Several studies have found that confabulation is rather common among individuals who have not been diagnosed with any type of brain disorder. The book Brain Fiction includes a review of expanding scientific research that provides evidence and conclusions that confabulation is not something restricted to psychiatric patients or to those who fantasize. The evidence shows that human beings produce a body of narratives or stories every day. Many of these stories are thought to help explain how they feel, the reason they made a specific decision, the underlying prompts for judgments they made, why they exhibited the behavior they did and the reason they took the actions they did, and so on. Typically, these stories are a combination of fact and fiction, although the individuals involved believe that what they said was completely true. It gives one pause and perhaps can provide some impetus for becoming more aware of and evaluating the stories one tells the self and others.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
In the book Brain Fiction: Self-Deception and the Riddle of Confabulation, the author indicated that confabulation is not just a deficit of memory; it is something anybody might do, even people with perfectly fine memories and healthy brains. For example, children and many adults confabulate when encouraged to talk about things of which they have no actual knowledge or when trying to make something seem less important or more important. Eyewitnesses can be influenced by suggestive inquiries to confabulate. The evidence shows that many of the stories human beings produce on a daily basis to explain how they feel, the reason they did something, or the process used to come up with a decision, are confabulations, mixtures of fact and fiction that the individuals believe to be completely true. The study conclusions might be an impetus to realize that probably everyone at some time or another uses confabulation and it is possible they do not even realize what they are doing, believing whatever they utter is the absolute truth.
Monday, February 18, 2019
PsychCentral identifies two types of confabulation: spontaneous and provoked. A provoked confabulation is when a patient invents an untrue story in response to a question and tends to occur quite commonly among patients with amnesia or dementia. On the other hand, a spontaneous confabulation tends to occur less commonly and involves the telling of an untrue story with no apparent motivation. Sometimes confabulations are verbal and only involve talking about false memories. Behavioral confabulations, on the other hand, occur when the patient acts upon his or her erroneous beliefs. Most studies on confabulation have focused on symptoms related to underlying problems or pathologies that impact memory. Recently, attention is focusing on individuals without identifying underlying problems who exhibit confabulation. More tomorrow.
Friday, February 15, 2019
Wikipedia puts it this way: In psychiatry, confabulation is a memory error defined as the production of fabricated, distorted, or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive. People who confabulate present incorrect memories ranging from "subtle alterations to bizarre fabrications", and are generally very confident about their recollections, despite evidence to the contrary. The free medical dictionary points out that confabulationinvolves the unconscious filling in of gaps in memory with fabricated facts and experiences, commonly associated with organic pathology. It differs from lying in that the patient has no intention to deceive and believes the fabricated memories to be real. More tomorrow.
Thursday, February 14, 2019
There are a couple of key components of confabulation (according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
1. An individual provides a false response to a question. For example, “What is your favorite vacation spot?” and the answer is “Alaska, of course,” even though they have never even been to Alaska.
2. The other component is that the individual believes what he or she just said without giving it another thought.
This is different from individuals who tell a lie on purpose and know consciously that they are in fact telling a lie.
Someone without an underlying memory problem tends to say “I don’t know,” if asked a question they either do not know the answer to or can’t remember at the moment. Confabulation involves subconsciously creating a story to cover what they cannot think of.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
No one specific cause for medical or psychiatric confabulation has been identified although several types of syndromes and disorders may underlie the symptoms, including:
- Memory disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and other dementias
- Traumatic brain injury
- Anton’s syndrome, or denial of blindness
- Capgras syndrome, the belief that an imposter has replaced a loved one
- Split-brain syndrome
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Karl Bonhoeffer, a German psychiatrist, is credited with coining the term “confabulation” in 1900 to describe a type of memory loss that negatively impacts an individual’s higher-reasoning ability. Not a disorder in and of itself, confabulation is—in manyt cases—the symptom of an underlying condition that impacts memory accuracy. Although not relegated to one specific cause, it appears that individuals exhibiting confabulation tend to have damage in the frontal lobes of the brain and in the corpus callosum, the largest bridge that connect the two cerebral hemispheres. Confabulation is typically a subconscious strategy used when an individual has a condition that impacts his or her memory. These individuals create stories as a way to hide their memory loss. Although many have the mistaken idea that these people are “telling lies,” the individuals themselves are unaware that they are not telling the truth. They have no doubt that what they are saying is true, even though others know that the story is false. More tomorrow.