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.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International Journal of Forensic Mental Health


Citation: 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

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