Are Your Memories Even Real?

Infromation on Confabulation and Fabricated Memory-Making

By: Joseph Smrstik

Why did I choose this topic?

I chose the topic of confabulation and the process of fabricating memories because I am very interested in learning about how we make memories over things that haven't happened to us. Research about this topic can help us better understand the science of memory loss and the distinction between delusion and confabulation.
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Although the exact cause of confabulation is unknown, it may occur in patients who have sustained damage to both the basal fore-brain, an area of the brain which produces a chemical called acetylcholine which affects the ability of brain cells to transmit information to one another, and the frontal lobe, a part of the brain which is important for functions like concentration and judgement. The damage in the basal fore-brain may lead to memory impairments while the damage to the frontal lobe may lead to problems in self-awareness.
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Confabulation is a memory disorder that results in the spontaneous production of false memories: either of things that have happened or things that haven’t, without conscious intention to deceive. These memories can range from bizarre and extravagant to quite mundane.

Researchers and Psychologists

Frederick Bartlett: a British psychologist who first studied confabulation and repression in combination

Brewer and Treyens: set experiments to show the effects of schema congruity on memory

M. Kopelman: two distinct forms of confabulation, spontaneous and provoked
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Interesting Facts

1. There are no pain receptors in the brain, so the brain can't feel any pain

2. There are more than 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain

3. The human brain is the fattest organ in the body, adding to almost 60% fat