Do you suspect that your partner is lying to you? Apply the “Columbus method”

April 14, 2022

Do you suspect that your partner is lying to you? Apply the “Columbus method”

If you hear anyone lying to you, the “Columbus Method,” named after the legendary inspector of the 1970s series, may be able to help.


These are tactics used by psychiatrists to determine if they are ill, but could be applied by anyone who doubts the sincerity of the interlocutor.

Fans of the series know how Inspector Columbus exposes the culprits, pretending to be stupid and asking unrestricted questions to get them to speak openly.

He repeats the same, seemingly trivial, questions at irregular intervals and often pretends to be naive and forgetful, because the killer makes a mistake or inadvertently discovers a small detail, which can be key to solving the cases.

In an article in the journal Psychosomatics, head of study Scott Beach of Harvard Medical School reveals that patients lie to doctors for a number of reasons and use this method to determine if a person is exaggerating symptoms in order to attract attention. .

– Columbus’s method is to repeat the question of characteristic details at irregular intervals in order to reveal inconsistencies and at the same time mitigate the confrontation of peace with the fact that he has been caught lying by the examiner who presents himself. as naive – explains Dr Beach.

For example, you might gently rebuke a patient for inconsistencies in a story, for example if he blames the death of his brother for falling into depression.

– I just wanted to ask if I understood you correctly. It seems like your brother’s recent death has hit hard, but the notes say that your brother died in 2006, 2008, 2011 and last year. Do you have more siblings?

The research is part of a comprehensive training program, which should help psychiatrists determine if patients are telling the truth.



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