Confabulation – The Definition and Examples

Confabulation Definition

The definition of confabulation is to fill in gaps of memory by fabrication.  Brain injury survivors are known to confabulate when they do not remember events.  If something doesn’t make sense to them because they do not remember they will fill in the gaps by making things up.

Confabulation Examples

We will give you some examples of confabulation by going to our TBI Voices Project.  These are real life stories of actual survivors of brain injury. We interviewed over thirty survivors.

The first example will come from the story of Jeremiah.Jeremiah was a high-functioning engineer at the time he was in a devastating care accident that caused his severe brain injury.  It was one of those situations when he took his eyes off the road for just a second, the car hit the shoulder and when he tried to correct it he hit a pole going 55 miles per hour.  He suffered many physical injuries including brain injury.  The neurosurgeon had to perform a craniectomy to relieve pressure and swelling of the brain.

One of Jeremiah’s frontal lobe deficits was confabulation.  Because of the severity of his brain injury, Jeremiah has big memory gaps before and after the accident.  He tends to confabulate where he has no memory. Even though what he tells you may not be the true sense of events, it is what makes sense to him.  To read Jeremiah’s entire story click here

Another example of confabulation comes from our story of Lethan.  Like Jeremiah he also was in a single car wreck where he hit a telephone pole.  He like Jeremiah took his eyes off the road for just a second to wave good bye to a former French teacher.  At least that is what he thinks or says happened.  No one will ever really know what happened or if that is it or confabulated by Lethan’s memories.

Lethan puts on a presentation regarding his accident and consequential brain injury.  He titles it “Who am I, Again.”  It is a collection of memories of confabulation.  He did talk to a lot of people to put the pieces together so some may be fact rather that fiction.  To read Lethan’s entire story click here

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Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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