Malingering refers to faking or intentionally exaggerating symptoms of a psychiatric illness or cognitive deficit in order to avoid criminal charges. Given the high stakes, malingering occurs frequently in forensic settings, and must be accounted for in any credible forensic examination. Malingering assessment is made more challenging when lawyers or even other mental health professionals “coach” clients before testing in order to help them avoid being detected as malingerers.

One of the most difficult tasks of a malingerer is consistency of expression – whether it be in symptom reporting, test scores, or physical manifestations of the alleged diagnoses. This is why drawing conclusions from a range of sources, situations, and tests are essential to resolving questions of malingering.

Neuropsychologists are leaders in the field of malingering detection and have developed an armamentarium of psychometrically sophisticated tests and methods to identify potential malingerers. The neuropsychologist can assess motivation in cognitive test performance and therefore the degree to which a person is providing poor effort that lowers scores.

A person who does not fake or exaggerate illness may still be an unreliable informant. A common misuse of malingering instruments is to assert an examinee is an accurate historian because of his performance on these measures.

The Forensic Panel’s neuropsychologist and psychologist experts maintain sophistication in the most updated testing techniques and interpretation, and ethical protocols for the assessment of malingering. Many specialists caution against over-reliance upon testing; The Forensic Panel conducts its assessments of malingering by combining history with appropriate testing protocols. Malingering detection should be based on a multi-method approach that combines history, behavior observation, objective symptom validity testing, and recognition of atypical score patterns that violate neuroanatomical principles.

The Forensic Panel’s peer review ensures the necessary diligence and objectivity in assessing the presence and nature of malingering. The caliber of the neuropsychologist and psychologist examiner and the integrity of The Forensic Panel’s peer review yield findings that best approach scientific certainty.