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The Social-Engineer Podcast

Ep. 145 - Baking a Human Behavior Cake with Jack Schafer

Mon May 10 2021

Social Engineer Podcast #145 - The Human Element Series

Host and Co-host

  • Chris Hanyaghi is the founder of the podcast and CEO of Social Engineer LLC,, and Innocent Lives Foundation.
  • Maxie Reynolds is the technical team lead for social engineering and an attacker mindset expert with a diverse background.

Social Engineer LLC

  • Social Engineer LLC is a premier organization focusing on the human element.
  • They are launching new trainings and services like fishing as a service in 2021.

Innocent Lives Foundation

  • Innocent Lives Foundation helps law enforcement uncover, track, and trap trial predators.
  • They have completed over 327 cases in four years.

Guest: Dr. Jack Schafer

  • Dr. Jack Schafer is a retired FBI special agent and currently an associate professor at Western Illinois University.
  • He was assigned to the FBI's National Security Behavioral Analysis Program (BAP).
  • Jack has authored several books, including "The Like Switch" and "The Truth Detector".
  • He used to work for a Beltway Bandit company where he taught people how to elicit information using nonverbal language.
  • Jack translated those skills into teaching people how to build rapport and make friends.
  • Rapport building is important because it makes people want to do something for you because they like you, not because they have to.

Techniques for Building Rapport

  • Building rapport can lead to people wanting to help you because they like you.
  • It can result in escalated privileges and recommendations.
  • Techniques for building rapport can be learned through trial and error and intentional training.
  • Principles outlined in "The Like Switch" and "The Truth Detector" can be used for recruiting people for various purposes.

Recognizing Manipulative Techniques

  • Con artists use techniques similar to normal friendship behaviors for evil purposes.
  • Learning these techniques can help recognize when they are being used.
  • "Name it and claim it" technique can be used to identify manipulative techniques.
  • People tend to believe others until given a reason not to (truth bias).
  • Law enforcement officers have a tendency towards deception bias, assuming someone is lying until proven otherwise.

Cultural Considerations

  • Human behavior is a core basic behavior shared across cultures.
  • Culturally specific behaviors can be added on top of the core human behavior.
  • Core human behaviors can be taught, but it's impossible to teach all cultural things.
  • The FBI uses Brian's Loop to combat false statements and predetermine information release.

Brian's Loop Technique

  • Brian's loop involves giving predetermined answers and redirecting the conversation back to the interrogator.
  • It allows for building rapport and avoiding direct compliments that can make people defensive.
  • Yes or no answers are unusual, and it's better to allow the person being questioned to flatter themselves.

Verbal and Nonverbal Cues

  • Breaking the baseline of nonverbal cues can indicate deception, but it's not foolproof.
  • Verbal cues are more reliable than nonverbal cues as they directly represent what someone is thinking.

Motivation and Compliance

  • Consequences and rapport are important for motivation.
  • Treating someone with respect and dignity leads to willing compliance.
  • Getting a commitment from someone increases the likelihood of them following through on a task.

Psychological Principles

  • Psychological Principle of Consistency states that making a commitment leads to consistency in behavior.
  • Asking for a commitment from others increases the likelihood of receiving truthful responses.
  • Reciprocity can predispose someone to help you by doing them a favor and expecting them to do the same for you.

Nonverbal Cues

  • The lip purse is a nonverbal cue indicating negative opinion or resistance, which can be an opportunity to try and change someone's mind.