Experimental simulation: type of malingering scenario makes a difference

H.L.G.J. Merckelbach*, T. Smeets, M. Jelicic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Using a simulation design, we tested in 486 undergraduates whether different case vignettes differentially affect the sensitivity of a self-report instrument designed to detect malingering (the Wildman Symptom Checklist). One group of participants (n=387) was instructed to respond honestly, while three groups instructed to malinger (each n=33) each received a different case vignette: in the manslaughter and the wrongful death vignettes malingering of symptoms was for the purpose of reducing criminal responsibility, while in the personal injury vignette malingering would lead to the acquisition of compensation money. The criminal case vignettes elicited malingering behaviour that was easier to detect than the civil case vignette, sensitivity rates being .82/.73 and .55, respectively. Thus, when testing the diagnostic qualities of such instruments it may be wise to rely on multiple case vignettes, including civil cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-386
JournalJournal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


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