Malingering Detection in Memory Deficits: An Evaluation

Author:  Scott Alexander Chalmers
Date:  January 2013


Malingering, and its study, is a topic in clinical neuropsychology that has generated a lot of controversy from testing the IQ of convicted murderers to litigation trails where plaintiffs demand compensation for mental or physical traumas incurred in their workplace. Here, three major tests: The Forced-Choice Test (Hiscock and Hiscock 1989), Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM) (Gansler et al.1995) and the Wechsler Memory Scales-Revised (WMS-R) test (Wechsler 1987) have been evaluated primarily on the basis of their capabilities to detect cases of genuine memory deficit as a result of head trauma from cases of malingering in clinical Neuropsychological settings. Tests such as these play a crucial role in a clinicians overall evaluation of a test subject.  A poor test may result in a failure to detect  cases of memory deficit malingering or detect malingering in genuine cases of memory deficits. The current review compares each test on the dimensions of sensitivity and specificity, the two vital dimensions of a test’s detection capability. It was found that conservative cut off points of test scores is a theme that persists throughout each test which means that malingering patients may successfully get away with faking their performance on a test. The implications of the conservative cuts offs are discussed.