Study: Digital tests for the detection of feigned cognitive dysfunction



Cognitive impairments are often simulated, as clinical practice and neuropsychological research show. This makes complaint or performance validation an ever-present topic. The Groningen Effort Test (GET) helps to identify implausible response behaviour and thus to distinguish affected from faking persons.

The Groningen Effort Test (GET) supports the identification of implausible performance in the context of a neuropsychological diagnosis. In contrast to most established performance validity tests (PVTs), it measures the subject's attention rather than memory.

This study investigates the usefulness of the GET in identifying feigned cognitive impairment following acquired brain injury. In addition, its validity against already established performance validity tests (PVTs), namely the Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM), the Dot Counting Test (DCT) and the b-test is also considered. The study involved 348 subjects, including 58 stroke or traumatic brain injury (ABI) patients, 43 healthy subjects who were instructed to behave normally and 247 healthy subjects who were instructed to feign ABI cognitive impairment.

The results of the study show excellent overall classification accuracy of the GET, which is close to the level of the TOMM and outperforms the b-test and the DCT.

The authors therefore conclude that the GET is an attention-based PVT with promising test properties and high diagnostic accuracy in detecting feigned impairment. This makes the Groningen Effort Test a useful tool for clinical practice and neuropsychological testing.


Anselm B. M. Fuermaier, Oliver Tucha, Dorothea Russ, Johanna K. Ehrenstein, Martin Stanke, Ralf Heindorf, Rieka Buggenthin, Steffen Aschenbrenner, Janneke Koerts & Lara Tucha (2020) Utility of an attention-based performance validity test for the detection of feigned cognitive dysfunction after acquired brain injury, Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 42:3, 285-297, DOI: 10.1080/13803395.2019.1710468