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subject's own expressions of hostility. Expressions of anger by the "questioner" are often interpreted
by the subject as a fear of failure, which strengthens his resolve to resist.
A threat should grant the subject time for compliance and is most effective when joined with a
suggested rationalization for compliance. It is not enough that a subject be placed under the tension
of fear; he must also discern an acceptable escape route.
The threat of death has been found to be worse than useless. The principal reason is that it often
induces sheer hopelessness; the subject feels that he is as likely to be condemned after compliance
as before. Some subjects recognize that the threat is a bluff and that silencing them forever would
defeat the "questioner's" purpose.
If a subject refuses to comply once a threat has been made, it must be carried out. If it is not carried
out, then subsequent threats will also prove ineffective. The principal drawback to using threats of
physical coercion or torture is that the subject may call the bluff. If he does, and since such threats
cannot be carried out, the use of empty threats could result in subject's gaining rather than losing
Everyone is aware that people react very differently to pain but the reason is not because of a
difference in the intensity of the sensation itself. All people have approximately the same threshold
at which they begin to feel pain and their estimates of severity are roughly the same. The wide
range of individual reactions is based primarily on early conditioning to pain.
The torture situation is an external conflict, a contest between the subject and his tormentor. The
pain which is being inflicted upon him from outside himself may actually intensify his will to resist.
On the other hand, pain which he feels he is inflicting upon himself is more likely to sap his
For example, if he is required to maintain rigid positions such as standing at attention or sitting on a
stool for long periods of time. The immediate source of pain discomfort is not the "questioner" but
the subject himself. His conflict is then an internal struggle. As long as he maintains this position,
he is attributing to the "questioner" the ability to do something worse. But there is never a
showdown where the "questioner" demonstrates this ability. After a period of time, the subject is
likely to may exhaust his internal emotional strength. This technique may only be used for periods
of time that are not long enough to induce pain or physical damage.
Intense pain is quite likely to produce false confessions, fabricated to avoid additional punishment.
This results in a time consuming delay while investigation is conducted and the admissions are
proven untrue. During this respite, the subject can pull himself together and may even use the time
to devise a more complex confession that takes still longer to disprove.
Some subject actually enjoy pain and withold information they might otherwise have divulged in
order to be punished.
If pain is not used until late in the "questioning" process and after all other tactics have failed, the
subject is likely to conclude that the "questioner" is becoming desperate. He will feel that if he can
hold out just a little longer, he will win the struggle and his freedom. Once a subject has
successfully withstood pain, he is extremely difficult to "question" using more subdued methods.