lie to me? Or, are you lying?

“What I’m looking for is a simple yes or no,” Sisco said. “Typically liars convince you of information. Truth tellers convey it.”

Sisco expects a truthful person to say “no” without overselling it. But a liar might say, “No, why would I lie to you?” or “I would never lie to you.” Basically, anything other than a simple “no” may be a red flag. Sisco also looks at body language. A person saying “no” is likely to also shake their head “no”. If their head is nodding “yes” or looking away, that’s another red flag.


Q2 - What do you think should happen to the person who did ‘X’? (X meaning the crime in question.)

“If I hear any type of leniency then it probably means... you’re either guilty of knowledge or guilty of association, so I have to dive into that a little bit more,” Sisco said. “A truthful person who has nothing to do with the event should say, ‘No, they should be punished for what they did.’ It’s that simple.”


Q3 - Why should I believe you?

“Number three is my favorite,” Sisco said, “because the truthful person usually says, ‘Because I’m telling you the truth,’ or ‘I’m being honest.’ But a liar will say anything else… ‘Because I haven’t lied to you, because I’m a good person and that’s just not what I do.’ Wrong.”

Q4: How do you feel about X? (X meaning the event, or whatever the interview subject is describing.)

“If a person is telling you the truth that means they have feelings associated with X, and they’re going to be honest and say, ‘I don’t like it,’ or ‘I feel offended,’ or ‘Well, I was pissed off.’ They are going to give me how they felt,” Sisco said.

“If what they’ve talked about is a lie, most of the time - 99 percent of the time - when people make up a lie they forget to attach the emotions and feelings to the lie. And so, when you ask them about it, they have to stop and think: ‘Oh shoot, how should I have felt? I lied about this. It really didn’t happen, but if it did happen I guess I should have felt offended.’”

Sisco is also analyzing the inflection in their voice. If the answer is, “I guess I felt offended,” Sisco becomes suspicious. Either the person is offended or not, so they don’t need to phrase it as a question.

Read mORE

RELATED aRTICLES

This story is part of our weekly briefing. Sign up to receive the FREE briefing to your inbox.

Gadgets & Gifts

Put your spy skills to work with these fabulous choices from secret notepads & invisible inks to Hacker hoodies & high-tech handbags. We also have an exceptional range of rare spy books, including many signed first editions.

Shop Now

Your Spy SKILLS

We all have valuable spy skills - your mission is to discover yours. See if you have what it takes to be a secret agent, with our authentic spy skills evaluation* developed by a former Head of Training at British Intelligence. It's FREE so share & compare with friends now!

dISCOVER Your Spy SKILLS

* Find more information about the scientific methods behind the evaluation here.