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Forms of confabulation: dissociations and associations

Published in Neuropsychologia. 2012, vol. 50, no. 10, p. 2524-34
Abstract Confabulation denotes the emergence of memories of experiences and events which never took place. Whether there are distinct forms with distinct mechanisms is still debated. In this study, we explored 4 forms of confabulation and their mechanisms in 29 amnesic patients. Patients performed tests of explicit memory, executive functions, and two test of orbitofrontal reality filtering (memory selection and extinction capacity in a reversal learning task) previously shown to be strongly associated with confabulations that patients act upon and disorientation. Results indicated the following associations: (1) Intrusions in a verbal memory test (simple provoked confabulations) dissociated from all other forms of confabulation and were not associated with any specific cognitive measure. (2) Momentary confabulations, defined as confabulatory responses to questions and measured with a confabulation questionnaire, were associated with impaired mental flexibility, a tendency to fill gaps in memory, and with one measure of reality filtering. Momentary confabulations, therefore, may emanate from diverse causes. (3) Behaviourally spontaneous confabulation, characterized by confabulations that the patients act upon and disorientation, was strongly associated with failure in the two reality filtering tasks. Behaviourally spontaneous confabulation may be seen as a specific instance of momentary confabulations with a distinct mechanism. (4) A patient producing fantastic confabulations with nonsensical, illogical content had wide-spread cognitive dysfunction and failed in the reality filtering tasks. The results support the presence of truly or partially dissociable types of confabulation with different mechanisms.
Keywords AdultAgedAmnesia/physiopathology/psychologyConfusion/physiopathology/psychologyFemaleHumansMaleMiddle AgedNeuropsychological TestsYoung Adult
PMID: 22781813
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Research groups Lésions cérébrales et attention spatiale (705)
Amnésie (289)
Neuroréhabilitation assistée par imagerie (910)
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NAHUM, Louis et al. Forms of confabulation: dissociations and associations. In: Neuropsychologia, 2012, vol. 50, n° 10, p. 2524-34. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:31478

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Deposited on : 2013-11-29

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