Head injury and the ability to feign neuropsychological deficits

Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2004 Jan;19(1):37-48.


This study investigated the possibility that head-injured patients, by virtue of their exposure to medical and legal evaluations, are better able to feign deficits than controls. Both internal and external validity issues were addressed in a malingering simulation using 46 moderately to severely head injured and 46 matched control subjects who were administered a battery of neuropsychological and motivational tests under standard or malingering instructions. Results showed no significant interaction between malingering instructions and head injury status on commonly used motivational tests or neuropsychological tests, nor were the head injured malingerers better able to avoid detection using established cutting scores on motivational tests. These results suggest that head injured individuals are no more able to feign neuropsychological deficits successfully than non-head injured individuals.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / diagnosis*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / psychology*
  • Deception*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Malingering / diagnosis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests