Title

The Test of Memory Malingering: Detection of malingered cognitive deficits in a criminal forensic population

Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

William Goggin

Advisor Department

Psychology

Abstract

This research was designed to evaluate the ability of the Test of Memory Malingering to detect malingered cognitive deficits in a sample of criminally charged defendants who were tested at the Forensic Unit at Mississippi State Hospital at Whitfield for pretrial evaluations. Defendants were referred by court order for psycho-legal evaluations. All of the defendants were facing incarceration for alleged crimes, including drug possession with intent to distribute, armed robbery, extortion, and murder. The defendants were assessed and forensic opinions offered on their competency to stand trial and insanity. Participants were 20 individuals determined to be malingering cognitive deficits and 20 individuals determined not to be malingering cognitive deficits. In addition to the scores on the three trials of the Test of Memory Malingering, demographic data and intelligence were recorded for each participant. The scores obtained on the Test of Memory Malingering were not significantly correlated to demographic characteristics. Overall, individuals in the Nonmalingering Group scored significantly higher than individuals in the Malingering Group. The Test of Memory Malingering produced sensitivity and specificity ratios commensurate with prior research conducted with individuals involved in civil litigation. Therefore, consistent with prior research assessing the Test of Memory Malingering in a population of individuals involved in civil litigation, the Test of Memory Malingering appears to be a reliable and valid measure of malingered cognitive deficits in a population of individuals involved in criminal litigation.