Symptom validity testing of feigned dissociative disorder: A simulation study

H.L.G.J. Merckelbach, B.J.A. Hauer, E.G.C. Rassin

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It has been argued that symptom validity testing (svt) has limited sensitivity in correctly identifying feigned autobiographical memory loss (e.g., dissociative amnesia) because malingerers would easily understand that below change performance on the svt implies feigned memory loss. The current study tested this assumption in a sample of undergraduate students (n = 20) who committed a mock crime and then were instructed to feign complete amnesia for this event. Next, they had to answer 15 forced-choice questions that always contained the correct answer and an equally plausible alternative. Results show that a nontrivial minority of participants (40%) performed below chance. As well, understanding the svt rationale appeared not to be related to random behaviour. Taken together, the results indicate that svt procedures might be helpful in identifying feigned dissociative amnesia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-318
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology Crime & Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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