Award Date

August 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology & Higher Education

First Committee Member

E. Micheal Nussbaum

Second Committee Member

Dana Bickmore

Third Committee Member

Scott Loe

Fourth Committee Member

Joseph Morgan

Number of Pages



The present study examined the effectiveness of a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) coaching (i.e., providing information about mTBI symptoms) and motivational incentive (i.e., a $50 gift card lottery) on the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics (ANAM) test performance. The sample included a total of 162 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in an introductory educational psychology course. Participants were randomly assigned to one of six conditions: coached plus warning instruction and motivation incentive, coached instruction and motivation incentive, uncoached instruction and motivation incentive, coached plus warning instruction and no motivation incentive, coached instruction and no motivation incentive, and uncoached instruction and no motivation incentive (control) (n=27, per condition).

Upon arrival for the study, all of the participants completed the ANAM and were told to do their best (pre-ANAM). Participants in the coached conditions were provided with a one-page document including several mTBI symptoms. In addition to the one-page document, participants in the coached plus warning conditions were informed that to be identified as faking the disorder, to not exaggerate the symptoms too much. Whereas, participants in the motivation conditions were informed they were eligible for an incentive for participation (i.e., a $50 gift card lottery) if they can feign mTBI and avoid being identified as faking the disorder. The participants in the coached and motivation conditions completed the ANAM a second time and were asked to feign mTBI. Participants in the control condition were not provided additional information and were asked to do their best on their second ANAM attempt.

The results suggest that providing both a coaching instruction and a motivational incentive (i.e. treatment groups) decreased the participants’ performance on their overall ANAM total accuracy scores, in comparison to the participants not receiving the treatment (i.e. control). Further, coaching instructions and motivational incentives aided in feigning mTBI symptoms on the ANAM by participants performing poorly on the ANAM total accuracy measure. However, even though participants feigned mTBI symptoms when provided a coaching instruction and a motivation incentive, the ANAM Effort Measure detected the participants feigning mTBI, which rendered their scores invalid for a clinical diagnosis.


coaching; malingering; motivation


Clinical Psychology | Educational Psychology | Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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