The Use Of Subtle Items In Detecting Deception

Stephen E. Dannenbaum, Richard I. Lanyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


When subjects attempt to fake psychopathology on the MMPI, scores on. subtle subscales tend to be lower than those of nonfaking subjects. Our study hypothesized that this paradox comes about because the subtle subscales have no predictive validity, but their face validity for psychopathology is the opposite of the keyed direction for psychopathology. Subjects who attempt to fake psychopathology do so on the basis of item content and thus achieve lower rather than higher scores. Three groups of 80 undergraduates took the MMPI under regular, faking-good, or faking-bad instructions. As expected, faking-bad subjects scored significantly lower than regular subjects on the 100 most subtle items, and this was due to their responses to those 73 of the items whose face validity was misleading. The results are consistent with other work showing valid uses of subtle items in detecting deception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-510
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Personality Assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'The Use Of Subtle Items In Detecting Deception'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this