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Slve Selander

Psychology 12

2016

Confabulation.
-Slve Selander
Basically, confabulation is the act of filling in memory gaps. It can also be looked at as
remembering information that was not stored in your brain, ever. Think of it as filling in the
gaps. We are going to dig a bit deeper into this concept, and after you have read this,
hopefully, you have a better understanding of what confabulation is, and why it happens.
The first thing to know, is that Confabulation is not lying, since your intent is not to mislead
or deceive anyone.1 When you confabulate, you are presenting information that can be a
little different from the truth, all the way to really different fabrications of the truth. Most of
the cases that we know of are symptoms of dementias and brain damage. Something that
is important to understand, is that they usually believe in their recollections, even when
faced with evidence that contradicts it.2
There is two types of confabulation, and they are often distinguished. The first one is
Provoked confabulation, and it is seen as a normal response to a memory with some
missing stuff. This is common in both dementia and amnesia. Provoked confabulation is
something that can become apparent if you for example are doing a memory test.3 The
other one is Spontaneous confabulation, which is a bit tricky. It does not happen as a
response to something. It is pretty rare, usually seen in cases of dementia, usually from
the interaction between the frontal lobe (the part of the brain that is used for thinking,
planning, and decision making4 ) and organic brain syndrome (decreased mental function).
If we look at some of the theories, the neuropsychological ones are the most popular.
These theories say that research suggests that confabulation is caused because of the
1

Moscovitch M. 1995. "Confabulation". In (Eds. Schacter D.L., Coyle J.T., Fischbach G.D.,
Mesulum M.M. & Sullivan L.G.), Memory Distortion (pp. 226251). Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press.
2

Nalbantian, edited by Suzanne; Matthews, Paul M.; McClelland, James L. (2010). The memory
process: neuroscientific and humanistic perspectives. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
ISBN978-0-262-01457-1.
3

Metcalf, Kasey; Langdon, Robyn; Coltheart, Max (1 February 2007). "Models of confabulation: A
critical review and a new framework". Cognitive Neuropsychology 24 (1): 2347. doi:
10.1080/02643290600694901.
4

http://brainmadesimple.com/frontal-lobe.html

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Slve Selander

Psychology 12

2016

difficulty that the brain has to retrieve long-term memory. This is associated with the frontal
lobe that we talked about above, and in the case of confabulation, it is preventing
information to get retrieved.5 Some researchers distinguished two subtypes as well, simple
and fantastic. These subtypes are pretty complex, and explaining everything would take a
while. I would however recommend looking at Emil Kraeplins research on it.
Confabulation is presenting information that is inaccurate from the truth, on a small to a
larger scale. You are missing some information, and without thinking of it, your brain are
filling in the blanks, and you believe it. This is not something that just suddenly happens, it
is usually paired/a side effect of also having some type of dementia. Hopefully, you learned
something new today. I certainly did!

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028393297000286

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Slve Selander

Psychology 12

2016

Refrences:
Metcalf, Kasey; Langdon, Robyn; Coltheart, Max (1 February 2007). "Models of
confabulation: A critical review and a new framework". Cognitive Neuropsychology 24 (1):
2347. doi:10.1080/02643290600694901.
Morris Moscovitch, Brenda Melo (n.d.). Strategic retrieval and the frontal lobes: Evidence
from confabulation and amnesia. Obtained from
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028393297000286
Moscovitch M. 1995. "Confabulation". In (Eds. Schacter D.L., Coyle J.T., Fischbach G.D.,
Mesulum M.M. & Sullivan L.G.), Memory Distortion (pp. 226251). Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press.
Nalbantian, edited by Suzanne; Matthews, Paul M.; McClelland, James L. (2010). The
memory process : neuroscientific and humanistic perspectives. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT
Press. ISBN 978-0-262-01457-1.
The Brain Made Simple. (n.d.). Frontal Lobe. Obtained from
http://brainmadesimple.com/frontal-lobe.html

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