The effects of motivation, coaching, and knowledge of neuropsychology on the simulated malingering of head injury

Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2004 Jan;19(1):73-88.


Two student groups, introductory psychology (n=91) and advanced neuroscience (n=34) undergraduates, were asked to malinger a head injury on Rey's 15-Item Test (FIT) and Dot Counting Test (DCT). The participants were randomly assigned to one of three motivation conditions (no motivation given, compensation, avoidance of blame for a motor vehicle accident) and to one of three coaching conditions (no coaching, coaching post-concussive symptoms, coaching symptoms plus warning of malingering detection). Analyses revealed a MotivationxStudent Group interaction on the FIT, indicating that the advanced neuroscience students, particularly when in the compensation condition, malingered the most flagrantly. On the DCT, main effects for motivation and coaching on the qualitative variables and a MotivationxCoaching interaction on the accuracy variables indicated that those in the compensation condition performed the most poorly, and that coaching plus warning only tempers malingering on memory tasks, not timed tasks.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior Control*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma*
  • Deception
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malingering / psychology*
  • Motivation*
  • Neuropsychological Tests