The guilty adjustment: Response trends on the symptom validity test
Article first published online: 24 OCT 2012
© 2012 The British Psychological Society
Legal and Criminological Psychology
Volume 19, Issue 2, pages 240–254, September 2014
How to Cite
Shaw, D. J., Vrij, A., Mann, S., Leal, S. and Hillman, J. (2014), The guilty adjustment: Response trends on the symptom validity test. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 19: 240–254. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8333.2012.02070.x
- Issue published online: 15 AUG 2014
- Article first published online: 24 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Received: 9 MAY 2012
To our knowledge this was the first experiment that examined response trends over the course of a Symptom Validity Test (SVT). We predicted that the guilty group would avoid being associated with potentially incriminating information, and that they would do this more at the beginning of the test than towards the end.
The 86 participants of the guilty group carried out an illegal activity in a room and were instructed to deny having been in that room in a subsequent interview. The 82 innocent participants had never been in that particular room. During the interview the guilty and innocent groups were exposed to a 12-item SVT.
Results and Conclusion
As predicted, the guilty participants selected fewer correct (crime related) items than innocents, and this tendency to avoid selecting the correct items was the strongest during the first half of the SVT. The implications of the findings for using an SVT in real life are discussed.