Memory in the Making- Confabulation

By: Madison Peak

Why did I choose this topic?

A couple of months ago in my Language Arts class, we were shown part of a documentary that talked about a women who believed she was in the Twin Towers when 9/11 hit. But she wasn't; she had fabricated the entire thing (in extreme detail I might add). Although it was quiet ridiculous the lengths she went to prove her story; I believe she didn't need to be hated as much as she was. Looking back I speculate that she had confabulation because before she made up the story she was in a car crash. Nothing said she had any injuries in the crash, but if she had a brain injury it would have been harder to detect. I think making more people aware of this disorder would eliminate misunderstanding or hate towards those who have it.


This is a disorder caused by some sort of brain trauma or damage which creates fabricated memories to fill in gaps or to blend with real memories. The person who has this, wholly believes it's real and doesn't realize they are lying; their fabricated memories can range from alien abductions to what that person ate for breakfast.

What is happening in the brain?

The exact cause of confabulation are unknown, but many speculate the damage is done to the frontal lobe which controls self-awareness. People also believe that when confronted they experience a gap in their memory, and in order to fill that void the create a memory or retrieve one that is false.


Confabulation is still a mystery, but there are test done to prove that they have confabulation. One is the Deese- Roediger- McDermott lists which gives you a set of words all related to one word that is not said called the Critical word. Then if the person says the critical word the researcher will know the person fabricated the word.
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The Woman Who Wasn't There