Mental-health patients may report more symptoms than they actually experience. Experts and laypeople often view this overreporting as a sign of malingering. We show that there are multiple pathways to symptom overreporting: carryover effects from previous tests that lower the threshold for answering affirmatively to symptom items, suggestive misinformation that escalates symptom reports, inattentive responding that promotes indiscriminate endorsement of symptoms, and personality traits that bias symptom reports in an upward direction. A one-sided focus on malingering may distract from a research agenda that may contribute to knowledge accumulation in this domain.
- negative affectivity