Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Clinical Psychology

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus


Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Stuart Hall

Commitee Members

Laura Kirsch, Craig McFarland, Annie Sondag, Allen Szalda-Petree


malingering, mild traumatic brain injury, performance validity test, PVMT, simulation, TOMM


University of Montana


The detection of exaggerated or feigned symptoms is a complex issue that neuropsychologists regularly encounter during neuropsychological evaluations. Thus, it is critical that tests that are capable of detecting false impairments continue to be developed. To that end, a new test of malingered memory performance was researched. The Progressive Visual Memory Test (PVMT) uses a forced-choice (2-choice) paradigm but adds to the literature by including 3-choice and 4-choice trials. A simulation design was conducted in which college students (N = 62) acted as uncoached simulators, coached simulators, and controls. A two-way ANOVA explored the impact of group and trial on mean PVMT scores for each trial. The group by trial interaction was not significant. There were statistically significant main effects due to group and trial. Post-hoc analyses revealed significant differences between the control group and the simulator groups on each trial of the PVMT. Controls participants produced almost perfect scores on all three trials while the simulator groups' scores were much lower. Therefore, the PVMT showed excellent sensitivity and specificity. Response latency on the PVMT also differentiated controls from simulators. In addition, when the PVMT was included in a battery of standard neuropsychological tests, participants could not accurately identify the nature of each test nor could they determine which were actual tests of effort, showing that it was difficult to identify the PVMT as an effort test. The PVMT shows excellent promise as an effort test using a new paradigm to identify dissimulation. Limitations and future directions are discussed.



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