Abstract

Confabulation is the act of honestly lying, providing information based on inaccurate
memories whether those memories were provoked by questions or arose spontaneously
(Moscovitch, 1989). Confabulation is not a function of the disturbed but an action that is part
of the human condition. It is not uncommon to create and hold false memories or even
participate in the act of self-deception. A confabulation is simply an act of filling in the holes,
creating a semblance of coherency, and improving the narrative (Gallagher, 2003). However,
when this simple act enters the criminal justice system as the form of testimony, it can have a
perverse long-term corrupting impact on the system resulting in an unintentional loss of liberty,
and potentially even death. While there is no way to quantify how often confabulation results
in false testimony, it is known that significant groups of individuals with brain damage
predisposed to confabulate are regularly in contact with the system as perpetrators, witnesses,
bystanders, and victims.