MALINGERING STRATEGIES ON THREE SYMPTOM VALIDITY TESTS
Tan, J.E., Armitage, L., Hultsch, D.F., Strauss, E., University of Victoria and Slick, D.J., B. C. Children's Hospital , Canada
Various methods for detecting malingering or sub-optimal effort have been suggested, with special techniques, particularly forced-choice tasks, reported to yield higher hit rates than indices from conventional tests. However, the utility of various forced-choice tests is unknown and there is little information about the strategies that people employ in these situations. Accordingly, this study had two goals: (a) to compare three commonly used forced-choice tasks and (b) to explore the test taking strategies of participants. Twenty-seven undergraduate students were instructed to feign believable impairment as a result of a brain injury from a car accident and 29 students were told to perform as if they had recovered from such an injury. Three forced-choice tests, the Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM), Victoria Symptom Validity Test (VSVT), and Word Memory Test (WMT) were given. Test-taking and self-presentation strategies were evaluated by means of questionnaire given at the end of the test session. The results revealed that all the tasks differentiated between groups. However, the VSVT proved most sensitive to the feigning of cognitive deficits. Individuals instructed to feign injury were more likely to prepare prior to the experiment, with use of Internet as the most frequently reported method of obtaining information. In addition, feigning of memory loss was the most frequently reported strategy; other strategies reported include feigning poor concentration, confusion and slowness. The relation between type of strategy and ability to feign believable cognitive deficits is also discussed.