Title

Detecting Malingering on Reaction Time Tests

Poster Number

4

Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Artist Statement

Computer-based reaction time (RT) tests are used in the Pacific Fatigue Lab to determine if neurocognitive function is altered in pathological conditions. Because the results of these tests can be used in disability cases there is the possibility for intentional malingering (purposeful exaggeration of physical or psychological complaints in order to receive some kind of reward) to win scientific support for a legal case. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to find signs indicative of malingering when using the California Computerized Assessment Package (CalCap®). METHODS: Nine (N=9; 3 male and 6 female) subjects were asked to complete three reaction time tests using the CalCap. The first test was to familiarize subjects with the testing equipment. Then the subjects were asked to either perform to their best ability on the test (Fast), or intentionally try to demonstrate a slow reaction time (Slow). The two conditions were assigned in a counter-balanced design. Four reaction time measures were analyzed; simple reaction time (SRT), choice reaction time (CRT), and two forms of sequential reaction time (SQRT 1 and SQRT 2). The range of responses and the comparison of the responses to normative values were used to inform when the subject was feigning lethargy. RESULTS: Reaction time measures were significantly slower in the intentionally slow condition, so retarded that they were often found to be 3.0 SD slower than normative values. RT measures in the Slow condition also demonstrated abnormally high range scores. The range scores in the Slow condition indicate lack of accuracy in responses. CONCLUSIONS: There are at least two primary ways to detect if someone is cheating on the CalCap: 1) abnormally slow reaction-times, beyond what is expected even in pathological conditions and 2) high variability in the responses, this indicates a lack of precision when subjects attempt to intentionally impede their reaction times.

Location

Pacific Geosciences Center

Start Date

5-5-2007 1:00 PM

End Date

5-5-2007 3:00 PM

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May 5th, 1:00 PM May 5th, 3:00 PM

Detecting Malingering on Reaction Time Tests

Pacific Geosciences Center

Computer-based reaction time (RT) tests are used in the Pacific Fatigue Lab to determine if neurocognitive function is altered in pathological conditions. Because the results of these tests can be used in disability cases there is the possibility for intentional malingering (purposeful exaggeration of physical or psychological complaints in order to receive some kind of reward) to win scientific support for a legal case. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to find signs indicative of malingering when using the California Computerized Assessment Package (CalCap®). METHODS: Nine (N=9; 3 male and 6 female) subjects were asked to complete three reaction time tests using the CalCap. The first test was to familiarize subjects with the testing equipment. Then the subjects were asked to either perform to their best ability on the test (Fast), or intentionally try to demonstrate a slow reaction time (Slow). The two conditions were assigned in a counter-balanced design. Four reaction time measures were analyzed; simple reaction time (SRT), choice reaction time (CRT), and two forms of sequential reaction time (SQRT 1 and SQRT 2). The range of responses and the comparison of the responses to normative values were used to inform when the subject was feigning lethargy. RESULTS: Reaction time measures were significantly slower in the intentionally slow condition, so retarded that they were often found to be 3.0 SD slower than normative values. RT measures in the Slow condition also demonstrated abnormally high range scores. The range scores in the Slow condition indicate lack of accuracy in responses. CONCLUSIONS: There are at least two primary ways to detect if someone is cheating on the CalCap: 1) abnormally slow reaction-times, beyond what is expected even in pathological conditions and 2) high variability in the responses, this indicates a lack of precision when subjects attempt to intentionally impede their reaction times.