Are Measures of Cognitive Effort and Motivation Useful in Differentiating Feigned from Genuine Psychiatric Symptoms?

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Clinical Psychology | Health Services Research | Law and Psychology | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


This study examined the accuracy of two measures of cognitive effort and motivation, the Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM; Tombaugh, 1996) and the Validity Indicator Profile Verbal subtest (VIP-V; Frederick, 2003) using a simulation study design with psychiatric patients (n = 88) and community participants instructed to feign mental illness (n = 29). Little research has evaluated either the TOMM or the VIP in psychiatric patients, a group that may be at an increased risk of misclassification, despite the common use of these measures by forensic evaluators to assess for malingering. Specificity for the TOMM (94.2%) and the VIP-V (71.6%) were somewhat lower than the original validation samples, but Sensitivity rates were mixed: lower for the TOMM (62.1%) but higher for the VIP-V (73.1%). Additionally, VIP-V indicators were examined using Receiver Operating Curve (ROC) and stepwise discriminant analyses. The implications of these results for forensic assessment are discussed.

DOI of Published Version



Pivovarova, E., Rosenfeld, B., Dole, T., Green, D., & Zapf, P.A. (2009). Are measures of cognitive effort and motivation accurate in differentiating genuine psychiatric symptoms? International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 8, 271-278. doi:10.1080/14999011003635514

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International Journal of Forensic Mental Health


At the time of publication, Ekaterina Pivovarova was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.