Psychoanalyze this suspect behavior for me

So I’m watching The First 48 again tonight, and I’ve noticed that it is not uncommon for suspects in the interrogation room to pull their arms completely inside their shirts and huddle up.

Why? I assume it’s not because they’re cold, as I don’t see female suspects do this, and it’s nationwide. What might be driving this behavior?

It’s a defensive position, similar to crossing your arms, or covering your genitals. I read a book written by an FBI “deception expert”, who claimed these are signs of deception.

I think it might be something people automatically do when they are scared.

You know I’m going to give a vote for it just being #@&*ing cold in there along with the fact the chest is not a private area for men. They have likely been there for HOURS AND HOURS in that same cold room so its not surprising they do something to get warm.

Why don’t women do it? Well the chest and breasts are a private area so I imagine its less likely for a woman to want to start pulling their arms in or exposing their bra. Also women’s tops fit much tighter than a loose men’s Tshirt.

(Have you ever been in a police station or the visitor’s section of a country jail? In Texas they seem at be kept at 60F year round which is just cold enough to be very uncomfortable and often its 90F or above outside so you are not dressed for that. Try to spend a few hours in a 60F room in nothing but a thin Tshirt.)

Guilty: 1
Cold: 1

I’ve never been caught, so I can’t break this tie. Anyone with law enforcement background that can perhaps offer personal insight?

In the area of mixed demographics where I live, if the temperature drops below 80-85 degrees, people pull their hoodies up over their heads, and it’s not unusual to see them wearing heavy winter coats with fleece lined hoods.

I don’t think there’s any psychoanalyzing to be done.

That was my (non-professional) impression, too. I imagine the next step is curling up in the fetal position.

This is probably better suited to IMHO than GQ.

General Questions Moderator

I wonder if some of them are trying to conceal tattoos or other identifying marks for whatever reason. Are they made aware that they are being filmed for possible inclusion on a television show? A lot of these guys roll (at least, back when I watched that show all the time they did) so it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to be easily identified as a snitch. While gangs don’t likely know the legal names of each member, and street names are easy enough to change, it would be hard to dispute that, yeah, that was you on TV rolling over on every person you’ve ever come in contact with when you have distinctive tattoos and what not all up and down your arms.

^^^ That one gets my vote. ‘Cold’ would have been my first presumption, but if they know they’re being filmed, then yeah, no point in advertising.

My first thought was cold. Sometimes on cop shows you see them turn the thermostat up or down to make the perp uncomfortable in hopes that they would talk.

They’re in police interrogation rooms filmed on what are (I presume) hidden cameras. It’s a bit late to try and hide an identifying mark, as they’re under arrest at that point.

Yes. However, I’m not talking about them hiding the marks from police, I’m talking about them hiding the marks from the audience of a television show that is broadcast nationwide, hence the “filmed for inclusion on a television show” in the bit you quoted, and talking about being identified by other criminal types based on such marks (rather than legal and/or street names) in the bit you did not quote.

People go ‘cold with fear’, so it could also be a case of getting colder faster when the person is afraid, so police might have a feel for that.

Problem being of course, you dont need to be guilty to be afraid when you’re in a police interview room, and they could be conflating the two.


Been arrested, held in a cell… It was cold. DAMN cold, and all concrete. Ever sit on a concrete bench in a cold room?

Also, the bastards left me handcuffed. Right, I’m in a locked room in the heart of the police station. Handcuffed.

I guess this was to keep me from putting my arms inside my shirt…

That’s also what a lot of high school kids do. Walk through any school in the south where temperatures outside are significantly higher than inside and you’ll see a lot of guys(especially) pulling their arms inside their T-Shirts. This is also how a lot of male students nap in class: pull arms in and rest head on desk.

I mostly see this among the African American students. I think this is because generally it’s more fashionable to wear baggier shirts in that segment of high school society. Generally leaner too because basketball is very popular in the black population of the South.

I’m not the old white guy that rants about baggy clothes on The Youth of Today. I couldn’t care less about baggy clothes generally, and actually find it somewhat more appealing.

So add together that The First 48 seems to focus more on the South, the fact that they seem to feature young black men disproportionately, and the fact that loose fitting clothing is generally more popular among young black men(in the southern high schools I’ve been in) and you’ll have your answer.

Or I’m full of shit and I’m about to receive a cyber beat-down for coming off as vaguely racist or something.

It’s so you can rip off the patch of skin that covers up the kit that the agency had secreted under your left arm. With the aid of the lock picks, the two phials of instant but non-lethal sedative and the spool of invisible yet super strong thread, you should be able to engineer your escape.

Hopefully you can work out who is trying to frame you in time to save the president but it will be hard since they have made you seem to be a cop killer.

Now if you can just get out of view of the camera.

I like the way you think and would like to be your jail breakout buddy in the near future.

I’ve never done that and never seen it done, but I do know jails are kept cold.

Ah, the distinctiveness of being Canadian! I remember visitng London England once, and in the morning I’m walking through Hyde Park in short sleeves and I realize that (a) there’s frost on the grass and (b) everyone else is wearing puffy coats. See this a lot when I visit New York, we wander around in shirts or short sleeves and the locals seem to wear sweaters if it’s below 75 (22C) out. FLorida was even worse, it’s 60 and the locals are wearing winter coats. We went swimming in the Disney Lagoon water park in January when it’s warmer in the water than out, and everyone else has winter coats and gloves on…

So I’m going to go with… southern Americans with low body fat are temperature wussies.

I’m a Criminologist in Canada so I think I can shed some light here.

First, I watch the First 48 here, I’ve even used it as a presentation for the homicide section in one of my Intro Criminology classes. And I have seen females - both witnesses and suspects - who have pulled their arms into their shirts in the interview rooms.

As to the theories why, both the “cold room” and “deception/hiding” theories are correct. It is common for interrogators to use environmental factors to make suspects uncomfortable in order to provoke behaviours, throw them off their stories, or just spook them into confessing.

At the same time, the behaviour is one of self-protection; the witness or suspect may be showing physically that they are trying to conceal something, protect themselves in some way, or hold themselves out of fear and the attempt at physical security. It’s a fascinating bit of behaviour; I would be interested to see any research on it in terms of types of crimes where witnesses/suspects do it, demographic characteristics… but I’m a bit of a research geek and fascinated by criminal behaviour. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be a criminologist.

See? You’re all pretty smart folks!!