Deception Detection In Non Verbals, Linguistics And Data.

Elections and Deceptions

Election mode in Australia and the U.S means electoral spin and truth stretching, although in Trump's case it was stretched and broken long ago -- Pulitzer winning web site  and their truth-o-meter have tracked and verified Trump's election statements as 70% false or lies!

Politics is becoming less about policies and political messages and more personality driven as the major parties begin to look more and more similar.

Studies from the U.S show over 70% accuracy in predicting election outcomes by showing voters photographs of politicians and asking them who looks more competent, and who looks more trustworthy.

With a more cynical electorate, politicians try to appeal to a wide range of people, to be everything to everyone, and so represent themselves with varying degrees of spin - a form of deception.

Politicians don't answer questions that would make them look bad or alienate part of their electorate, and so use equivocation and hedging to minimise the impact of what they are saying, even ignoring the question (ignoring the question in a political interview happened around 40% of the time, UK, Peter Bull, Claptrap And Ambiguities).

So words from speeches and interviews can be used to track spin and honesty among politicians. And just like in FBI Statement Analysis, we tend to see discomfort and stress in the communication leakage of politicians who are stretching the truth. We see it in the "I" pronoun usage being reduced as they distance themselves from what is being said, we see it in an increase of words conveying negative emotions (Pennebaker, Uni Texas), and see it with an increase of action words to keep the story moving along.

Words have also been used in election  and voter sentiment prediction, such as tens of thousands of twitter feeds being used to predict the German election outcome based on voter sentiment--

Jeremy Frimer also tracked voter sentiment with what he calls Prosocial language, plotting a direct correlation to language used in Congress and voter sentiment plunging to an all time low of 9% satisfaction with Congress.

I have analysed election speeches from Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten, as well as all the election speeches of every Prime Minister and Opposition Leader in Australia going back to 1903 using psychological text analysis software and custom MatLab code to determine if it was possible to create a model on linguistics alone, on what is said in speeches and separate the winners from the losers.

It turns out that there are 9 categories or "bundles" of words that Australian election winners use more of, and election losers use less of, and vice versa. This is significant at at the 5% level.

This allows for a fairly easy creation and testing of a linguistic model for winning Australian Elections.

So for example, words that relate to negative emotions (nearly 400 words selected by psychologists are in this group) are highly significant, and using them reveals conscious and even subconscious negative emotions about what is being said. This type of analysis has also been used in criminal statement analysis.

I ran my model over Malcolm Turnbull's speeches as well as Bill Shorten and gave Turnbull an 85-90% probability of winning. This was 4 weeks ago when the Befair odds on Liberal were $1.45. I was hoping they would lengthen for the Liberals, but only Shorten has lengthened!

Alas, Turnbull is at unbackable odds of $1.22 at the moment, translating into about 80% chance of winning, so the Betfair market is moving closer to my assessment.

This is despite the media hyping up the chances of Labor, painting the election as "too close to call" about a week ago. The significance of the Betfair market (and most betting markets) has been well known for quite a while as far more accurate than polls.

The lower take on winnings from Betfair and zero longshot/favourite bias means a more accurate barometer than bookmakers, media and polls. See for example

Of course, it's not just politicians stretching the truth during a campaign, it's media too. Each have an agenda to push.

Language is never neutral. The same words can mean different things to different people because we all carry our own internal dictionary. When we listen to someone talk, we assume things based on our interpretation of what they are saying. Words create pictures in our mind.

That's why the Bush campaign used "Tax Relief" instead of "Tax Cuts"; the visual minds-eye message is much more powerful because you are now giving people a relief from a burden. And so "Drilling for Oil" becomes "Energy Exploration", "Gambling" becomes "Gaming" (you don't think of a loser in a raincoat with a crushed up form guide anymore, gaming is something new and exciting with family-friendly venues).

Whenever euphemisms are used, such as the military use of "collateral damage" or the media love of the legal euphemism "execute" for a wanton murder, an agenda is being promoted.

Words are the toolbox of persuasion. Language experts are on both sides of politics, advising what words to use, which phrases poll higher. Experts like Frank Lund for the Republicans and George Lakoff for the Democrats.

Both of these experts have written books which can be bought on Amazon, and show the current state of the art as far as political linguistics goes.

If you accept a word and use it, you accept the frame (as Lakoff calls it) that comes with that word.

Different interest groups use words that frame their agenda the way they want it. So "Boat People" becomes "Refugees" which becomes "Asylum Seekers", while others may say "Economic Refugees" depending on their frame, and so on.

A handy way to see how word usage changes over time, becoming more or less popular is to use Google's  is to use Ngram Viewer:

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