Date of Award

Summer 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Jeffrey Walczyk


Malingering is a frequently encountered problem of faking psychological or physiological symptoms or exaggerating existing conditions for external gain. Malingerers typically are seen in clinical and forensic settings and create a burden to our society due to loss of economic resources or professional time. The impact of malingering is difficult to calculate due to problems with identifying actual cases of malingering. Psychological tests traditionally have been used in the assessment of malingering. Despite major improvements in instruments and clinical interviewing techniques, however, no failsafe assessment tool has been identified for the accurate detection of malingering. Cognitive studies of lie detection have provided evidence that liars differ from truth-tellers in terms of increased cognitive load that might be measured via several cognitive cues. For example, response time is longer for liars compared to truth-tellers. Eye gaze and pupil dilation also differ when individuals lie. TRI-Con is a new approach (officially introduced by Walczyk, 2005) that uses eye data to monitor, record, and compare truthful versus deceptive responses and might be a stepping stone to more accurate and objective detection of malingering in the future. The current study was designed to reveal differences between truth-tellers and malingerers in terms of response time and eye data when confronted with different scenarios that entail telling the truth, rehearsed malingering, and unrehearsed malingering. Findings showed that response time is a more reliable cue for detecting malingering than eye data.