Susceptibility of the MMPI-2-RF neurological complaints and cognitive complaints scales to over-reporting in simulated head injury

Elizabeth Bolinger, Caitlin Reese, Julie Suhr, Glenn J. Larrabee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We examined the effect of simulated head injury on scores on the Neurological Complaints (NUC) and Cognitive Complaints (COG) scales of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF). Young adults with a history of mild head injury were randomly assigned to simulate head injury or give their best effort on a battery of neuropsychological tests, including the MMPI-2-RF. Simulators who also showed poor effort on performance validity tests (PVTs) were compared with controls who showed valid performance on PVTs. Results showed that both scales, but especially NUC, are elevated in individuals simulating head injury, with medium to large effect sizes. Although both scales were highly correlated with all MMPI-2-RF over-reporting validity scales, the relationship of Response Bias Scale to both NUC and COG was much stronger in the simulators than controls. Even accounting for over-reporting on the MMPI-2-RF, NUC was related to general somatic complaints regardless of group membership, whereas COG was related to both psychological distress and somatic complaints in the control group only. Neither scale was related to actual neuropsychological performance, regardless of group membership. Overall, results provide further evidence that self-reported cognitive symptoms can be due to many causes, not necessarily cognitive impairment, and can be exaggerated in a non-credible manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-15
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Malingering
  • Professional issues
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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