Confabulation: After brain injury, what's it mean?

Confabulation is often associated with an injury to the frontal area of the brain. This area focuses attention, directs and organizes thoughts and behaviors, and controls impulsiveness. Confabulation occurs when the frontal areas do not provide direction and organization to the memory system. Too often, confabulation is mistakenly perceived as the person lying or having delusional thoughts. By better understanding how information is stored in memory and later retrieved, users gain an understanding of what happens when this system breaks down. As a consequence, a person who is confabulating will recall events out of sequence, mismatch people and events, and give too much information.

This tip card is an excellent tool to help families, caregivers and clinicians understand the causes and consequences of confabulation after brain injury. It provides strategies to use at home and in the community to help the survivor correct errors and use memory aids and tools.