This study used the Medical Symptom Validity Test (MSVT) to examine exaggeration of memory impairment in disability claimants.
The MSVT was administered to patients with soft tissue injuries undergoing an independent medical examination (IME). Their results were compared with those from groups of volunteers who were either trying their best on the test or simulating memory impairment.
Non-French-speaking volunteers, who were tested in French, showed near perfect performance on the effort subtests, but 42% of IME patients failed the effort tests in English. Their overall results were very similar to those of simulators.
This study suggests that exaggeration of cognitive symptoms is widespread in disability-related evaluations. It would be unwise to accept self-reported memory complaints at face value. Criteria-normed symptom validity testing should be done to rule out symptom exaggeration.