Confabulation and mood: a programme of studies

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The cognitive mechanisms which underlie the formation of confabulations
remain a matter of debate. In the present programme of studies predictors of
the presence and clinical course of confabulations, and affective biases in the
content of confabulations, were examined.
24 confabulating brain injured amnesic patients, 11 non-confabulating brain
injured amnesic controls and 6 healthy participants were assessed on
confabulation, temporal context confusion (TCC), insight and mood measures.
Confabulating participants were followed up for 9 months.
In partial replication of previous findings (Schnider, 2008), TCC scores were
raised in confabulating patients compared with healthy individuals. However,
TCC was not good at discriminating between confabulating and other brain
injured patients. Current results are consistent with the argument that TCC may
be sensitive, but not specific to confabulation (Gilboa, 2010).
A combination of poor insight and somewhat elated mood state predicted the
presence of confabulations in the current sample sensitively and specifically.
Initial elated mood score also predicted the clinical course of episodic
confabulation. The present results indicated that elated mood and level of
awareness into difficulties and well-being may influence ‘core’ mechanisms
underlying confabulation (Gilboa, 2010).
True and false memories reported by patients were rated for affective content.
Although many of them were evaluated as ‘neutral’, more confabulatory
memories were labeled as either pleasant or unpleasant, than ‘true’ memories.
Location of lesion in terms of whether focal ventro-medial frontal pathology was
present or absent, had no effect on this affective bias. The affective state may
contribute importantly to confabulation formation (Fotopoulou, 2010; Metcalf et
al., 2010).
Date of Award1 Nov 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorMichael Kopelman (Supervisor) & Simon Fleminger (Supervisor)

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