Abstract

In this study two potential indices of malingering derived from the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) were evaluated as a means of detecting malingering. These were indices based on discrepancies between recognition–recall scores and differences in the serial position effect (SPE). Sixty undergraduate students were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: malingerers, malingerers-with-warning, warning-only, and control. Incentives were offered to participants in all conditions to encourage faking in a believable manner (malingering conditions), or to encourage optimal performance (nonmalingering conditions). Two predictions were made. First, it was predicted that the serial position curve for subjects in malingering conditions would show suppression of primacy effects relative to nonmalingerers. Second, it was predicted that recall would be better than recognition for subjects in malingering conditions compared to nonmalingering conditions. The utility of these indices was also explored in the context of providing subjects' with warnings regarding use of methods to detect malingering. Results indicated that both indices failed to reliably differentiate between malingerers and nonmalingerers, and warnings failed to modify participants' behaviour.