Confabulation: views from neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology and philosophy

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Overview


When people confabulate, they make an ill-grounded claim that they honestly believe is true. There have been countless fascinating examples of confabulatory behaviour - people falsely recalling events from their childhood, the subject who was partially blind but insisted he could see, the amputee convinced that he retained all his limbs, to the patient who believed that his own parents had been replaced by imposters. Though confabulations can result from neurological damage, they can also appear in perfectly healthy people. Yet, how can confabulators so often appear to be of sound mind, yet not see their own errors?

This book brings together some of the most advanced thinking on confabulation in neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, and philosophy, in an attempt to understand this phenomenon; what are the clinical symptoms of each type of confabulation? Which brain functions are damaged in clinical confabulators? What are the neuropsychological characteristics of each type? What causes confabulation in healthy individuals? One reason why the study of confabulation is important is that there is wide agreement that the malfunctions that produce confabulation are malfunctions in significant, high-level cognitive processes.

With contributions from a range of leading psychologists, psychiatrists, neuroscientists, and philosophers, the book develops an interdisciplinary dialogue that promises to increase our understanding of confabulatory neurological patients, and perhaps help us better understand memory, consciousness, and human nature itself.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Picked as one of The New Scientist's Best Books of 2009!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199208913
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/11/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

William Hirstein is Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Elmhurst College, in Elmhurst, Illinois, USA. He received his PhD from the University of California, Davis, in 1994. His graduate and postdoctoral studies were conducted under the supervision of John Searle, V. S. Ramachandran, and Patricia Churchland. He is the author of several books, including On the Churchlands (Wadsworth, 2004), and Brain Fiction: Self-Deception and the Riddle of Confabulation (MIT, 2005). His other interests include autism, sociopathy, brain laterality, and the misidentification syndromes.

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Table of Contents

Contributors vii

Introduction: What is confabulation? William Hirstein 1

1 Confabulation in anterior communicating artery syndrome John Deluca 13

2 False memories: A kind of confabulation in non-clinical subjects Lauren French Maryanne Garry Elizabeth Loftus 33

3 The cognitive consequences of forced fabrication: Evidence from studies of eyewitness suggestibility Quin M. Chrobak Maria S. Zaragoza 67

4 Confabulation, the self, and ego functions: The ego disequilibrium theory Todd E. Feinberg 91

5 He is not my father, and that is not my arm: Accounting for misidentifications of people and limbs William Hirstein V. S. Ramachandra 109

6 Delusional confabulations and self-deception Alfred R. Mele 139

7 Confabulation as a psychiatric symptom P.J. McKenna E. Lorente-Rovira G.E. Berrios 159

8 Confabulation and delusion Max Coltheart Martha Turner 173

9 Anosognosia for hemiplegia: A confabulatory state Kenneth M. Heilman 189

10 Everyday confabulation Thalia Wheatley 203

11 Temporal consciousness and confabulation: Escape from unconscious explanatory idols Gianfranco Dalla Barb 223

12 Disentangling the notivational theories of confabulation Aikaterini Fotopoulou 263

Subject Index 291

Author Index 297

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