Title page for ETD etd-04092008-154108

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Proto, Daniel Anthony
Author's Email Address dproto1@lsu.edu
URN etd-04092008-154108
Title The Detection of Malingered Mental Retardation in High- and Low-Cognitive Ability Individuals
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Wm. Drew Gouvier Committee Chair
Alex Cohen Committee Member
Mike Hawkins Committee Member
  • dot counting
  • ppvt
  • effort
  • TOMM
  • bender-gestalt test
Date of Defense 2007-12-21
Availability unrestricted
The detection of malingering is an area of research that has received increasing attention in recent decades. Neuropsychologists in particular are often asked to assess the validity of symptoms such as cognitive impairment due to brain injury or toxic chemical exposure. Additionally, given the decision of the U.S. Supreme court in Atkins v. Virginia (2002), incentive to feign mental retardation in order to avoid capital punishment has greatly increased. However, few measures of malingering detection have been thoroughly studied for their applicability to mentally retarded individuals, and for their ability to accurately distinguish between malingerers, normal controls, and individuals with mental retardation (MR). The current study explores the use of the Bender Gestalt Test (BGT), and of the Koppitz and Lacks scoring systems in particular, as a screening device to determine the validity of claimed intellectual disability. Additionally, high- and low-cognitive ability groups were compared on their capacity to successfully malinger on the BGT, the Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM), the Rey Memory for Fifteen Items test (MFIT), and the Rey Dot-Counting test (RDCT). Results showed that high- and low-cognitive ability malingerers were not significantly different in their malingering performances, and both groups performed similarly to effortful responders with mild MR on all measures other than RDCT total errors. Also, of the TOMM, MFIT, and RDCT, only the RDCT did not misclassify high proportions (>30%) of mild MR participants as malingerers.
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