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Confessions of a liar-detector: I can tell if you're malingering, but I can't tell why

  • Derek K. Tracy (a1)

Malingering is the intentional feigning of illness for external gain. The author has written several papers on the epidemiology, assessment, testing and reporting of this. However, practice in this field can raise considerable challenges, not least the inability to determine motivation for lying, and potential damage from ‘false positives’, where individuals fabricate some aspects of their testimony, yet still have underlying psychiatric problems. This brief article lays out the author's reflections on this complex area.



Corresponding author
Correspondence Dr Derek K. Tracy, Queen Mary's Hospital, Frognal Avenue, Sidcup, London DA14 6LT, UK. Email:
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Fielding, H (1749) The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling (Book XVIII, Chapter viii). Andrew Millar.
Rix, KJB, Tracy, DK (2017) Malingering mental disorders: medicolegal reporting. BJPsych Advances, 23: 115–22.
Tracy, DK (2014) Evaluating malingering in cognitive and memory examinations: a guide for clinicians. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 20: 405–12.
Tracy, DK, Rix, KJB (2017) Malingering mental disorders: clinical assessment. BJPsych Advances, 23, 2735.
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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 2056-4678
  • EISSN: 2056-4686
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
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Confessions of a liar-detector: I can tell if you're malingering, but I can't tell why

  • Derek K. Tracy (a1)
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