Compare and contrast “emphatic denial” and “explanatory denial”.

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brandyhwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Both explanatory and emphatic denials occur during an interrogation. There are some base line differences between them however. For starters, the explanatory denial is given when a suspect offers a story or explanation for why he or she is innocent. Think about the husband who explains, I didn't kill my wife because I love her too much. Another example is, I didn't kill my partner because I really don't need the money from the insurance claim. Like the emphatic denial, this form of response typically occurs when a suspect is trying to conceal something about the situation. During an interrogation, investigators will notice tell- tell signs of deception through the story that is given. Additionally, if the story given during the explanatory denial is revisited, much like the emphatic denial, details will change.

The difference with the emphatic denial is that there is no story given. With an emphatic denial, the suspect refuses to acknowledge the assertion of someone else, and denies it that way. With this denial, the suspect may not directly answer the question, or may deny some overall assuption of the question. For example, if someone is asked what should happen to a person who burns down a house, and the suspect is the cause of the house fire, but didn't intend on it, the suspect may say, punsih the person who tries to burn down a house, but that isn't me. In this denial, the suspect doesn't take ownership for his or her actions being the result of the fire, and they deny that their actions are even questionable. Again, with this form of denial, there will be signs of deception. Likewise, the interrogators will need to frame their questions to illicit a confession, and directly raise doubt about the claims. 

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