Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Daniel N. Allen

Number of Pages



It is increasingly common for individuals involved in civil litigation to undergo neuropsychological evaluation. This trend increases the possibility that individuals receive trade-secret test information from their attorneys before evaluation in order to maximize their ability to appear injured. However, no known research has examined what effect this knowledge may have on an individual's ability to successfully evade detection as a malingerer. The current investigation examined the performance of archival brain-damaged individuals, normal controls, and individuals in three malingering groups on both previously and newly developed malingering indices for the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and the Halstead Category Test (HCT). The three malingering groups differed as to the extent of prior coaching they were given specifically regarding the nature, content, and requirements of the WCST. Results indicated that individuals given the most explicit coaching about the WCST were able to escape detection on more malingering indices than individuals in the other malingering groups. However, these individuals were also more likely to be classified as normal controls using discriminant function analysis. Results indicated that the most effective indices for discriminating between malingering and non-malingering groups in the current study are failures to maintain set, sub-threshold failures to maintain set, and a potential malingering composite variable for the WCST, and total errors and errors on Subtests I and II for the HCT. It was also found that explicitness of coaching generalized from the WCST to the HCT, such that individuals given explicit instruction on the WCST performed better than other malingering groups on the HCT, although they were given no explicit instruction regarding the HCT. Principal components analyses revealed that dimensions that closely reflect potential malingering strategies in the current sample. For both tests, these dimensions include making many errors overall and making bizarre, unusual errors. The implications of these results on the integrity of forensic neuropsychological evaluations are discussed, as are the limitations of this study and avenues for future research.


Detection; Format; Influence; Instruction; Instruction Set; Malingering; Set; Test; Test Format

Controlled Subject

Psychology--Research--Methodology; Clinical psychology

File Format


File Size

4280.32 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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