Damir Zolota (26) from Sarajevo is among 0.001 percent of people in the world with the natural ability to “read” other people. Along with the degree in psychology from the American College in Vienna, this enabled him to find a place in the team of the famous Paul Ekman, world-renowned expert in the study of feelings and emotions.
Zolota now works in his Vienna department as a psychological profiler, an expert in reading micro expressions of face and body language, something like a human version of a polygraph. After professionally maturing under Ekman’s mentorship, he is ow able to read anyone in three to five seconds, and it takes him only a little more time to determine with certainty whether the person is telling the truth or lying.
“The face adjusts to our characteristics, to our character and our temperament. When a person experiences an emotion, the emotion is felt until the end of the life, and it is shown on the face. In three to five seconds, we scan a life, see if there are more or less emotions. We need more time to determine a lie, because we need to define the zero value in every person and then observe reactions that deviate from the zero value,” Zolota says.
“Psychopaths and terrorists have a unique face. Every psychopath bears an agony within, followed by one higher brow and one eye more closed than the other. If one of those two traits are present, just the eye or just the brow, that is a person with psychopathic traits, but that does not necessarily mean that this person is a psychopath. That can also be an expressed preference towards control, domination, it can be saying that this person is endangered and does not like company. This person has this agony inside and it develops towards hate, aggressiveness or even suicidality. On the other side, a terrorist does not show emotions, they are emotionless, they live in a belief, they believe that what they are doing is right. They have expressed social isolation, they simply do not feel well with other people, they are focused on themselves only,” Zolota adds.
His latest research and the conclusion that every third person in Bosnia and Herzegovina has some psychopathic traits have caused quite a turmoil over the past few weeks.
“There are approximately fifty characteristics of a psychopath. Someone can have one or five, but psychopaths are only those who have all those characteristics. This is mostly reflected in emphasized control, domination, manipulation, but if they express emotions, we can definitely not characterize them as psychopaths. Psychopaths are definitely not emotional persons because they do not recognize emotions, they are persons in agony. Majority of people in BiH older than 35 has PTSD, but they do not want to admit that and that is why our society is in a very bad place. People do not want to treat themselves, they do not want to talk or go to counseling because they think they do not need it, and they certainly do,” Zolota says.
He and his colleagues do the profiling of a certain persons through a photograph, a story or previous reactions of that person. In the time when the world is facing the threat of terrorism, their expertise is needed by police agencies, security services, airports and many other clients from Europe and the world.
“Although my colleagues and I actually do not know who is the one who ordered profiling, we mostly work in Vienna with airports, in order to find suspects for terrorism. We receive a scanned passport and on the basis of the photograph we recommend or do not recommend their further safety check. All terrorists have the so-called tabula rasa face. Photographs of fake terrorists that are placed to us show people who are in fear, while a true terrorist cannot be in fear because they truly believe in their mission. So far we made no mistakes in that part, because we see the subconscious things in people, things that not even those people are aware of,” Zolota says.
“Of course it happens to us that we make mistakes in our job sometimes. After all, we are just humans, and mistakes are usually made in the part where we read the micro expressions because people know how to hide them. People who are pathological liars believe that everything they say is true, and it is on us to recognize that, find causes and undo the mistake,” Zolota adds.
(Source: akta.ba/photo: ekapija.ba)