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.