|April 18, 2017|
Instead, an MRI scan conducted a few days earlier – when Maggie arrived at the ER febrile and agitated – revealed encephalitis, a swelling of the brain.
Now she was confabulating, conveying false memories induced by injury to her brain. Not once did Maggie doubt that she was a seamstress to the stars, no matter how incongruous those stories seemed. And that’s the essence of confabulation: the critical faculty of doubt is compromised. These honest lies were Maggie’s truth.
In its most extreme form, confabulation emerges from brain damage caused by encephalitis, strokes, trauma, or thiamine deficiency caused by chronic alcohol dependence. Some confabulators with these conditions produce bizarre fabrications: they recount past lives as spaceship captains or report aliens on UFOs.