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Confabulation is when someone unintentionally tries to cover up gaps in memories by fabricating experiences or situations through making up incorrect and bizarre responses to questions. These responses can sometimes appear detailed, fluent, and plausible. However, the responses are often unrelated to the original topic of conversation. Furthermore, people who confabulate do not seem to care about distorting the facts in the face of questions. Since confabulation is unintentional, it is not the same as lying.
The following is an example of confabulation: when asked what he/she watched on television last night, a person with Alzheimer's disease (a type of dementia) might forget and respond by providing detailed information as to how he/she was cooking a three-course meal. The problem is that the person with Alzheimer's disease did nothing of the sort. Confabulation is also seen in people with other types of dementia besides Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is a progressive loss of cognitive and intellectual functioning without loss of consciousness.
Confabulation can also be seen in alcoholism, amnesia (memory loss), lead poisoning, severe traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic states, Wernicke's syndrome, and Korsakoff's syndrome. Korsakoff’s syndrome is a syndrome of impaired memory and other symptoms caused by chronic alcoholism. Wernicke's syndrome is a deficiency in the vitamin, thiamine, that is due to poor nutrition. Both Wernicke’s and Korsakoff’s syndrome cause brain damage. Confabulation comes from the Latin word "confabulatus" which means, "to talk