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Detection of Feigned Crime-Related Amnesia: A Multi-Method Approach

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Psychological Practice Volume: 10 Issue: 5 Dated: October - December 2010 Pages: 440-463
Peter Giger, M.Sc.; Thomas Merten, Ph.D.; Harald Merckelbach, Ph.D.; Margit Oswald, Ph.D.
Date Published
October 2010
24 pages
This study investigated the validity of crime-related amnesia.
Claims of crime-related amnesia appear to be common. Using a mock crime approach, the diagnostic power of seven symptom validity instruments was investigated. Sixty participants were assigned to 3 conditions: responding honestly; feigning crime-related amnesia; feigning amnesia with a warning not to exaggerate. High sensitivity and specificity were obtained for the Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology, the Amsterdam Short-Term Memory Test, and the Morel Emotional Numbing Test. Only three warned malingerers went undetected. The results demonstrate that validated instruments exist to support forensic decisionmaking about crime-related amnesia. Yet, warning may undermine their effectiveness, even when using a multi-method approach. Figures, tables, and references (Published Abstract)