Antisocial features and “faking bad”: A critical note

I.J.M. Niesten, L. Nentjes, H. Merckelbach, D. Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We critically review the literature on antisocial personality features and symptom fabrication (i.e., faking bad; e.g., malingering). A widespread assumption is that these constructs are intimately related. Some studies have, indeed, found that antisocial individuals score higher on instruments detecting faking bad, but others have been unable to replicate this pattern. In addition, studies exploring whether antisocial individuals are especially talented in faking bad have generally come up with null results. The notion of an intrinsic link between antisocial features and faking bad is difficult to test and research in this domain is sensitive to selection bias. We argue that research on faking bad would profit from further theoretical articulation. One topic that deserves scrutiny is how antisocial features affect the cognitive dissonance typically induced by faking bad. We illustrate our points with preliminary data and discuss their implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


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