Confabulation

An interesting essay in Aeon by neurologist Jules Montague:

Why is the brain prone to florid forms of confabulation?

She had visited Madonna’s mansion the week before, Maggie told me during my ward round. Helped her choose outfits for the tour. The only problem was that Maggie was a seamstress in Dublin. She had never met Madonna; she had never provided her with sartorial advice on cone brassieres. 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…

104 thoughts on “Confabulation”

  1. Erik

    walto: I don’t know that you’ve given ANY definitions of “mental” or “physical”.

    I drew a bunch of distinctions here. Then you concurred with keiths that they were a misrepresentation, but you never laid out the supposed true representation or an alternative. So you have been actively discouraging definitions.

    walto: And, in fact, it’s not clear that they ARE definable.

    Thanks for stating your opinion on the topic at last, after a series of empty remonstrations. But ultimately nobody’s opinion matters. What matters is what’s demonstrable and demonstrated.

    walto: So your chastisements are, well, ridiculous.

    Actually, given that your opinion is that “mental” and “physical” are probably not definable, it’s double or even triple ridiculous of you to chastise me for lack of definitions. If you were half as aware as I am how one’s own words can be used against oneself…

  2. petrushka

    Neil Rickert: I don’t have a problem with “I’ve made up my mind” as colloquial speech.It is attempts to investigate “the mind” that I question.

    “Mind” is no more fictional than “wave”. it is a phenomenon or process, or configuration, or activity. I can sat that a wave crashes on the shore, or that a wave is detected by a receiver. It’s a language convention.

  3. waltowalto

    Erik: Actually, given that your opinion is that “mental” and “physical” are probably not definable, it’s double or even triple ridiculous of you to chastise me for lack of definitions. If you were half as aware as I am how one’s own words can be used against oneself…

      

    I haven’t chastised you for ‘lack of definitions.’ I chastised you for being a prick in spite of providing no better definitions than Neil had offered. Before patting yourself on the back for your tremendous ‘awareness’ of what various words mean, you might start by reading a few and trying to understand them before spewing more bile.. Your prickishness is certainly not defensible by looking at the quality of your posts, in any case, which are, generally 1/3 pomposity, 1/3 confusion and 1/3 prickishness.

    Now you may ask what *I*am offering myself here. But consider: all i’ve tried to do is suggest (1) that no benefit inures to being a prick, and (2) that you have chastised Neil for what you have yourself done. Now, in response you have exemplified additional prickishness,have misunderstood a post, and have congratulated yourself on your brilliance to boot.

    Why act like this?

  4. Erik

    walto: Now you may ask what *I*am offering myself here. But consider: all i’ve tried to do is suggest (1) that no benefit inures to being a prick, and (2) that you have chastised Neil for what you have yourself done.

    Your own pressing and escalation of this non-issue makes sense only if you have a soft spot for Neil – the kind of soft spot that you don’t have for Patrick. I can respect that. Cheers.

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