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Psychiatrists and psychologists are often tasked with assessing a criminal defendant's competency to stand trial or his capacity for criminal responsibility. What objective tests are useful for assessing whether the person is malingering or faking symptoms to appear not competent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity?

I am a prosecutor in the US. We are getting more cases where the defendant's competency to stand trial is called into question by defense counsel. Many of the forensic examiners are concluding that defendants are not competent without seeming to use objective measures to rule out malingering.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to cogsci.SE! We encourage preliminary research to help your readers understand your perspective/priorities/etc., so any more information you can give (in what country? military or civilian courts? what kinds of competence problems--mental illness? congenital issues? previous injury?) that narrows the field, along with anything that can tell us what avenues you've already explored, will help you get good answers. $\endgroup$ – Krysta Sep 22 '14 at 16:04
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More comprehensive ones than the abovementioned memory test include the Miller Forensic Assessement of Symptoms and the Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms. These assess a wide variety of psychiatric symptoms and are supposedly very hard to fake.

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Tests for malingering are founded on the following assumption: there are symptomps that even the worst illness doesn't include. These tests aim at assessing these symptomps, that are unrealistic, fake.

A famous memory test for malingering is Digit Memory Test (Hiscock et al., 1989) It is a very easy test, even a person with Alzheimer can perform well. Moreover, the subject is told that is very difficult and everyone has some trouble in aswering some questions (this is an alternative way to say: if you are going to fake, do your best!) They worked out that by answering randomly there is 50% probability of correct answers. Thus, the hypotesis is that one who gets a lower score is simulating.

Stef from Italy

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