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Behav Sci Law. 2007;25(4):545-60.

Can defendants with mental retardation successfully fake their performance on a test of competence to stand trial?

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Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC 27932, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether criminal defendants with mental retardation can feign poor performance on a test of competence to stand trial. Four groups of adjudicated criminal defendants were given a test of competence to stand trial. In the experimental condition, defendants with mental retardation (MR) and mentally typical defendants (non-MR) were given instructions to fake their performance on the test. In the control, MR defendants and non-MR defendants took the test under standard conditions. The results indicated that both the MR and non-MR fakers scored significantly lower than the MR and non-MR controls. There was no significant difference in the scores of the MR and non-MR fakers. The results suggest that defendants with mental retardation may be able to successfully fake their performance in certain circumstances. Implications of these findings are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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