Date of Award

December 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Deborah E. Hannula

Committee Members

Christine Larson, David Osmon


Malingering presents a large problem for society in terms of the allocation of resources to those who are truly in need. Memory deficits are commonly malingered after head injury. There has been great effort to develop measures that can reliably identify people who are feigning this type of impairment. In the field of memory, a robust line of research has shown that eye-movement measures are sensitive to relational memory and characteristics of these eye-movement effects have led researchers to suggest that they might represent an obligatory response to the retrieval of a relational memory. The current study investigates the possible utility of these eye movements in detecting when a person is attempting to conceal their memory to feign memory impairment. This study employed an instructional manipulation in which one group was asked to perform an upcoming memory task as though they were feigning memory impairment. This simulator group and a control group then completed a relational memory task while their eye movements were monitored. While simulators were able to conceal their memory with their explicit responses, early viewing patterns revealed their knowledge for the pairs they had studied earlier. This result provides additional support to the idea that eye-movement measures may represent an obligatory measure of relational memory, as well as preliminary evidence that eye-movement based measures could be used to differentiate between people who truly have memory deficits from those who are merely faking it.

Included in

Psychology Commons