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Interpreting Clinical Evidence of Malingering: A Bayesian Perspective

NCJ Number
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Volume: 28 Issue: 3 Dated: 2000 Pages: 293-302
Douglas Mossman M.D.
Date Published
10 pages
This article examines the Bayesian perspective on interpreting clinical evidence of malingering.
The article provides examples of how forensic evaluators might use a Bayesian perspective to interpret clinical indicia of malingering observed during evaluation of adjudicatory competence. It discusses sources of imprecision in Bayesian posterior probabilities and a method for characterizing that imprecision using confidence intervals and then presents several sample calculations that illustrate how interview findings change the likelihood of malingering. The article also discusses the implications of the Bayesian approach for forensic evaluations and for future research on malingered incompetence. The article claims that clinical findings relevant to malingering alter likelihoods in a way that is fittingly described by Bayes's theorem, and mental health professionals should recognize this principle when considering their findings and explain the findings to legal decision makers. Notes, figures, table, references


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