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Detecting Malingered Memory Problems in the Civil and Criminal Arena

NCJ Number
Legal and Criminological Psychology Volume: 15 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2010 Pages: 97-114
Kim van Oorsouw; Harald Merckelbach
Date Published
February 2010
18 pages
This article reviews techniques and methods for evaluating the authenticity of memory problems within the criminal arena among suspects.
Feigning a psychiatric or neurological disorder may be an attractive strategy to obtain all sorts of privileges or disability benefits. In the criminal arena, feigning memory loss for a crime (crime-related amnesia) may be a way for defendants to gain sympathy or to promote a diminished capacity defense. Although crime-related amnesia may, under some circumstances, be genuine, in many cases it is more likely to be malingered. Malingered memory problems are a subtle form of deception and what is true for deceptive behavior in general is also true for malingering memory loss; on the basis of clinical intuition alone, it is difficult to detect. Fortunately, there are methods and tools to evaluate the authenticity of memory problems. It is important that forensic and clinical psychologists familiarize themselves with these techniques. References (Published Abstract)