During the Iraq War in 2007, two soldiers, disguised in British military coveralls, stand in front of rebel suspects at an interrogation room in Basra, Iraq Spitting on the floor, a pair of interrogators said with an intimidating voice, “You all screwed up. Say sorry for your attitude. What a damned killer! One of you will be hanged. Who will be? You?”
The Guardian released a scene of an interrogation room in Basra. It turned out that the interrogators were provided with little information. Even if they managed to acquire some pieces of intelligence, most of them turned out to be a groundless lie.
The book’s authors explain that mental and physical threat and torture do not make any difference in garnering useful intelligence during interrogations. Nevertheless, it is not a persuasive way to make a cup of tea and cajole suspects into telling the truth. “Fake communication” does not last that long. There is not so much that you can get by using a deceptive trick to lead someone else to confess about the last thing that he or she wants to come to light.
As one of the authors has delved into killings, rapes, child sexual abuses and terrorist acts for 20 years, the researcher recommends developing a good rapport with others. This begs the question of if the ability to build up rapport is exclusive to those who are born with social skills. The authors say that the key lies in having a good understanding of the elements of rapport – honesty, sympathy, autonomy and reflection. In particular, reflection gives us one of the most powerful tools to gain the upper hand in discussion as it helps us remind ourselves of what keywords we have heard and what emotions and feelings have been shared during talks.
However, all kinds of dialogues do not unfold with the same conditions set up in the background. This is where “animal circles” come in to help us figure out the personality of ourselves and others and build rapport in a relationship. For the sake of readers’ understanding, the authors use animals as symbols of human interactions – Confront, Capitulate, Control and Co-operate.
Although the topic of this book may sound mundane and boring, a closer look allows us to learn A to Z about the magical way of interaction that works out for violent criminals, tricky bosses and naughty kids. We vent our anger about all the chores that we alone have to take care of while doing the dishes and letting pots and dishes clatter harshly in the kitchen. The rest of family only gives a hand to us with superficial courtesy. If the same happens around us, this book may teach us how to lead conversation directly and without conflict.