How to manipulate the truth out of someone?

Like the title says. In many crime type tv. shows such as Lie To Me, Bones, etc the guilty are often put into a corner with words and are forced to tell the truth. I’m wondering how this is actually done. Is there a specific formula that an investigator would follow to get the truth out of someone? Is it based on being able to determine the individual’s personality early on and using psychology to get them to tell the truth… somehow? And, how would you do this? Anyone have real life experience or knowledge? I’m really curious. Thanks.

Is he a guy? Show him your boobs.

The Reid technique is often brought up in this context. More info here

There’s a book for everything.

Amazon has tons of books on interviewing and interrogation. For a real life case study of this sort of thing, I can’t recommend enough How to Break a Terrorist. It’s about the guys who killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of Al Qaeda in Iraq, through nothing more than just talking to people.

This book is one of the official police ‘bibles’ on the subject. Although it’s a little expensive, if you’re seriously interested in the subject then I can heartily recommend it.

It’s very hard to condense such a vast subject into a short reply, but basically there are alpha and omega strategies.

Alpha strategies involve getting the subject to see telling the truth as a desirable course of action. One part of this is providing emotionally compelling reasons that the subject might relate to: because it will make problems go away, because they never intended all this mess to happen, because the truth is going to come out eventually and they may as well cut to the chase, because otherwise they are hurting other people, because their conscience will annoy them… and so on. Another part is providing a tangible reward: it will ‘get it over with’, it will mean a lesser punishment or a less harsh outcome, it will avoid ongoing problems, it gives the subject a chance to show that he’s basically a decent sort of person or someone fundamentally honest who just made a mistake.

Omega strategies approach the same thing from the other point of view - getting the subject to see lying as undesirable, something to avoid. Much of the same reasoning can be presented, just with a different emphasis: lying will only cause more and more problems/complications the longer it goes on, and will only mean a harsher punishment for the subject in the long run.

On TV the people who confess are always guilty. They generally cave in about 30 seconds, because everything has to be wrapped up in time for the closing credits. That doesn’t happen too much in the real world, where people confronted with evidence are more likely to sound like Shaggy in “It Wasn’t Me.”

It’s also dangerous to equate a criminal confession with truth in all cases. Sadly, police and prosecutors are sometimes more interested in getting a conviction than in learning the truth. “In about 25% of DNA exoneration cases, innocent defendants made incriminating statements, delivered outright confessions or pled guilty. These cases show that confessions are not always prompted by internal knowledge or actual guilt, but are sometimes motivated by external influences.”

DNA exonerations are rare–law enforcement authorities resist conducting DNA testing when a suspect is already in prison-- so presumably there are quite a few people behind bars due in part to false confessions.

My daughter had an incident at her school, where a boy reached around from behind her and grabbed her breast.

I thought what the dean did was very clever. As Ivygirl was relating the incident, the dean said, “No one saw that happen.” Ivygirl stuck to her guns.

Then they brought the boy in, after his denial, and the dean said, “Someone saw you do it.” He spilled the beans and was disciplined.

i recently tricked the truth out of two friends using the classic prisoner’s dilemma. I told each that the other had already told me and they caved. Well, that is to say that I implied I already knew the truth, which I did.