Confabulation

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.[1] People who confabulate present incorrect memories ranging from "subtle alterations to bizarre fabrications",[2] and are generally very confident about their recollections, despite contradictory evidence.[3]

Confabulation
SynonymsConfabulate
SpecialtyPsychiatry

Description

Confabulation is distinguished from lying as there is no intent to deceive and the person is unaware the information is false.[4] Although individuals can present blatantly false information, confabulation can also seem to be coherent, internally consistent, and relatively normal.[4]

Most known cases of confabulation are symptomatic of brain damage or dementias, such as aneurysm, Alzheimer's disease, or Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome (a common manifestation of thiamine deficiency caused by alcoholism).[5] Additionally confabulation often occurs in people who are suffering from anticholinergic toxidrome when interrogated about bizarre or irrational behaviour.

Confabulated memories of all types most often occur in autobiographical memory and are indicative of a complicated and intricate process that can be led astray at any point during encoding, storage, or recall of a memory.[3] This type of confabulation is commonly seen in Korsakoff's syndrome.[6]

Distinctions

Two types of confabulation are often distinguished:

  • Provoked (momentary, or secondary) confabulations represent a normal response to a faulty memory, are common in both amnesia and dementia,[7] and can become apparent during memory tests.[8]
  • Spontaneous (or primary) confabulations do not occur in response to a cue[8] and seem to be involuntary.[9] They are relatively rare, more common in cases of dementia, and may result from the interaction between frontal lobe pathology and organic amnesia.[7]

Another distinction is that between:[9]

  • Verbal confabulations, spoken false memories are more common, and
  • Behavioral confabulations, occur when an individual acts on their false memories.

Signs and symptoms

Confabulation is associated with several characteristics:

  1. Typically verbal statements but can also be non-verbal gestures or actions.
  2. Can include autobiographical and non-personal information, such as historical facts, fairy-tales, or other aspects of semantic memory.
  3. The account can be fantastic or coherent.
  4. Both the premise and the details of the account can be false.
  5. The account is usually drawn from the patient's memory of actual experiences, including past and current thoughts.
  6. The patient is unaware of the accounts' distortions or inappropriateness, and is not concerned when errors are pointed out.
  7. There is no hidden motivation behind the account.
  8. The patient's personality structure may play a role in his/her readiness to confabulate.[4]

Theories

Theories of confabulation range in emphasis. Some theories propose that confabulations represent a way for memory-disabled people to maintain their self-identity.[8] Other theories use neurocognitive links to explain the process of confabulation.[10] Still other theories frame confabulation around the more familiar concept of delusion.[11] Other researchers frame confabulation within the fuzzy-trace theory.[12] Finally, some researchers call for theories that rely less on neurocognitive explanations and more on epistemic accounts.[13]

Neuropsychological theories

The most popular theories of confabulation come from the field of neuropsychology or cognitive neuroscience.[10] Research suggests that confabulation is associated with dysfunction of cognitive processes that control the retrieval from long-term memory. Frontal lobe damage often disrupts this process, preventing the retrieval of information and the evaluation of its output.[14][15] Furthermore, researchers argue that confabulation is a disorder resulting from failed "reality monitoring/source monitoring" (i.e. deciding whether a memory is based on an actual event or whether it is imagined).[16] Some neuropsychologists suggest that errors in retrieval of information from long-term memory that are made by normal subjects involve different components of control processes than errors made by confabulators.[17] Kraepelin distinguished two subtypes of confabulation, one of which he called simple confabulation, caused partly by errors in the temporal ordering of real events. The other variety he called fantastic confabulation, which was bizarre and patently impossible statements not rooted in true memory. Simple confabulation may result from damage to memory systems in the medial temporal lobe. Fantastic confabulations reveal a dysfunction of the Supervisory System,[18] which is believed to be a function of the frontal cortex.

Self-identity theory

Some argue confabulations have a self-serving, emotional component in those with memory deficits that aids to maintain a coherent self-concept.[8] In other words, people who confabulate are motivated to do so, because they have gaps in their memory that they want to fill in and cover up.

Temporality theory

Support for the temporality account suggests that confabulations occur when an individual is unable to place events properly in time.[8] Thus, an individual might correctly state an action he/she performed, but say he/she did it yesterday, when he/she did it weeks ago. In the Memory, Consciousness, and Temporality Theory, confabulation occurs because of a deficit in temporal consciousness or awareness.[19]

Monitoring theory

Along a similar notion are the theories of reality and source monitoring theories.[9] In these theories, confabulation occurs when individuals incorrectly attribute memories as reality, or incorrectly attribute memories to a certain source. Thus, an individual might claim an imagined event happened in reality, or that a friend told him/her about an event he/she actually heard about on television.

Strategic retrieval account theory

Supporters of the strategic retrieval account suggest that confabulations occur when an individual cannot actively monitor a memory for truthfulness after its retrieval.[9] An individual recalls a memory, but there is some deficit after recall that interferes with the person establishing its falseness.

Executive control theory

Still others propose that all types of false memories, including confabulation, fit into a general memory and executive function model.[20] In 2007, a framework for confabulation was proposed that stated confabulation is the result of two things: Problems with executive control and problems with evaluation. In the executive control deficit, the incorrect memory is retrieved from the brain. In the evaluative deficit, the memory will be accepted as a truth due to an inability to distinguish a belief from an actual memory.[8]

In the context of delusion theories

Recent models of confabulation have attempted to build upon the link between delusion and confabulation.[11] More recently, a monitoring account for delusion, applied to confabulation, proposed both the inclusion of conscious and unconscious processing. The claim was that by encompassing the notion of both processes, spontaneous versus provoked confabulations could be better explained. In other words, there are two ways to confabulate. One is the unconscious, spontaneous way in which a memory goes through no logical, explanatory processing. The other is the conscious, provoked way in which a memory is recalled intentionally by the individual to explain something confusing or unusual.[21]

Fuzzy-trace theory

Fuzzy-trace theory, or FTT, is a concept more commonly applied to the explanation of judgement decisions.[12] According to this theory, memories are encoded generally (gist), as well as specifically (verbatim). Thus, a confabulation could result from recalling the incorrect verbatim memory or from being able to recall the gist portion, but not the verbatim portion, of a memory.

FTT uses a set of five principles to explain false-memory phenomena. Principle 1 suggests that subjects store verbatim information and gist information parallel to one another. Both forms of storage involve the surface content of an experience. Principle 2 shares factors of retrieval of gist and verbatim traces. Principle 3 is based on dual-opponent processes in false memory. Generally, gist retrieval supports false memory, while verbatim retrieval suppresses it. Developmental variability is the topic of Principle 4. As a child develops into an adult, there is obvious improvement in the acquisition, retention, and retrieval of both verbatim and gist memory. However, during late adulthood, there will be a decline in these abilities. Finally, Principle 5 explains that verbatim and gist processing cause vivid remembering. Fuzzy-trace Theory, governed by these 5 principles, has proved useful in explaining false memory and generating new predictions about it.[22]

Epistemic theory

However, not all accounts are so embedded in the neurocognitive aspects of confabulation. Some attribute confabulation to epistemic accounts.[13] In 2009, theories underlying the causation and mechanisms for confabulation were criticized for their focus on neural processes, which are somewhat unclear, as well as their emphasis on the negativity of false remembering. Researchers proposed that an epistemic account of confabulation would be more encompassing of both the advantages and disadvantages of the process.

Presentation

Associated neurological and psychological conditions

Confabulations are often symptoms of various syndromes and psychopathologies in the adult population including: Korsakoff's syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and traumatic brain injury.

Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome is a neurological disorder typically characterized by years of chronic alcohol abuse and a nutritional thiamine deficiency.[23] Confabulation is one salient symptom of this syndrome.[24][25] A study on confabulation in Korsakoff's patients found that they are subject to provoked confabulation when prompted with questions pertaining to episodic memory, not semantic memory, and when prompted with questions where the appropriate response would be "I don’t know."[26] This suggests that confabulation in these patients is "domain-specific." Korsakoff's patients who confabulate are more likely than healthy adults to falsely recognize distractor words, suggesting that false recognition is a "confabulatory behavior."

Alzheimer's disease is a condition with both neurological and psychological components. It is a form of dementia associated with severe frontal lobe dysfunction. Confabulation in individuals with Alzheimer's is often more spontaneous than it is in other conditions, especially in the advanced stages of the disease. Alzheimer's patients demonstrate comparable abilities to encode information as healthy elderly adults, suggesting that impairments in encoding are not associated with confabulation.[27] However, as seen in Korsakoff's patients, confabulation in Alzheimer's patients is higher when prompted with questions investigating episodic memory. Researchers suggest this is due to damage in the posterior cortical regions of the brain, which is a symptom characteristic of Alzheimer's Disease.

Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder in which confabulation is sometimes observed. Although confabulation is usually coherent in its presentation, confabulations of schizophrenic patients are often delusional[28] Researchers have noted that these patients tend to make up delusions on the spot which are often fantastic and become increasingly elaborate with questioning.[29] Unlike patients with Korsakoff's and Alzheimer's, patients with schizophrenia are more likely to confabulate when prompted with questions regarding their semantic memories, as opposed to episodic memory prompting.[30] In addition, confabulation does not appear to be related to any memory deficit in schizophrenic patients. This is contrary to most forms of confabulation. Also, confabulations made by schizophrenic patients often do not involve the creation of new information, but instead involve an attempt by the patient to reconstruct actual details of a past event.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can also result in confabulation. Research has shown that patients with damage to the inferior medial frontal lobe confabulate significantly more than patients with damage to the posterior area and healthy controls.[31] This suggests that this region is key in producing confabulatory responses, and that memory deficit is important but not necessary in confabulation. Additionally, research suggests that confabulation can be seen in patients with frontal lobe syndrome, which involves an insult to the frontal lobe as a result of disease or traumatic brain injury (TBI).[32][33][34] Finally, rupture of the anterior or posterior communicating artery, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and encephalitis are also possible causes of confabulation.[14][35]

Location of brain lesions

Confabulation is believed to be a result of damage to the right frontal lobe of the brain.[4] In particular, damage can be localized to the ventromedial frontal lobes and other structures fed by the anterior communicating artery (ACoA), including the basal forebrain, septum, fornix, cingulate gyrus, cingulum, anterior hypothalamus, and head of the caudate nucleus.[36][37]

Developmental differences

While some recent literature has suggested that older adults may be more susceptible than their younger counterparts to have false memories, the majority of research on forced confabulation centers around children.[38] Children are particularly susceptible to forced confabulations based on their high suggestibility.[39][40] When forced to recall confabulated events, children are less likely to remember that they had previously confabulated these situations, and they are more likely than their adult counterparts to come to remember these confabulations as real events that transpired.[41] Research suggests that this inability to distinguish between past confabulatory and real events is centered on developmental differences in source monitoring. Due to underdeveloped encoding and critical reasoning skills, children's ability to distinguish real memories from false memories may be impaired. It may also be that younger children lack the meta-memory processes required to remember confabulated versus non-confabulated events.[42] Children's meta-memory processes may also be influenced by expectancies or biases, in that they believe that highly plausible false scenarios are not confabulated.[43] However, when knowingly being tested for accuracy, children are more likely to respond, "I don’t know" at a rate comparable to adults for unanswerable questions than they are to confabulate.[44][45] Ultimately, misinformation effects can be minimized by tailoring individual interviews to the specific developmental stage, often based on age, of the participant.[46]

Provoked versus spontaneous confabulations

There is evidence to support different cognitive mechanisms for provoked and spontaneous confabulation.[47] One study suggested that spontaneous confabulation may be a result of an amnesic patient's inability to distinguish the chronological order of events in their memory. In contrast, provoked confabulation may be a compensatory mechanism, in which the patient tries to make up for their memory deficiency by attempting to demonstrate competency in recollection.

Confidence in false memories

Confabulation of events or situations may lead to an eventual acceptance of the confabulated information as true.[48] For instance, people who knowingly lie about a situation may eventually come to believe that their lies are truthful with time.[49] In an interview setting, people are more likely to confabulate in situations in which they are presented false information by another person, as opposed to when they self-generate these falsehoods.[50] Further, people are more likely to accept false information as true when they are interviewed at a later time (after the event in question) than those who are interviewed immediately or soon after the event.[51] Affirmative feedback for confabulated responses is also shown to increase the confabulator's confidence in their response.[52] For instance, in culprit identification, if a witness falsely identifies a member of a line-up, he will be more confident in his identification if the interviewer provides affirmative feedback. This effect of confirmatory feedback appears to last over time, as witnesses will even remember the confabulated information months later.[53]

Among normal subjects

On rare occasions, confabulation can also be seen in normal subjects.[17] It is currently unclear how completely healthy individuals produce confabulations. It is possible that these individuals are in the process of developing some type of organic condition that is causing their confabulation symptoms. It is not uncommon, however, for the general population to display some very mild symptoms of provoked confabulations. Subtle distortions and intrusions in memory are commonly produced by normal subjects when they remember something poorly.

Diagnosis and treatment

Spontaneous confabulations, due to their involuntary nature, cannot be manipulated in a laboratory setting.[9] However, provoked confabulations can be researched in various theoretical contexts. The mechanisms found to underlie provoked confabulations can be applied to spontaneous confabulation mechanisms. The basic premise of researching confabulation comprises finding errors and distortions in memory tests of an individual.

Deese–Roediger–McDermott lists

Confabulations can be detected in the context of the Deese–Roediger–McDermott paradigm by using the Deese–Roediger–McDermott lists.[54] Participants listen to audio recordings of several lists of words centered around a theme, known as the critical word. The participants are later asked to recall the words on their list. If the participant recalls the critical word, which was never explicitly stated in the list, it is considered a confabulation. Participants often have a false memory for the critical word.

Recognition tasks

Confabulations can also be researched by using continuous recognition tasks.[9] These tasks are often used in conjunction with confidence ratings. Generally, in a recognition task, participants are rapidly presented with pictures. Some of these pictures are shown once; others are shown multiple times. Participants press a key if they have seen the picture previously. Following a period of time, participants repeat the task. More errors on the second task, versus the first, are indicative of confusion, representing false memories.

Free recall tasks

Confabulations can also be detected using a free recall task, such as a self-narrative task.[9] Participants are asked to recall stories (semantic or autobiographical) that are highly familiar to them. The stories recalled are encoded for errors that could be classified as distortions in memory. Distortions could include falsifying true story elements or including details from a completely different story. Errors such as these would be indicative of confabulations.

Treatment

Treatment for confabulation is somewhat dependent on the cause or source, if identifiable. For example, treatment of Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome involves large doses of vitamin B in order to reverse the thiamine deficiency.[55] If there is no known physiological cause, more general cognitive techniques may be used to treat confabulation. A case study published in 2000 showed that Self-Monitoring Training (SMT)[56] reduced delusional confabulations. Furthermore, improvements were maintained at a three-month follow-up and were found to generalize to everyday settings. Although this treatment seems promising, more rigorous research is necessary to determine the efficacy of SMT in the general confabulation population.

Research

Although significant gains have been made in the understanding of confabulation in recent years, there is still much to be learned. One group of researchers in particular has laid-out several important questions for future-study. They suggest more information is needed regarding the neural-systems that support the different cognitive processes necessary for normal source-monitoring. They also proposed the idea of developing a standard neuro-psychological test battery able to discriminate between the different types of confabulations. And there is a considerable amount of debate regarding the best approach to organizing and combining neuro-imaging, pharmacological, and cognitive/behavioral approaches to understand confabulation.[57]

In a recent review article, another group of researchers contemplate issues concerning the distinctions between delusions and confabulation. They question whether delusions and confabulation should be considered distinct or overlapping disorders and, if overlapping, to what degree? They also discuss the role of unconscious processes in confabulation. Some researchers suggest that unconscious emotional and motivational processes are potentially just as important as cognitive and memory problems. Finally, they raise the question of where to draw the line between the pathological and the nonpathological. Delusion-like beliefs and confabulation-like fabrications are commonly seen in healthy individuals. What are the important differences between patients with similar etiology who do and do not confabulate? Since the line between pathological and nonpathological is likely blurry, should we take a more dimensional approach to confabulation? Research suggests that confabulation occurs along a continuum of implausibility, bizarreness, content, conviction, preoccupation, and distress, and impact on daily life.[58]

See also

References

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Further reading

External links

Alan Shaxon

Alan Shaxon (28 December 1933 – 27 October 2012) was a professional magician and a former president of The Magic Circle. He specialised in cabaret performances and was billed as one of England's foremost magicians.The Magic Circle gave Shaxon its highest award, "The Maskelyne", for services to British Magic. His television appearances have been seen by millions, he cruised the world in cabaret on the finest luxury liners, and entertained on four occasions at Buckingham Palace. He was a friend and confidant of magic legend and inventor Robert Harbin, and inherited many props of Harbin's after his death in 1978. Shaxon continued to perform a number of Harbin's illusions, including the "Blades of Opah II". Shaxon's signature effects included The Hydrostatic Glass, Confabulation, Thumb Tie, Aerial Fishing and the Human Gasometer.

In Series 9, Shaxon appeared as a guest performer on The Paul Daniels Magic Show, airing in 1988. He appeared as the character "Eddie Spangle" alongside Rowan Atkinson in the 1991 Mr. Bean episode "Mr. Bean Goes to Town". In 1996 he taught Tom Cruise some sleight of hand tricks for Mission: Impossible.

He wrote two books during his lifetime, My Kind of Magic (1970) and Practical Sorcery (1976). After he died, a draft manuscript for a third book was discovered, and this was completed by Scott Penrose, the current President of The Magic Circle, and Steve Short. It had no working title, but when it was published in 2014 it was entitled The Sophisticated Sorcerer.

Shaxon died on 27 October 2012 following a short illness.

Alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome

Alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome (AKS), Korsakoff syndrome is an amnestic disorder caused by thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency associated with prolonged ingestion of alcohol. There is a similar condition seen in non-alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome. The syndrome and psychosis are named after Sergei Korsakoff, the Russian neuropsychiatrist who discovered it during the late 19th century.

This neurological disorder is caused by a lack of thiamine in the brain, and is also exacerbated by the neurotoxic effects of alcohol. When Wernicke encephalopathy accompanies alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome the combination is called Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome; however, a recognized episode of Wernicke encephalopathy is not always obvious.

Anton–Babinski syndrome

Anton–Babinski syndrome, also known as Anton's blindness and visual anosognosia, is a rare symptom of brain damage occurring in the occipital lobe. Those who have it are cortically blind, but affirm, often quite adamantly and in the face of clear evidence of their blindness, that they are capable of seeing. Failing to accept being blind, people with Anton-Babinski syndrome dismiss evidence of their condition and employ confabulation to fill in the missing sensory input. It is named after neurologists Gabriel Anton and Joseph Babinski. Only 28 cases were published.

Chris Moulin

Chris Moulin is full professor in the Laboratoire de Psychologie et NeuroCognition (LPNC UMR 5105), Grenoble and a senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France.Moulin is a cognitive neuropsychologist known for his work in the field of déjà vu which he conducts with his former PhD student Akira O’Connor (who now works at the University of St Andrews). Both psychologists have appeared in BBC radio broadcasts and featured heavily in the popular media in Britain and elsewhere, such as The Guardian, the New York Times Magazine, New Scientist and Der Spiegel.

Moulin completed his PhD ("Does a metacognitive deficit contribute to the episodic memory impairment in Alzheimer's disease?") at Bristol University in 1999 under the supervision of Tim Perfect and Alan Baddeley. He then held various Research Fellowships at the Universities of Bristol, Reading and at a Clinical Research Institute at Bath (RICE) and worked in the Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds between 2002 and 2012. In 2004 and 2005 Moulin organised the BPS Cognitive Section Conference, held in Leeds. He was on the editorial board of the journal Memory.

Confabulation (neural networks)

A confabulation, also known as a false, degraded, or corrupted memory, is a stable pattern of activation in an artificial neural network or neural assembly that does not correspond to any previously learned patterns. The same term is also applied to the (nonartificial) neural mistake-making process leading to a false memory (confabulation).

Davide Prete

Davide Prete (born June 21, 1974) is an Italian sculptor and architect who specializes in urban scale works using stainless steel, forged steel and small scale sculptures combining traditional metalsmithing techniques to 3D Printing and laser scanning.

Delusion

A delusion is firm and fixed belief based on inadequate grounds not amenable to rational argument or evidence to contrary, not in sync with regional, cultural and educational background. As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, confabulation, dogma, illusion, or some other misleading effects of perception.

They have been found to occur in the context of many pathological states (both general physical and mental) and are of particular diagnostic importance in psychotic disorders including schizophrenia, paraphrenia, manic episodes of bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression.

Exosomatic memory

Exosomatic memory is the recording of memories outside the brain. The earliest forms of symbolic behavior—scratching marks on bones—seem to be intended as exosomatic memory. However it was the invention of writing that allowed complex memories to be recorded.

A more narrow meaning of exosomatic memory is a computerized information system that interfaces directly with the brain and functions as an extension of the user memory. Such systems have been used as plot devices in numerous science fiction stories, especially among the cyberpunk genre. More recently, as scientific knowledge of neurology improves, some such as Gregory B. Newby are suggesting that such a device may be possible.

Frontal lobe

The frontal lobe is the largest of the four major lobes of the brain in mammals, and is located at the front of each hemisphere (in front of the parietal lobe and the temporal lobe). It is separated from the parietal lobe by a groove between tissues called the central sulcus, and from the temporal lobe by a deeper groove called the lateral sulcus (Sylvian fissure). The most anterior rounded part of the frontal lobe (though not well-defined) is known as the frontal pole, one of the three poles of the cerebrum.The frontal lobe is covered by the frontal cortex. The frontal cortex includes the premotor cortex, and the primary motor cortex – cortical parts of the motor cortex. The front part of the frontal lobe is covered by the prefrontal cortex.

There are four principal gyri in the frontal lobe. The precentral gyrus, is directly anterior to the central sulcus, running parallel to it and contains the primary motor cortex, which controls voluntary movements of specific body parts. Three horizontally arranged subsections of the frontal gyrus are the superior frontal gyrus, the middle frontal gyrus, and the inferior frontal gyrus. The inferior frontal gyrus is divided into three parts – the orbital part, the triangular part, and the opercular part.The frontal lobe contains most of the dopamine neurons in the cerebral cortex. The dopaminergic pathways are associated with reward, attention, short-term memory tasks, planning, and motivation. Dopamine tends to limit and select sensory information arriving from the thalamus to the forebrain.

Guiguzi

Guiguzi (鬼谷子) is the Chinese title given to a group of writings thought to have been compiled between the late Warring States period and the end of the Han Dynasty. The work, between 6,000–7,000 Chinese characters, discusses techniques of political lobbying based in Daoist thinking.

There has been much speculation about the identity of the writer of Guiguzi, the origin of his name (literally 'The Sage of Ghost Valley') and the authenticity of the work as a whole. While there has been no final outcome to this discussion, Chinese scholars believe that the compilation reflects a genuine corpus of Warring States period writings on political lobbying. Most writers doubt the assertion that the Guiguzi was written by a single personality, Guigu Xiansheng (鬼谷先生), who was said in the Records of the Grand Historian to have been the teacher of the late Warring States political lobbyists Su Qin and Zhang Yi. A tradition that Guigu Xiansheng was the teacher of renowned Warring States generals Sun Bin and Pang Juan is also considered to be a late confabulation. The association of the name Wang Xu (王詡) is not generally held to be supported. There is no material in the text to support the view held by some that Guiguzi is a book on military tactics.

The contents of the Guiguzi text cover the relationship between lobbying techniques and the theory of yin and yang, techniques of political evaluation of the state, evaluation of political relationships between state leaders and ministers, psychological profiling of lobbying targets and rhetorical devices.

There have been translations of Guiguzi into modern Chinese, German, English, and Russian. Almost all modern annotated texts and western translations rely heavily on the explanations of the texts attributed to the Eastern Jin scholar Tao Hongjing.

Memory distrust syndrome

Memory distrust syndrome is a condition coined by Gísli Guðjónsson and James MacKeith in 1982, in which an individual doubts the accuracy of their memory concerning the content and context of events of which they have experienced. Since the individual does not trust their own memory, they will commonly depend on outside sources of information rather than using their ability for recollection. Some believe that this may be a defense or coping mechanism to a preexisting faulty memory state such as Alzheimer's disease, amnesia, or possibly dementia.

The condition is generally considered to be related to source amnesia, which involves the inability to recall the basis for factual knowledge. The main difference between the two is that source amnesia is a lack of knowing the basis of knowledge, whereas memory distrust syndrome is a lack of believing the knowledge that exists. The fact that an individual lacks the trust in their own memory implies that the individual would have a reason or belief that would prevent them from the trust that most of us have in our recollections. Cases concerning memory distrust syndrome have led to documented false confessions in court cases.

National Security Corps

Państwowy Korpus Bezpieczeństwa (Polish for National Security Corps, short PKB, sometimes also referred to as Kadra Bezpieczeństwa) was a Polish underground police force organized by the Armia Krajowa and Government Delegate's Office at Home under German occupation during World War II. It was trained as the core of the future police forces during the assumed all-national uprising and after the liberation. The first commander of the Corps was Lt. Col. Marian Kozielewski. He was later replaced by Stanisław Tabisz. In October 1943 the PKB had 8 400 officers, until early 1944 the number grew to almost 12 000.

The PKB was created by the Department of the Internal Affairs of the Delegate's Office in 1940, mostly from members of the pre-war Polish police and volunteers. PKB carried out investigation and criminal intelligence duties as well as gathered reports of the Gestapo and Kripo in the General Government. It enforced the verdicts prepared by the Directorate of Civil Resistance and Directorate of Underground Resistance and passed by the Special Courts.

A unit of PKB commanded by Henryk Iwański purportedly distinguished itself during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. However, according to the work of a Polish-Israeli research team (Dr. Dariusz Libionka and Dr. Laurence Weinbaum), much of what Henryk Iwański wrote should be relegated to the realm of confabulation or manipulation of the Communist secret police.

Past life regression

Past life regression is a technique that uses hypnosis to recover what practitioners believe are memories of past lives or incarnations, though others regard them as fantasies or delusions or a type of confabulation. Past-life regression is typically undertaken either in pursuit of a spiritual experience, or in a psychotherapeutic setting. Most advocates loosely adhere to beliefs about reincarnation, though religious traditions that incorporate reincarnation generally do not include the idea of repressed memories of past lives.The technique used during past-life regression involves the subject answering a series of questions while hypnotized to reveal identity and events of alleged past lives, a method similar to that used in recovered memory therapy and one that, similarly, often misrepresents memory as a faithful recording of previous events rather than a constructed set of recollections. The use of hypnosis and suggestive questions can tend to leave the subject particularly likely to hold distorted or false memories. The source of the memories is often more likely cryptomnesia and confabulations that combine experiences, knowledge, imagination and suggestion or guidance from the hypnotist than recall of a previous existence. Once created, those memories are indistinguishable from memories based on events that occurred during the subject's life. Memories reported during past-life regression have been investigated, and revealed historical inaccuracies that are easily explained through a basic knowledge of history, elements of popular culture or books that discuss historical events. Experiments with subjects undergoing past-life regression indicate that a belief in reincarnation and suggestions by the hypnotist are the two most important factors regarding the contents of memories reported.

Reconstructive memory

Reconstructive memory is a theory of elaborate memory recall proposed within the field of cognitive psychology, in which the act of remembering is influenced by various other cognitive processes including perception, imagination, semantic memory and beliefs, amongst others. People view their memories as being a coherent and truthful account of episodic memory and believe that their perspective is free from error during recall. However the reconstructive process of memory recall is subject to distortion by other intervening cognitive functions such as individual perceptions, social influences, and world knowledge, all of which can lead to errors during reconstruction.

Suggestive question

A suggestive question is one that implies that a certain answer should be given in response, or falsely presents a presupposition in the question as accepted fact. Such a question distorts the memory thereby tricking the person into answering in a specific way that might or might not be true or consistent with their actual feelings, and can be deliberate or unintentional. For example, the phrasing "Don't you think this was wrong?" is more suggestive than "Do you think this was wrong?" despite the difference of only one word. The former may subtly pressure the respondent into responding "yes", whereas the latter is far more direct. Repeated questions can make people think their first answer is wrong and lead them to change their answer, or it can cause people to continuously answer until the interrogator gets the exact response that they desire. The diction used by the interviewer can also be an influencing factor to the response given by the interrogated individual.

Experimental research by psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has established that trying to answer such questions can create confabulation in eyewitnesses. For example, participants in an experiment may all view the same video clip of a car crash. Participants are assigned at random in one of two groups. The participants in the first group are asked "How fast was the car moving when it passed by the stop sign?" The participants in the other group are asked a similar question that does not refer to a stop sign. Later, the participants from the first group are more likely to remember seeing a stop sign in the video clip, even though there was in fact no such sign, raising serious questions about the validity of information elicited through poorly phrased questions during eyewitness testimony.

Wernicke syndrome

Wernicke syndrome is an ambiguous term. It may refer to:

Wernicke aphasia: the eponymous term for receptive or sensory aphasia.

Wernicke encephalopathy: an acute neurological syndrome of ophthalmoparesis, ataxia, and encephalopathy brought on by thiamine deficiency.

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, also called Korsakoff psychosis: a subacute dementia syndrome, often following Wernicke encephalopathy, characterized clinically by confabulation and clinicopathologically correlated with degeneration of the mammillary bodies.

Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome

Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome (WKS) is the combined presence of Wernicke encephalopathy (WE) and alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome. Due to the close relationship between these two disorders, people with either are usually diagnosed with WKS as a single syndrome.

The cause of the disorder is thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency, which can cause a range of disorders including beriberi, Wernicke encephalopathy, and alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome. These disorders may manifest together or separately. WKS is usually secondary to alcohol abuse. It mainly causes vision changes, ataxia and impaired memory.Wernicke encephalopathy and WKS are most commonly seen in people who are alcoholic, and only 20% of cases are identified before death. This failure in diagnosis of WE and thus treatment of the disease leads to death in approximately 20% of cases, while 75% are left with permanent brain damage associated with WKS. Of those affected, 25% require long-term institutionalization in order to receive effective care.

What a Piece of Work I Am

What A Piece of Work I Am (A Confabulation) is a novel by Eric Kraft. It is part of his ongoing project of interconnected fiction "The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences and Observations of Peter Leroy." The novel is narrated by Leroy, but mainly concerns his boyhood crush and sultry muse, Ariane Lodkcochnikov.

William Hirstein

William Hirstein is an American philosopher primarily interested in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, metaphysics, cognitive science, and analytic philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at Elmhurst College.

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