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She exposes people when they lie: How do you become a profiler?
She exposes people when they lie: How do you become a profiler?

A profiler unpacks: Sabrina Rizzo recognizes just by looking at what makes people tick. What can we learn from her? We spoke to the German expert about her everyday job and strategies that help to expose lies. Here you can find out what all of this has to do with chopping onions and why men don't nod as often as women.

She exposes people when they lie: How do you become a profiler?
She exposes people when they lie: How do you become a profiler?

Suddenly raised corners of the mouth, twitching fingers: this cool lady hardly escapes anything! Sabrina Rizzo is a profiler and expert in facial expressions and body language. If the Police don't know what to do next The phone rings for Rizzo, 46, in her Hamburg office. It is used in so-called cold cases, i.e. unsolved murder cases, to pinch alleged perpetrators and bring them to a confession. Rizzo then sits behind a mirrored glass wall during police interrogations of suspects scans statements for their truthfulness.

Is he or she lying? Does the posture match what has been said? How valid is the alibi? This is what profiling means Reading a person's behavior. What she notices during the interrogation, Rizzo immediately passes on via a so-called "communication pipeline" - a monitor including a chat function - to the detective, who then adjusts his conversation tactics. What matters and what Rizzo sees that others may not notice, the German brought us closer in conversation.


This is how to expose liars

"Before such operations, I of course study the perpetrator very carefully. Sometimes I only have a picture available. how people tick and where its shortcomings lie. But also what are his intentions? How do his facial expressions and his physiognomy work during the interrogation? ", The profiler explains her specially developed approach, which she describes as a cybernetic approach.

This includes four building blocks: seeing emotions, perceiving manipulations, mastering questioning techniques and recognizing lies. "I can read people. I recognize which trauma someone has experienced and what personality problems “An example?” If a perpetrator had problems with his mother in childhood, he will always seek approval as an adult. Then we slip into the role of his mother during the interrogation and give him back the recognition that he never received before. In this way we fill a deficit, which makes the suspect more willing to give us something. "A confession, for example.

"Men lie very differently from women."

Before doing this, it is of course necessary to check the alleged perpetrator's statements. Only: how does she do it? How do you actually recognize a lie? Can you also use your techniques as a layperson? Yes you can. Something like this: "If someone tells you something and you have doubts, use the retarding moment (French: retarder = to delay, note)." In other words: just let a few seconds pass, say nothing and make it clear to the other person non-verbally that he or she is not believed - for example with a questioning look. "A liar tries to postpone an argument for the allegation because he suspects he may have been exposed. Someone who has been honest usually moves on to the next topic and may be a little surprised at the situation."

Shall we go chopping onions?

Whatever works well, Rizzo says, is an overload strategy: Suppose you suspect your partner and want to know where he was last night: "Give him the job of chopping onion while you cook, and then get started with your question. When we hear a lie, we need a lot of cognitive resources because we have to memorize them in order to be able to reproduce them later. So that these resources can be used, I interrupt other activities in order to concentrate better. "We only have around five to seven chunks - i.e. data units in the brain - available per second. And these are breathing, feeling, hearing and chopping onions already busy, says Rizzo very likely the untruth!

"By the way, men lie very differently than women," says the profiler. "If they have to judge their own job performance, they like to put a shovel on top and sell better than they actually are. Women, on the other hand, often lie in their social environment: 'How are you?' - 'Good.' Even if that is not necessarily the truth. " Why is that?


Rizzo still explains these differences with the socially cemented role models. To put it bluntly: men have careers, women are there for the family. Nobody should allow himself to make mistakes in his area.

About squiggles and testosterone

A special heart issue for the Hamburg woman is the empowerment of the female sex. "Every woman should deal with that Power language of men discuss ", recommends the expert. That starts with body language:" Why are we standing there in such an ornate way? This automatically makes us smaller than we are. Testosterone is also produced through body language, even in women. The more energy we put into it, for example in great body language, the stronger and more believable we come across. Think about it Helene Fischer, for example, she has what it takes."

Rizzo knows from her practice that there is often uncertainty, especially in the job environment, when women deal with male superiors. "We nod 70 percent more often in conversation than men normally do. That is actually a nice social feature. If the other person doesn't do that, it irritates us. Men often use this tactic for conscious manipulation in order to intimidate us, "says Rizzo. Knowing about this makes us better able to deal with such situations." Many women tend to, constantly questioning yourself. When mistakes happen, ask: What did I do wrong? What can I do better? Men, on the other hand, don't think too much about it and just keep going. We could copy this serenity!"

How do you become a profiler?

"I have learned 80 percent of what I do. The remaining 20 percent is intuition," says Rizzo, who started learning non-verbal communication in self-study a good 15 years ago. The doctrine of physiognomy assumes that it is possible of certain facial features on the character of the person close. For example, a crease on the chin is sometimes referred to as a "mottled fold". "This means people who like to share their mustard." Or, for example, low ears, which are more likely to be found in people who weigh decisions very carefully and take a lot of time for them. As Rizzo her Interest in reading people discovered, the job description of the profiler did not yet exist. After a couple of detours, she ended up where she is today: Studying social pedagogy, stopping in the media industry as a graphic designer, then switching again to the security industry: Her job was to look out for people at airports who were "suspicious" behaved. Back then, the human reader quickly realized that Smugglers, for example, have a completely different body language behave as normal passengers. "If I don't want to stand out, my ultimate goal is to behave like others around me."

White lies allowed

Six years ago, Rizzo went into business for herself, today she offers Coaching for police officers who are active in murder commissions, and is even booked in explosive industrial espionage and sabotage cases. Rizzo is in great demand in the industry, she can now choose who she works with and who she offers her skills to. By the way: She also advises women - especially on dating issues, where she scans photos of potential candidates for their suitability for a match.

But isn't it actually terribly exhausting to be able to see through people in every situation in life? "It works. I can distinguish which topics I absolutely want to clarify and which are not important to me. I allow everyone his little white lies ", laughs Rizzo, who has a seven-year-old son with her friend and lives in Hamburg. Rizzo has a very open and honest conversation culture with her life partner. "She never lies! We get along great with each other. And when she is silent, then I know my way around too."

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