The Manipulation of Human Behavior

By Albert D. Biderman; Herbert Zimmer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Countermanipulation through malingering

MALCOLM L. MELTZER


Introduction

Historically, the problem of psychopathology has been the development of techniques which would discover and make apparent emotional pathology that is not immediately evident. Screening tests, lie scales, observational and interview procedures have all been devised with the primary intent of unmasking the potentially or actually disturbed individual who masquerades behind a front of defensiveness and superficial social conformity. The opposite type of unmasking, i.e., of the feigning or simulation of emotional illness which is not in reality present or is exaggerated to an extreme degree, has received comparatively less attention. Murphy (65) has written an excellent history of malingering and has shown that the problem of simulation has been present since Early Greek and Biblical times. Although the simulation of psychosis or of epilepsy has a long history, more attention has been given in the past to the feigning of diseases of single organs, and the development of laboratory techniques which would differentiate the sick from the well. The malingerer, on his part, has shown amazing resourcefulness in keeping abreast of the literature and in devising counter counter-measures.

The simulation of mental illness by captured prisoners of war is a potential, and perhaps effective, technique for evading interrogation. In almost all cultures, the mentally ill person cannot be held accountable for his actions, is considered incompetent, and is not

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