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  • Cited by 13
  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: January 2010

16 - Confabulations

from Part III


With regard to the analysis of confabulations, it would seem that confusion has arisen from mixing up levels of inquiry: phenomenology, neurobiology, disease associations, aetiological speculation and even pragmatics. At a most general level, 'confabulations' should be considered as sharing a conceptual space with delusions, mythomania, 'pseudologia fantastica' and 'pathological lying'. Two phenomena are conventionally included under the name 'confabulation'. The first type concerns 'untrue' utterances of subjects with memory impairment; often provoked or elicited by the interviewer, these confabulations are accompanied by little conviction and are believed by most clinicians to be caused by the (conscious or unconscious) need to 'cover up' for some memory deficit. Researchers wanting to escape the 'intentionality' dilemma have made use of additional factors such as presence of frontal lobe pathology, dysexecutive syndrome, difficulty with the temporal dating of memories leading to an inability temporally to string out memory data, etc.